The first collection, for what has become IHSF, was acquired in 1955. Over the next 20 years, significant primary sources, photographic, and printed research materials were added. The Board of Directors established the Foundation in the 1970's, and the IRS recognized IHSF as an educational non-profit 501(c)(3) in 1983. Through a generous grant by Abby Lewis Seymour in 1997, the present state-of-the-art, secured, climate-controlled research facility was in operation by 1998.
The historical archive is the core of IHSF and it is primarily supported through the generous donations of its many supporters and benefactors. IHSF also performs some ancillary services that add collections to the archive, provide additional funding for its operations and make available to the public historical images and documents in various formats including this website.
IHSF is primarily a conservatory which processes historical documents, photographs and audio/visual media. The intents and activities of the Institute are not limited to any subject nor geographical area. The Lewis Archive houses primary, unpublished works in all formats. Included are personal papers, diaries, correspondence, business/financial records, photographs, microforms, magnetic media, artifacts, and audio-visual materials.
Archival collections are organized by provenance, or the origin of the material. They are kept, insofar as possible, in the order in which they are received from the donor. Materials are processed using the IHSF classification system. Collections are processed to the box, folder or item level, depending on the perceived value of the collection and staffing available for processing.
The Archive contains over one million photographic images which feature a wide range of subject matter and motifs from different areas of the world. Although the integrity of provenance is maintained, the images are captioned, catalogued and identified by continent, country, city or more specific locations.
The photographic collections consist of various formats from daguerreotypes through glass-lantern slides, 8x10, 4x5, 2 1/4, 35mm film media in both black and white, color and negatives/prints of all sizes.
The sound-recording collections include a vast selection of radio broadcasts (exceeding 20,000 programs) and other recordings on cylindrical and disc records, 78's, 45's, LP's, 16's, wire recordings, reel-to-reel, multiple cassette and modern digital formats.
The library houses a vast array of works: geographical, philosophical, historical, military, religious, arts and many others. Because the library is a non-lending library, the staff of IHSF may conduct research as requested. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
The publishing department can assist you with your publishing needs. Also, several publications are offered for sale to the public. Contact us at email@example.com for further information.
In addition to maintaining and cataloging its vast array of historical records, IHSF also provides Photo Restoration Services, Film Transfer Services and has a complete micrographics lab capable of producing 35mm and 16mm microfilm and microfiche (see Micrographic Services.)
Various IHSF collections may be lent to bona fide museums. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.