Guide to the Lester Shanks Collection of Covered Bridge Photographs and Ephemera

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1244
Creators:
Shanks, Lester
Dates:
1876-2010
bulk 1973-2008
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
3 Cubic feet
14 boxes
Repository:
The collection is comprised of the results of Shanks's research on covered bridges, mostly in America but also covered bridges in Canada and Switzerland. Included are albums containing color photographs of covered bridges, slides of covered bridges, postcards depicting covered bridges; maps, and guidebooks; newsletters, magazines, and newspaper clippings on the subject of covered bridges.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection is comprised of the results of Shanks's research on covered bridges, mostly in America but also covered bridges in Canada and Switzerland. Included are albums containing color photographs of covered bridges, slides of covered bridges, postcards depicting covered bridges; maps, and guidebooks; newsletters, magazines, and newspaper clippings on the subject of covered bridges.
Series 1, Photograph Albums, 1963-2006, consists of bound albums of black-and-white and color photographs by Shanks documenting covered bridges in the United States and other countries. The series is arranged geographically and then alphabetically. Some of the states have documentation preceding the photographs which lists the counties where the covered bridges he photographed were located. Shanks assigned a number to each state and each county for organization purposes. The number 35-04-03 means Ohio-Ashtabula County-third photograph in the group. The majority of photographs are identified.
In some instances, correspondence, brochures, fliers for covered bridge activities, invitations to covered bridge events, and copies or portions of Covered Bridge Topics, a quarterly journal published by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, containing articles and information relating to covered bridges, are also included. Wooden Covered Spans, the newsletter for the Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania is also present. The covered bridge photographs from Switzerland were taken by Leonard Reich.
Series 2, Slides, 1971-1997, consists of color slides taken by Shanks documenting covered bridges in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec, Canada, and Switzerland. The slides depict bridge interiors, side elevations, landscape views surrounding the bridge, river views, views of the road leading up to the bridge, and restoration work. Each slide is labeled with the name of the state/country/province, county and/or township, date, name of bridge and in some instances, the name of the river the bridge spans. Other numbers such as 38-63-22 are also present on the slides and represent a numbering system Shanks applied to his slides, which are keyed to states and counties. Shanks assigned a Roman numeral and Arabic numeral system to some of the slides (e.g. I-1 to I-100) and (13-1 to 13-100). This arrangement has been retained and while there is no key to it, the slides are arranged chronologically.
Series 3, Guide Books, 1876-2009, consists of bound guide books about covered bridges. The most significant of the guide books is theThe Stranger's Guide in Baltimore and its Environs, 1876. This small pocket guide book contains sketches of public buildings, monuments, notable localities, resorts, and suburban drives. The guide book is intended to show strangers where to go and what to see when in Baltimore.
Series 4, Maps, 1850, 1982, contains two maps for the city of Baltimore and Baltimore County, Maryland.
Series 5, National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Inc, 2005-2010, consists of copies of the Covered Bridges Topics, the official magazine for the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Inc. (N.S.P.C.B.) and the newsletter for the N.S.P.C.B.
Series 6, Newsclippings, 2006, 2008, consists of two articles fromThe Post Standard, New York about covered bridges.
Series 7, Postcards, 1963-1985, consists of color postcards of covered bridges from a variety of locations in the United States. The postcards are arranged alphabetically by state. Some bear cancelled postmarks, but the majority are blank.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is divided into seven series.
Series 1, Photograph Albums, 1963-2006
Series 2, Slides, 1971-1977
Series 3, Guide Books, 1876-2009
Series 4, Maps, 1850, 1982
Series 5, National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Inc., 2005-2010
Series 6, News clippings, 2006, 2008
Series 7, Postcards, 1963-1985

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Shanks, an employee of Baltimore Gas and Electric for over 40 years, was a covered bridge enthusiast and collector. He set a goal of photographing every covered bridge in America. Lester Shanks died October 10, 2010.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2012.
Author
Alison Oswald.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Eunice C. Shanks on August 11, 2011.

Using the Collection
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs, negatives, and slides.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Preferred Citation
Lester Shanks Collection of Covered Bridge Photographs and Ephemera, 1876-2010 (bulk 1973-2008), Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Bridges (series), circa 1818-1940 (AC0060)
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Bridges: stereographs, circa 1868-1902 (mostly circa 1875-1880) (AC0060)
Beata Drake Covered Bridge Collection, 1954-1981 (AC0998)
Raymond E. Wilson Covered Bridge Collection, 1958-1974 (AC0999)
Samuel E. Reed Bridge Collection, 1947-1964 (AC1001)
Lucinda Rudell Covered Bridge Collection, 1942-1979 (AC1028)
Robert Bagby Stereographs and Lantern Slides, 1919; circa 1940-1960 (AC1185)

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Maps -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slides (photographs) -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photograph albums -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Books Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Switzerland Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picture postcards -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baltimore (Md.) -- 19th century Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bridges -- Switzerland Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Covered bridges -- Switzerland Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Covered bridges -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ephemera -- 19th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Travel brochures Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- Color transparencies -- Acetate film -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ephemera -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pamphlets -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bridges -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newsletters -- 2000-2010 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Postcards Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives