Beyond Brown Paper is a multi-phased project that involves three collaborative departments at Plymouth State University — Lamson Library’s Michael J. Spinelli Jr. Center for University Archives and Special Collections, Karl Drerup Art Gallery, and the Center for Rural Partnerships.
In this first stage, funded by a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, 250 of the 11,000 photographs will be scanned with preservation quality resolution. This ensures all subsequent work is done with digital images rather than manipulation of the fragile photographs. These images, which are accessible from this website, will allow users to input written content related to the photographs, or communicate orally directly over a phone via a toll-free number. A computer workstation will be purchased and setup in Berlin. This computer will provide internet access to these images and the capacity for users to provide information on the images in whatever means users feels comfortable with — either by phone or computer. The Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire will work as a partner in making connections with Berlin-area community organizations and volunteers and in linking this project to a variety of local cultural initiatives.
The Brown Paper Company Photographic Collection, which is located in Lamson Library’s Michael J. Spinelli Jr. Center for University Archives and Special Collections, documents much of the history of the Brown Paper Company of Berlin, New Hampshire from the late nineteenth century through the mid-1960s. Among the subjects depicted in considerable detail are the varieties of work activity from the felling of trees to the final manufacture of pulp and paper in Berlin and Gorham. Also shown in detail are engineering projects, the construction of mills, and the installation of new equipment and machinery. A significant portion of the collection chronicles the social, cultural, and recreational lives of the workers, their families, and the place of these people in the life of Berlin itself.