Back in May 1999, Professor Ralph E Griswold began a project to create a home for scanned documents relating to weaving, including lacemaking. This came about due to his retirement. He started to research the mathematical aspects of weaving and through this the on-line database was launched.
Professor Griswold was part of the computing team at the University of Arizona. The on-line Digital Archive was housed on the UAZ servers.
The first document added was Cyrus Uhler's Draught and Cording, made from scans done at Lebanon Valley College Library. The first document scanned locally was de Lantsheere's Trésor de L'Art Dentellier from a dilapidated original purchased at a sale at the University of Arizona Library.
The key requirement was for the material to be either out of copyright or for the author to have given permission for the work to be added.
As of today, there are over 9k pdfs available, including 4.7k articles and 9.1k pdf documents, of which over 470 are books that you can download.
The lace world came to know of this project and help with it through the work of Tess Palmer on the Arachne mail lists.
Tess began her partnership with the Professor as a willing partner to scan lace documents and a great partnership began.
She would keep us informed on how the work was going, seek out contributors and put translators in touch with the Professor. Over the next few years, we became used to seeing emails about Tess & the Professor in our feeds telling us about new uploads and searches for out of copyright material to be added.
As lacemaking became a major focus in the archive, it was promoted to it's own section.
In order to make choosing a document to download easier, low res sample pages were added to many of the documents so you could 'try before you buy'.
These days, that seems a strange thing to do but when the archive was created, many were still on dial up so downloading a pdf could take 15 - 30 minutes and then to find out it didn't contain what you were looking for was a shock.
Sadly, Professor Griswold passed away on 4th October, 2006. His pioneering work in computer science reached out far further than Arizona. His impact for lacemakers through the archive has been a wonderful memorial to this great man.
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