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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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Archives house industry relics


The Conrad N. Hilton Library and Archives, built in 1989, holds a host of relics, from donated cookbooks and wine collections to Elizabeth Taylor’s first wedding album.

Archivast Mark Young said the diverse collection helps acquaint students and researchers with gems from the hospitality industry.

"Preserving artifacts and collections for the historical insights that they give on a past society’s opinions on people, issues and hospitality is important," archivist Mark Young said.

The more exotic artifacts include Conrad Hilton’s personal Britannica encyclopedia set, McDonald’s toys from The Flintstones movie in the 1990s and an old Batman comic from the Sunday paper when Conrad Hilton gives the caped crusader and the boy wonder a personal tour of a "Bat-hotel."

Even after encountering these odd items, Young still felt puzzled on the origin of an unknown rusted spoon, fork and knife.

"It’s another one of those mystery things. You see the little symbols on the bottom? I can’t recognize them," said Young, pointing to the end of the spoon’s handle.

Other orphan artifacts include floor tiles, letters and a large crimson goblet.

High school students, University researchers and visitors tour the archives daily to delve into some of the libraries most prized collections.

"I’m just discovering them myself," said librarian Richard Arnold on the artifacts.

With the Fred Parks Wine Cellar and the Gallo wine exhibit, the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management aims to educate students on the wine industry both at the University and across the world. The wine cellar showcases more than 1,000 bottles from deceased philanthropists and wine enthusiast Fred Parks’ collection, specializing in California and French wines with vintage bottles from as early as the turn of the 20th century.

Art connoisseurs can peruse an intricately carved pottery collection by legendary craftsman Josiah Wedgewood.

Exhibits on Colonel Harlan Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame and Vernon Stouffer of Stouffer’s cookbooks and microwavable meals can also be found.

The Hospitality Industry Archives house corporate letters and personal artifacts of industry luminaries. Conrad Hilton’s personal cookbooks and White House dishes currently reside in the repository. Most of the donations come from the Hilton family and others in the hospitality industry.

"It’s pretty awesome," said political science senior Preston Harrell, whose Introduction to Hospitality professor required all students to visit the college archives.

A donation to the college library from hospitality alumni Nick Massad in 2006 commenced plans for the archive’s renovation and expansion. Young, who began working as an archivist in May, plans to use the donation to make an online database to make all artifacts and documents available to researchers across the world. The donation will also pay for preservation folders made for fragile documents and oral interview equipment, which Young could use to pick the brains of industry visionaries and historians.


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