Now, in a regionwide scavenger hunt, James Fenimore Cooper Jr. and Margaret Bendroth are rummaging through New England church basements and attics, file cabinets, safes and even coat closets, searching for records of early American life. The historians are racing against frequent church closings, occasional fires, and a more mundane but not uncommon peril: the actual loss of documents, which most often occurs when a church elder dies and no one can remember the whereabouts of historical papers. The records, especially those that are not bound into books, are often in poor shape.
You can read the full story of this preservation effort and also watch a related video in the New York Times web site at http://goo.gl/wDqwaT.
My thanks to newsletter reader Sandy Repp for telling me about this story.