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Woodford Fire Collection


Held at: Woodford Mansion [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Woodford Mansion. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

On July 11, 2003 a one-alarm fire was reported at Woodford Mansion at 12:47pm. By 1:43pm, local firefighter contained the blaze, but significant damage was done to the house and collection objects. The fire started in the cockloft and was caused by an electric heat gun that was being used to remove paint. Some objects were lost in the fire, but the majority need conservation due to smoke and/or water damage. A number of conservators and contractors were hired to restore the objects and repair Woodford from the fire damage. Woodford reopened in April of 2005.

This collection is comprised of 11 different series: administrative, appraisals/inventories, conservation/preservation, conservators/contractors, correspondence, facilities/grounds, financial records, general, grants, publications, and reopening. The conservator/contractors series is further organized into 15 subseries the reflect the different conservators/contractors hired by Woodford. The bulk of the collection consists of treatment reports and proposals for objects. Collection mediums include paper, bound, and photographic records.

Series: Administrative This series holds meeting minutes from the time of the Woodford fire through the ensuing recovery from 2003-2005. Series: Appraisals/Inventories This series offers general reappraisals/inventories of Woodford’s collections as well as reappraisals/inventories of individual pieces and specific collections. The reappraisals were conducted following the fire to determine change in value of objects post-conservation. Also included are inventories of objects lost or destroyed in the fire and a list of conservation expenses not covered by insurance. Records in this series range from 2003-2005. Series: Conservation/Preservation This collections contains general conservation/preservation records not associated with any particular conservator or contractor. Records range from 2003-2007.

Series: Conservators/Contractors This series holds records from different conservators and contractors hired following the 2003 Woodford fire to conserve objects damaged by the fire. This includes object, paper, painting, furniture, and textile conservation. Each conservator created individual reports/treatment proposals for each object with which they worked. The largest collection of treatment proposals comes from the Alisa Vignalo subseries. Also included are records related to the restoration of the mansion itself. There are blueprints related to the post-fire mansion restoration. project in Woodford’s oversized collection. Records in this series range from 2003-2008 with the bulk from 2003-2005. Series: Correspondence This series contains correspondence arranged into different subjects. This includes general, electrical, financial, insurance, legal and security correspondence. Records in this series range from 2003-2005. Series: Facilities/Grounds This series holds files related to matters of maintenance of the building/grounds and security. Records range from 2003-2004.

Series: Financial Records: This series holds a variety of financial records. This includes donation records, receipts, employee timesheets/expenses, building improvements paid for by the trust, and other funding records. Records range from 2003-2005. Series: General The general series contains notes related to the Woodford fire c. 2003 and a 2003 guide about the restoration and conservation of Woodford and objects within. Series: Grants This series contains records related to two grants Woodford applied for following the Woodford fire: the PHMC Technical Assistant Grant and Philadelphia Intervention Fund Grant. Records in this collection are from 2004. Series: Publications This series includes newspaper clippings, pamphlets, house histories, and press releases related to the 2003 Woodford fire and aftermath. Records range from 2003-2005.

Series: Reopening This series holds records related to Woodford’s grand reopening in April 2005 following the July 2003 attic fire. This series includes an event summary, clippings/articles, contacts, donation records, invitations, notes, and more. Records are from 2005.

Records in this collection were left to Woodford Mansion by Woodford Trustee Larry Berger (1986-2018) and House Manager Martha Moffat (1991-2018). Files were predominantly processed in original order. Treatment proposals from the Conservator Contractor series were rearranged to provide order to the series. Some files were also discovered in loose piles of unprocessed materials and integrated into the collection.

Woodford Mansion
Finding Aid Author
Tom Kuipers
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