Guide to the Lester Shanks Collection of Covered Bridge Photographs and Ephemera
NMAH.AC.1244

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History, 2012

P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
Phone: 202-633-3270
archivescenter@si.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated by Eunice C. Shanks on August 11, 2011.

Processing Information note

Processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2012.

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Summary Information

Repository
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Creator - (collector).
Shanks, Lester
Title
Lester Shanks Collection of Covered Bridge Photographs and Ephemera
ID
NMAH.AC.1244
Date [bulk]
bulk 1973-2008
Date [inclusive]
1876-2010
Extent
3 Cubic feet, 14 boxes
Language
English
Abstract
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.

Preferred Citation note

Lester Shanks Collection of Covered Bridge Photographs and Ephemera, 1876-2010 (bulk 1973-2008), Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

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Biographical/Historical note

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.

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Scope and Contents note

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 the  The 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 from  The 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.

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Arrangement note

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

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

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)

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Books
  • Ephemera--19th century
  • Ephemera--20th century
  • Maps--20th century.
  • Newsletters--2000-2010
  • Pamphlets--1950-2000.
  • Photograph albums--20th century
  • Photographs--20th century
  • Photographs--Color transparencies--Acetate film--20th century
  • Picture postcards--20th century
  • Postcards
  • Slides (photographs)--1950-2000
  • Travel brochures

Geographic Name(s)

  • Baltimore (Md.)--19th century
  • Switzerland

Subject(s)

  • Bridges--Switzerland
  • Bridges--United States
  • Covered bridges--Switzerland
  • Covered bridges--United States

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note

Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs, negatives, and slides.

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1, Photograph Albums, 1963-2006

