A Housing for Cigarettes

[This blog post was written by Emily Rainwater, Conservator for the State Archives of North Carolina.]

Closed housing for the David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76

New housing for the David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76. Click the image to see a larger view.

David Tudor (1926-1996) was a pianist and composer of experimental electronic music. He was an instructor and pianist-in-residence at Black Mountain College during the summer sessions from 1951-1953. On July 4, 1953 David Tudor gave a concert at Black Mountain College with programs printed on cigarette papers by BMC Print Shop. The State Archives of North Carolina holds two of these programs at the Western Regional Archives, one printed horizontally in red and one printed vertically in blue. These programs are in their original rolled cigarette form and remain filled with tobacco.

H-frame during construction for the David Tudor concert programs.

H-frame during construction for the David Tudor concert programs. Click the image to see a larger view.

David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76

David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76. Click the image to see a larger view.

The concert programs needed a new housing which would better protect the fragile objects. A support structure was created for them by cutting an “H” shape out of several layers of museum quality mat board. The legs of the H hold the cigarettes in place while the cross of the H allows for easier handling if they ever need removing from the housing. After adhering multiple layers of mat board together, the frame is thick enough to protect the programs from pressure coming from above. The cut edges of the H were lined with Japanese tissue to help smooth the transition between the layers. The H frame was adhered to several more pieces of mat board to form a backing layer. The completed frame was inserted into a custom cloth covered clamshell box which will provide additional protection.

A view of the new housing for the David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76.

A view of the new housing for the David Tudor concert programs, BMCRP Series VI Box 76. Click the image to see a larger view. A closer look at the programs is available through the NC Digital Collections.

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