Trials of Trowels

by Philip Montgomery, archivist

One of our volunteers found two trowels in a cabinet. The trowels are in excellent shape and relatively unused. I suppose they were used for the laying of a cornerstone or some masonry project related to a new construction.

Trowels discovered in the HRC
These trowels reside in the TMC Library’s McGovern Historical Collections without historical context.

There is no story related to these objects. No record. No names. Just two trowels. Flotsam subject to archival drift.

Archival drift is a term I just invented to describe objects that are gathered into archives for no apparent reason and then stay. There are several objects that seem to have drifted permanently into the archives, including a three-pronged knife, a Sigmund Freud action figure, and a stuffed fish.

I suppose at sometime a prominent individual wielded these trowels, but his or her identity remains a mystery. For trowel aficionados, the bottom tool was manufactured by the W. Rose company and is well made.

One final thought. It occurred to me that archival drift can also be applied to people, which may explain something about me. I may have to chew on that thought for awhile.

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Posted in Archives, Artifacts

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