When Winifred Latimer-Norman, the last member of the Latimer family to live in the house, donated it to the Latimer Fund she also left us as many as 50 boxes of her personal possessions. Several of these belonged to Lewis, and some to other members of the family. Each item in those 50 boxes tells a story and we want to find out what they are.
At the time of this writing, 23 boxes have been inventoried. Several special objects found include a pocket-watch belonging to Lewis, a photograph of the Latimer family and some friends from 1916, and a letter written by Lewis to Dr. Sarah Greenberg, a Brooklyn gynecologist and wife of Dr. Robert Leslie, himself a public health advocate.
For those of you interested in what we like to call the ‘behind the curtain’ action, the inventory process starts when each box is emptied piece-by-piece. Then the objects and papers from each box are recorded on a special inventory sheet by hand for later input into a database. Sometimes objects are recorded as a group (e.g. ceramic tableware), and sometimes groups of objects are recorded separately (e.g. a photograph of Lewis from 1916). They are then repacked into the boxes they were found in, with the exception of very old or very fragile objects and papers, which are packed in special archival boxes to better preserve and protect them.
Several members of the Habitation and Experience teams here at the Historic House Trust of New York City are now responsible for exploring and inventorying these boxes with the help of Roof-Raisers Curatorial Brigade, a group of HHT-trained volunteers.