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Abstract

On Sunday, September 15, 2002, fire broke out at the Natchez mansion of Arlington. By the time the flames were extinguished, the roof of the early nineteenth-centUI)' structure had been destroyed, and the second floor gutted. While the columned facade remained, there was considerable damage to the first floor as well. The one room whose contents were largely left intact was the libra!)'. On Tuesday, H. T. Holmes, director of the Archives and Libra!)' Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and Histol)', dispatched Special Projects Officer Michael Hennen and myself to assist in the efforts to salvage the books. Spared by the flames, many still were damaged by heat, smoke, and the water from the firehoses. Over the next three days, under the direction of Ron and Mimi Miller of the Historic Natchez Foundation, we worked with Kathleen Jenkins, curator at the National Park Service property of Melrose, and Chel)'l Munyer Branyan, curator of the mansion, Rosalie, to guide teams iri preparing an estimated 3,000 volumes for freezing or storage. Numerous volunteers took part in this effort, as did the MDAH Head of Reference Services Anne Webster; Archival Reformatting Unit Supervisor Julie Dees; and Archivist John Gomez.

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