The Age of Reptiles

The Age of Reptiles
The Age of Reptiles, a mural by Rudolph F. Zallinger. Copyright 1966, 1975, 1985, 1989 Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A different kind of masters

I’ve been working my way through the map cases in the Anthropology archives, beginning with Ben Rouse’s drawers and now moving into Mike Coe’s. I quickly learned that maps are only a small part of what is stored in these cases. Rouse has plenty of maps, including atlases from the dispute between the United States of Venezuela and British Guiana over their border, but also calendars with Japanese artwork and original figures from many of his publications. One of the more interesting things I found in Rouse’s drawers had to do with a reprint of an essay he wrote.

Now, reprints are not a terribly exciting thing to find in a museum archives but what I discovered was much more interesting. It was in an unopened package labeled “Archaeology Masters”. I expected to find some plates from Rouse’s master’s thesis but instead found the master plates for the lithograph of a reprint. The entire contents of the package were what appeared to be full size photo negatives of the pages of an article taped onto a grid layout, the full, uncut pages printed on cardstock, and the pages printed out on thin sheets of aluminum. These looked like printing plates but I was confused by the fact that I could read the printing on the aluminum instead of it being reversed for printing. With a little help from Barbara, we figured out that they were for offset printing. Before this I had seen drafts of papers and the final reprints and now I know what a few of the steps between look like; at least how it was done in the 60’s.