Noer/MilorganiteĀ® Image Collection

History of the Collection

The Turfgrass Information Center received the Noer/MilorganiteĀ® Image Collection on indefinite loan from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) in the summer of 2000. Widely known as the "Noer slides", the collection includes photographic materials taken from the 1920s through to the 1980s, primarily shot by O.J. Noer, and later Charlie Wilson, Jim Latham, and others. The collection features over 14,000 35-mm slide images originally organized by O.J. Noer. Most are glass-mounted slides, although there are also some cardboard-mounted slides, negatives, positives, and 8 and 16 mm films. The total number of items is estimated at around 27,000, though that figure includes duplicates and derivatives.

2 men kneeling, one showing dirt backend of a tractorĀ  push lawn mowerĀ  2 men examining plantsĀ  row of potted plants in front of a tree

The scope of locations and content from that time period is extraordinary, ranging from turf experimental plots to golf courses and athletic fields throughout North America. Equipment, personalities, maintenance practices, disease and pest control, and, of course, fertilization issues and test plots are all featured. Although this was a "use" collection, heavily utilized by Noer and later others in support of the Milwaukee Sewerage Commission Turf Service Bureau's presence on the lecture and consulting circuit through the '40s, '50s, and '60s, the condition of much of the material is generally good.

The collection ledgers (maintained until 1974) include several indices, as well as on-slide annotations, that has been priceless background data to help create a digital archive of much of this material, accessible via the Internet, and interwoven with the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) database.

The image collection is a welcome addition to the Turfgrass Information Center, as it is an important component of the TIC effort to preserve the history of turfgrass science and culture, as the Center's goal is to systematically catalog, digitize, preserve, and host online the entire Image Collection.

View the Noer/MilorganiteĀ® Image Collection.

Order form for high-resolution TIF's of Noer/MilorganiteĀ® Images (pdf).


Processing Prospectus

To make this wealth of content available to a wide audience in support of turfgrass education, research, and outreach, as well as to local historians and golf and other turf facility managers, etc., the materials must be systematically cataloged, digitized, preserved, and hosted online. Because there are duplicated, missing, damaged and degraded items, not all will require the same handling. A summary, though not necessarily sequential, process would include the following actions:

  1. Cleaning and sorting.
  2. Scanning to produce three versions: a high-resolution archive TIFF, a thumbnail, and a "use" digital image (jpeg).
  3. Color and other digital image corrections, as/if necessary and possible.
  4. Creation of a Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) record for each item, including harvesting of the seven typed ledgers, on-slide annotations, and supplemental indexing and description by a reviewer. About 10,000 of the items have more limited descriptive information available, and those will require more effort to re-create as much of that data as possible.
  5. Creation of online search and browse interfaces within a public website for users to identify images of interest, in addition to retrieval from within the TGIF database itself.
  6. Ongoing storage and maintenance of the digital versions.

We hope that users of the material will help to identify people, places, equipment, weeds, or whatever is of interest in the items.

The image collection is available at: /noerslides/about

Please use the links to email us what you see that we don't yet know about. Click the imageā€™s corresponding link in the ā€œMore Detailā€ column to get the full record display to see everything we know about the image - and please provide feedback if you see or know about the image beyond or different from what is included there.

For further information about becoming involved in this effort, please see the 2011 Annual Report, page 23 for an update regarding fund-raising efforts for this site.

Our special thanks to the O. J. Noer Research Foundation, the Wisconsin Golf Course Superintendents Association (WGCSA), and the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation (MTF) for their lead efforts in this project.


All images on this page from the Noer/MilorganiteĀ® Image Collection, MSU Libraries Turfgrass Information Center.