December 21, 2018 – “Tobacco-Smoked Canaries”

Hello, everyone!

Before describing the events of the final day at the archives in 2018, allow me to express my gratitude to anyone who has joined me along this year-long journey. Maybe the experiences recorded in this blog will be beneficial for aspiring archivists, if not an amusing recollection to most people. In any case, the entry for the final day at the archives of 2018 is necessary to complete the record.

As stated in the previous post, I believed that today’s work continued the processing of the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida Collection’s recent scrapbooks. Instead, Mr. Benjamin intended Joseph Kaminski and me to make an inventory check. Joe never came in and Mr. Benjamin assigned me to make an inventory of the publications that were recently donated by Fred Rogers and Dr. Martin, Jr. (my apologies beforehand as I forgot the doctor’s given name). This collection is the same collection I helped unload into the library and carried the heavy tobacco odor.

Mr. Benjamin instructed that I make a Microsoft Word Document that recorded each book. Among them included volumes of a curious magazine titled American Canary Magazine prominently featured in the midst of the tobacco-soaked publications. The magazine’s audience consisted of small bird enthusiasts and the magazine changed its name to American Cage Bird Magazine in 1951 to reflect this. There were notes in some of the later volumes that lent the idea that either Mr. Rogers or Dr. Martin, Jr. owned a small bird at one point (or at least the owners of the magazine volumes).

Aside from a book titled The History of Printing in America by Isaiah Thomas from 1970 (, most of the books I examined were the majority of the volumes of American Canary Magazine/American Cage Bird Magazine. Interestingly, volume 12 contained some very absurd typos consisting of wrong volume and issue numbers. Later volumes did have one or two typos, though not to the degree that can be seen with volume twelve. Despite these humorous discoveries, the stench of tobacco ruined another pleasant day.

Even when I left to help Mr. Ogreten and Mr. Benjamin move carts from the first floor to the fifth floor, the unpleasant aroma greeted me upon my return. Sadly, I became accustomed to it after some time passed. The experience left an impression in my mind that strengthened my own distaste for tobacco products and gave a reason to wash my clothes when I came home later.

Eventually, the time came for the library’s closing procedures. Instead of placing the cart into the stacks, Mr. Benjamin suggested it should be placed inside the reading room in an attempt to air out the pages and remove the tobacco stench. Since the office will not be used in the next two weeks, all leftover food had to be taken home or thrown out. I volunteered to take some home and I thought they could be brought to my uncle’s Christmas party. After wishing everyone happy holidays, I left as the library closed for the rest of 2018 (I took final pictures of the remains of Colbourn Hall, too).

In review, I recorded multiple volumes of American Canary Magazine/American Cage Bird Magazine into a Word Document and helped my supervisors prepare for the winter break. As the last entry for 2018, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year! Bye!

Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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