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November 2001


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Don Rittner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 1 Nov 2001 12:43:39 -0500
text/plain (70 lines)
Excuse me Mr Carsaro but I was standing there and watching it in real time.
My memory is very good.  It is NOT secondary rumor nor hearsay. It is true I
am not a high and mighty librarian, simply a lowly historian.

BUT for the record. I was invited into the facility by a scientist of the
State Museum Science Service who did NOT enjoy the fact that much of the
material (that he considered important in his field) held in that facility
was being tossed. I'm not blind, nor a liar, as you suggest.  I did not make
any comments on the quality of the material, nor that it was "archival
material," but only what I saw by the invited scientist. Perhaps the
material was not deemed important by your staff and was ordered destroyed.
I do not know.  I only know what I saw and the response to my inquiry.  And
since I know what you look like I can inform the listmembers it was not you
who made the statement to me, nor did I see you at any time I was there (for
at least two hours on two successive days).

Unless you oversaw every employee who was moving stuff, and was present at
every minute of the move, I suggest you switch to decaf.  No one was
accusing you of anything, but I do not take to be called a liar very well.
As much as I like the State Library, not everyone there are angels. I could
give a very detailed list of material (since both I and the scientist wrote
it down and I have it right in front of me), but I suggest you leave it at
that unless you want to wring out some very dirty laundry here.  I certainly
am not going to deny what I saw with my own eyes. Your call.

Your old stomping grounds is not without fault.

For anyone on this list to pretend that this discipline operates now or in
the past without error is naive to say the least.  There already has been
plenty of discussion here to lay that lofty pretense to rest.  However, if
these kinds of errors are not going to repeated, they must be brought to
light rather than cover them up or pretend they never happened.

my two cents...


> From: James Corsaro <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: "A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State
> history." <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 16:21:44 EST
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Question RE: the private sale of public records
> The statement from the writer of the e-mail concerning the "dumping of
> manuscripts" by the NY State Library is,quite simply, totally false. One
> notes that the writer does not provide a scintilla of evidence, but only
> remembers a story from the past (somewhere in his/her memory bank, one
> guesses). I was the Senior Librarian at the time of the move of the State
> Library's manuscripts collections and I can state emphatically that no
> manuscripts of any sort, time, place or whatever were ever put into the
> trash. Let the writer of that e-mail provide some specific examples of proof
> if such remarks are going to be made via a large listserve such as this. The
> writer of the e-mail, who may even consider him/herself an historican should
> know that when one makes broad statements without providing any proof, anyone
> reading/hearing those statements can dismiss them as pure rhetoric without
> any proof. One of the parts of e-mail that I find pretty reprehensible is the
> tendency of writers to make broad generalizations without proof and then
> expect their readers to believe the tripe. I do not consider myself an
> historian; rather I am a librarian and archivist and over many years at the
> State Library I added tens of thousands of archival documents, manuscripts,
> books and other material. I did not and I know that no one else put any
> manuscripts in a dump at the time of the move to the Cultural Education
> Center.
> James Corsaro
> Retired Associate Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collections.