Thursday, October 29, 2009

The new "library"

First, let me say that I'm glad the "Latschar mess" is now behind Gettysburg and the park. That entire sordid affair kept tongues wagging and the blogs and emails flying fast and furious. Former GNMP Superintendant John Latschar's detractors had a field day with the entire episode and subsequent demotion, and his supporters tried to keep up with the fray, often to no avail. Personally, I like many are thankful for the General Management Plan that has helped to return the field to 1863 views, but I (also like many) felt much distaste for the way some things have turned out. Not everyone can be happy all the time, but fortunately the Latschar furor has died down and efforts can once again be turned toward what is best for the park, for history, and the folks.

I mentioned a while back that we recently remodeled one of the spare bedrooms in the house to turn it into a new home library for my research and writing. It was great to be able to start on the room a month ago following my August illness. The bedroom was the only room untouched during the 1990 remodel and expansion of the home, so the 1969-era paneling, ceiling tile, and lovely (not!) green carpeting still remained in the space. I tore all of that out, we updated the wiring, and installed new drywall. Last weekend we painted the walls a pretty, and Victorian-style, "antique red." It looks really nice with the oak trim. Very library-like. Yesterday Karen and I picked out a light-colored barbour carpeting which will be installed next week. And last night I started putting up the bookshelves. The one set of shelves on one wall held nearly 1,000 of the books, so there's something like 2,500 or so to find a home (!). This weekend I hope to get the rest of the shelves installed, have all the books in place - it's fun, I'll admit, reorganizing all the books to make them easier to find - and then the custom-made chestnut desk will be the last thing to install.

I do think, however, that this winter I'll come up with my own type of Dewey-decimal system to organize the books as a finding aide. It's annoying staring at the shelves for a half hour trying to locate a book that you knew "was right here, darnit!" I'll computerize it so I can do a quick search. I have to decide how to categorize it so it makes sense, but I'll come up with something. And now that I have the space I will be able to organize those thousands of papers, documents, manuscripts, letters, and copies of "stuff" that I always have such a hard time locating. I've spent weeks looking for one stupid sheet of paper that eludes me. That's inefficient and aggravating, but hopefully that will get cured as well.

I'm getting there, slow but sure. Boxes are getting unpacked, shelves are getting filled - and finally I'll be able to get back to serious writing very soon.

Just as soon as I find that stupid piece of paper on which I wrote my future projects... now what did I do with it??


  1. Do you need my help moving books?

    Tm C

  2. Hey Tim!

    I thought I would, but I'm just bringing up a few at a time and organizing as I go. At first I thought I'd bring them all up at one time, but that would just keep the disorganization going.

    I can't bring any more up until I get the other sets of shelves installed this weekend - so if I need help you'll be the first one I call :)


  3. It looks like you have your work cut out for you. I hope the first book to go in is your new one "The Complete Gettysburg Guide". It is certain going to be the first one I grab from now on. I bought the book on a recent trip to Gettysburg and I have been reading it since we got home. I can't wait till I get a chance to go back up there and put what I am learning into use. I love everything about it, and the book has inspired me to go and find all of the places that were used as hospitals and photograph them. Your book is going to make this a simple task for me.
    Patty (Newport News VA)

  4. That's wonderful, Patty. Those are several of the many reasons Steve and I did this book.
    And if you'd like an even more inclusive list of the field hospital locations, be sure to pick up a copy of the late Greg Coco's "Vast Sea of Misery" book. You can find it in most local bookstores. It lists all the ones that Greg could document.
    Thanks again for your comments and have a great trip.
    J.D. Petruzzi

  5. J.D.,

    Congratulations, sounds like a fun project. I'm looking forward to getting more bookcases put together next weekend to attempt to tame a my collection a bit. I'll be curious to see what you come up with for a Petruzzi decimal system for Civil War research!

  6. I think a picture of the library is in order!