Today we're announcing that the archives from Road & Track Magazine have a new home at Stanford, where they'll remain in the climate-controlled confines of the Stanford University Libraries for the next 10,000 years. This is a foundational automotive collection for Stanford and further moves the Revs Program to the center of the conversation about automobiles.

Road & Track was one of the transformative special-interest magazines of the 20th century and continues on to this day in its 65th year. For us at the Revs Program at Stanford, it's nearly a perfect fit; great magazines tend to be multidisciplinary in their approach -- drawing perspectives from art, design, engineering, social sciences, politics, humor, and the like -- which is exactly the blueprint of our program. We are not just an engineering program or an art program: The Revs Program at Stanford established a new trans-disciplinary field connecting the past, present and future of the automobile. The program aims to put the automobile at the center of the university and raise the quality of academic discourse at Stanford and beyond.

(View photos from our kickoff event on Dec 10, 2012)

Some months ago we had discussions with our friends from Road & Track and it became clear that with the magazine's move from its longtime home in Newport Beach, the iconic (and massive) library wasn't going to have enough space in their new offices in Michigan. As a result of the work Stanford has been doing to digitize the automotive archives of the Revs Institute, we've built a very strong capability for organization, digitization and distribution. After an initial trip to Newport Beach by Henry Lowood, Stanford's Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections and Mark Patrick, the Revs Institute's Managing Librarian and Archivist, the wheels started turning here at Stanford. Henry and Mark called and I heard the excitement in their voice: the collection was not simply back issues of Road & Track, but all manner of photography, illustrations, reporter's notes, engineering test data, correspondence and more. In all the collection filled two moving trucks, some 10,000 lbs of material in 527 boxes.

Once Henry and Mark gave us their report in September, we saw incredible faculty support from Revs Director Cliff Nass, Revs Co-Director Michael Shanks, Art & Art History Chair Nancy Troy, STS Director Fred Turner, d.school founder David Kelley and ultimately Assistant University Librarian for Special Collections Zachary Baker and University Librarian Mike Keller. All of these people came together on the Stanford side, while Wendy Israel and Larry Webster provided support and guidance from the Hearst and Road & Track side of things. The official papers were signed and on October 18, those two moving trucks made their way from Newport Beach to Stanford, perhaps one of the most important road trips of the magazine's long and storied history.

The next step for the Road & Track archives is 'processing,' which among other things means getting all of the various documents and photographs into a safe and stable state. With some folders containing material that hasn't been seen for 60 years, we will modernize the storage fragile documents into a non-acidic repository. If you take, for example, the below composite of medium-format negatives, they were originally stored in a plastic case that's allowed a chemical transfer onto the negatives themselves. This is but one example of the work that will be necessary to get the collection into a safe and stable form before digitization is possible. My colleague Henry Lowood has been teaching me some of the ins and outs of document preservation and simply seeing him at work has made me hopeful for the future of these archives at Stanford.

In the near future, Stanford will make available a finding guide for the collection. With the help of some bold and innovative donors, we look forward to digitizing the entire collection for the world to use.

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