Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rudolph Gets a Makeover

In the summer of 2010 McKey Berkman, the Conservation Intern from North Bennet Street School in Boston, took on the daunting task of conserving Robert May’s scrapbook which details the events and promotion surrounding Rudolph’s destined fame.

In the spring of 2010, Dartmouth College Archivist Peter Carini discovered an uncataloged scrapbook in the Robert Lewis May Collection housed in Rauner Library. May, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the class of 1926, was the creator of the iconic Christmas tale Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The library holds copies of the original soft-cover book issued in 1939, mock-ups and manuscripts of the book, as well as subsequent printings and adaptations of Rudolph, Rudolph merchandise, and other children’s books by May. The newly discovered scrapbook is a significant addition to the collection, as its 54 pages chronicle the creation and success of Rudolph as a brilliant marketing scheme for Montgomery Ward, where May was a copywriter in the advertising department. “ McKey Berkman.

For a more detailed description of the history of the scrapbook and McKey’s conservation treatment please click here.

(Photo: Peter Carini and McKey Berkman with the May scrapbook.)