To the Editor: SOS from Archivist

The nor’easter resulted in an unprecedented 20 inches of water in our basement storage areas. Since we have never had more than five inches, and I had never anticipated more than 12, there are some 600 cubic feet of waterlogged and unique documents.

The crew of Document Reprocessors has begun repacking the collections and transporting the frozen boxes to Rochester, New York, where, using a patented process, it will sublimate the ice and flatten the dried documents.

Our liability insurance does not cover flooding. Document Reprocessors has estimated a cost of $100 per cubic foot.

I am pleased to say that Sarnoff Corporation will help offset some of this unexpected cost, and that members of David Sarnoff’s family have already sent contributions. But these unique collections represent the patrimony of RCA staff creativity in research, development, engineering, and producing the communications and information technologies used around the world. We saved these files in the first place because of their importance in documenting the birth of modern communications, from broadcast microphones to color TV picture tubes, from satellite communications to the microchips that surround us in cars, computers, and cell phones.

Please help us rescue and restore this world heritage by adopting a report ($25), a carton ($100), or a cabinet ($1000). Your checks, to the David Sarnoff Library, or Paypal donations via www.davidsarnoff.org, will help not only preserve what must be preserved, but enable us to move forward with the development of the field trip programming that will allow the next generation to appreciate what David Sarnoff and RCA’s thousands of employees created.

Alexander B. Magoun Ph.D.

Executive Director,

David Sarnoff Library

Many questions have been raised about the tragedy that took place on the Virginia Tech campus, about who noticed what and when about this deeply disturbed young man and what was done or might have been done to ward off such an act of terrifying and deadly aggression. This horrific act on the part of one man punctuates the need for widespread, good mental healthcare services; for the de-stigmatization of mental illness (which affects more than 10 percent of the U.S. population) and seeking of mental health care services; and for laws allowing concerned parties to intervene in a meaningful way when signs of mental disturbance are detected.

It also highlights the importance of insurance coverage parity for mental as well as physical healthcare. What many of us may not be ready to recognize is the deep suffering — on mental, spiritual, and physical levels — that the young man who committed this horrific deed must have endured for years prior to his senseless actions.

Mental health care is essential to one’s overall sense of well being in life and for the good of our community and for society at large.

Mimi Ballard, MBA

Executive Director, Family & Children’s Services of Central NJ

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