Alabama, 1990, 1994, 2005


  Box Folder
Photos   1 1

Arkansas, 1994


  Box Folder
Photos   1 2

California, 1986, 1991


  Box Folder
Photos   1 3

Connecticut, 1972


  Box Folder
Photos   1 4

Delaware, 1973, 1983


  Box Folder
Photos   1 5

Georgia, 1984, 1989, 1990, 1994


  Box Folder
Photos   1 6

Illinois, 1980, 1995, 2004


  Box Folder
Photos   1 7

Indiana, 1969, 1975, 1989, 1995, 1997, 2003


  Box Folder
Photos   1 8

Kansas, 1993


  Box Folder
Photos   1 9

Kentucky, 1979, 1989


  Box Folder
Photos   1 10

Maine, 1981


  Box Folder
Photos   2 1

Maryland, 1971, 1974, 1977, 1983, 1988-1989, 1993, 1995-1996


  Box Folder
Photos   2 2

Maryland (old prints), 1971, 1973, 1989, undated


  Box Folder
Photos   2 3

Massachusetts, 1981, 1984


  Box Folder
Photos   2 4

Michigan, 1978


  Box Folder
Photos   2 5

Minnesota, 1976


  Box Folder
Photos   2 6

Mississippi, 1986, 2005


  Box Folder
Photos   2 7

Missouri, 1994, 2002


  Box Folder
Photos   2 8

New Hampshire, 1981, 1983-1984, 2006


  Box Folder
Photos   3 1

New Jersey, 1983


  Box Folder
Photos   3 2

New York, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1992, 2003-2004


  Box Folder
Photos   3 3

North Carolina, 1978, 1995


  Box Folder
Photos   3 4

Virginia, 1982


  Box Folder
Photos   3 5

Ohio, 1975, 1978-1979, 1982-1984, 1989, 1995-1997, 2004


  Box Folder
Photos   4 1

Oregon, 1986


  Box Folder
Photos   4 2

Pennsylvania, 1963, 1979-1983, 1973-1978, 1985, 1987-1989, 1997, 2000-2006


  Box Folder
Photos   5 1

Rhode Island, 2002, 2005


  Box Folder
Photos   6 1

South Carolina, 1978, 1985, 1993, 1995


  Box Folder
Photos   6 2

Tennessee, 1994


  Box Folder
Photos   6 3

Vermont, 1967, 1977, 1984, 1987, 2003-2004


  Box Folder
Photos   6 4

Virginia, 1977, 1982, 2003


  Box Folder
Photos   6 5

Washington, 1986


  Box Folder
Photos   6 6

West Virginia, 1975, 1979, 1989-1990, 1996


  Box Folder
Photos   6 7

Wisconsin, 1986, 1995


  Box Folder
Photos   6 8

New Brunswick, Canada, 1972, 1981, 1987-1988, 1998


  Box Folder
Photos   6 9

Ontario, Canada, 1980


  Box Folder
Photos   7 1

Quebec, Canada, 1985


  Box Folder
Photos   7 2

Switzerland, 1983, 1990, 1992, 1994


  Box Folder
Photos   7 3

 Series 2, Slides, 1971-1997

I-1 to I-100, 1971-1973


  Box Folder
Slides   8 1

II-1 to II-100, 1975-1976


  Box Folder
Slides   8 2

III-1 to III-100, 1975-1976


  Box Folder
Slides   8 3

IV-1 to IV-100, 1976


  Box Folder
Slides   8 4

V-1 to V-100, 1976-1977


  Box Folder
Slides   9 1

VI-1 to VI-100, 1977


  Box Folder
Slides   9 2

VII-1 to VII-100, 1977


  Box Folder
Slides   9 3

VIII-1 to VIII-100, 1977-1979


  Box Folder
Slides   9 4

IX-1 to IX-100, 1979


  Box Folder
Slides   10 1

X-1 to X-100, 1979-1981


  Box Folder
Slides   10 2

XI-1 to XI-100, 1981-1983


  Box Folder
Slides   10 3

XII-1 to XII-100, 1983


  Box Folder
Slides   10 4

13-1 to 13-100, 1983


  Box Folder
Slides   11 1

14-1 to 14-100, 1983-1984


  Box Folder
Slides   11 2

15-1 to 15-97, 1984


  Box Folder
Slides   11 3

16-1 to 16-100, 1985


  Box Folder
Slides   11 4

17-1 to 17-100, 1985-1986


  Box Folder
Slides   11 5

18-1 to 18-100, 1986-1987


  Box Folder
Slides   12 1

19-1 to 19-100, 1987-1988


  Box Folder
Slides   12 2

201-1 to 20-100, 1988-1989


  Box Folder
Slides   12 3

21-1 to 21-100, 1989


  Box Folder
Slides   12 4

22-1 to 22-100, 1989-1994


  Box Folder
Slides   12 5

23-1 to 23-100, 1994-1995


  Box Folder
Slides   13 1

24-1 to 24-100, 1995-1996


  Box Folder
Slides   13 2

25-1 to 25-43, 1997


  Box Folder
Slides   13 3

Box

Slide tray organization sheets, undated

14

 Series 3, Guide Books, 1876-2009

Brock, Dan. World Guide to Covered Bridges, 2009


  Box Folder
Text   14 2

Lanks, Herbert. Covered Bridges, 1970


  Box Folder
Text   14 3

Petersen, Hegen. Kissing Bridges, 1965


  Box Folder
Text   14 4

Sesquicentennial of Casselman River Bridge and the History of Little Crossings (Maryland), 1813-1963, 1963


  Box Folder
Text   14 5

Atlas of Baltimore County, Maryland, 1877 (reproduction), 1877


  Box Folder
Text   14 6

Stanger's Guide in Baltimore and its Environs, 1876


  Box Folder
Text   14 7

Tour Guide to Historic Sites in Allegany County, Maryland, 1990


  Box Folder
Text   14 8

Ohio Covered Bridge Guide, 1960


  Box Folder
Text   14 9

Guide to Columbia-Montour Counties (Pennsylvania), undated


  Box Folder
Text   14 10

Bedford County Covered Bridges (Pennsylvania), undated


  Box Folder
Text   14 11

Covered Bridges of Columbia County, Pennsylvania, 1972


  Box Folder
Text   14 12

Covered Bridges of Somerset County Pennsylvania, 1798-1978, 1979


  Box Folder
Text   14 13

Perry County Tourist and Recreation Guide (Pennsylvania), 1976


  Box Folder
Text   14 14

Centennial History of the Philippi Covered Bridge (West Virginia), 1852-1952 , 1952


  Box Folder
Text   14 15

 Series 4, Maps, 1850, 1982

City and County of Baltimore (reproduction), 1850


  Box Folder
Maps   14 16

Tracing of Baltimore County, 1982


  Box Folder
Maps   14 16

 Series 5, National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Inc., 2005-2010

Covered Bridge Topics, 2005-2010


  Box Folder
Text   14 17

National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges (N.S.P.C.B.), 2005-2010


  Box Folder
Text   14 18

 Series 6, News clippings, 2006, 2008

Box
14
Folder
19

 Series 7, Postcards, 1963, 1965, 1970, 1985, undated

Box
7