Perserving The Budget in the Digital Age

by Janine St. Germain, School Archivist
Thanks to the generous efforts of Old Boy Stephen Hauge ’64, funds have been raised by the class of 1964, to digitize St. B’s 108-year-old publication, The Budget.

Mr. Hauge and I visited Hudson MicroImaging on June 25, for a full tour of the facility where The Budget and other school publications will be digitized.  Hudson MicroImaging provides digital preservation services to several libraries, archives, and museums in the New York City metropolitan area. 

An extraordinary record of the school’s history, The Budget documents both school milestones as well as many notable events over time.  Volumes include stories of the school’s first Shakespeare play (The Merchant of Venice, 1910), first Sports Day (1907), first Giants soccer team (1921), and the construction of the 98th Street building in 1915 (yet no mention of the wine cellar designed for the basement).

Events covered in The Budget, beyond those witnessed on our block here on 98th Street, include both world wars, and World War I, in particular, in which Headmaster Lieutenant Jenkins fought with the Army Service Corps.  Hurricane Sandy devastated many areas of New York City in 2012 and even closed St. Bernard’s for three days, but nothing quite compares to Captain Fry’s rendering of his experience while riding on the Port Jefferson Ferry during the Great Hurricane of 1938, dubbed The Long Island Express.  Influenza panics and mumps are noted (1918), and limerick lists, written by Captain Fry until he retired in 1964, annually made the pages of The Budget and included the name of each incoming new boy (“A” is for Altschul/ Who spends his vacations/ Collecting the stamps/ Of various nations…).  In 1909 end pages of The Budget's layout included advertisements for such legacy brands as Tiffany, Brooks Brothers, and Columbia Bicycles, as well as local ice delivery services, sporting goods stores, milliners, and theatrical wig makers.

Many of these volumes are in particularly fragile condition and do not exist in duplicate form, making this effort crucial.  To have preservation scans made of The Budget is invaluable, and will both ensure the long-term safe keeping of St. Bernard’s history and open up many new possibilities when fact-checking, as the text will be fully searchable by keyword.  Once again, hats off and many thanks to the forward thinking class of 1964.