The Academic Archivist - Spring 2013

I. From the Editor

Colleagues, I must apologize for the delay in the getting this issue to you. While I had all intentions of producing an issue last fall, the early arrival of my second son preempted newsletter production deadlines. It's been an exhausting time with a lot of adjustment on my part, and I am now finally once again feeling on top of my day-to-day work responsibilities and can catch up on professional responsibilities such as this. Thank you all for your patience, particularly those colleagues who submitted news for the newsletter and waited many additional months to see it published.

If you have news or items to bring to the section's attention, please send them to me by July 1 for the summer issue, to be released in advance of Archives 2013 - New Orleans.

Michelle Sweetser


II. Section News

The Section's Annual Report was submitted to SAA last fall and includes a report of the section's business meeting in San Diego, findings from the Newsletter and Website Survey Committee, notices of sessions endorsed, and more. Excerpts are included below, but members are encouraged to consult the full text of the report itself.


III. News from Our Colleagues

Burke Library Awarded Three-Year Project Grant by Henry Luce Foundation

The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, one of twenty-two libraries in the Columbia University Libraries system, was awarded a three-year project grant by the Henry Luce Foundation. This project will preserve, catalogue and make accessible the collections of the Mission Research Library (MRL) Archives and the William Adams Brown (WAB) Ecumenical Library Archives.

MRL contains over 160 unique collections from missionaries and missionary organizations from six continents in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with special strength in early 20th century China, Japan, and Korea. This collection contains a broad range of field reports, demographic surveys, and other analytical data. As a result, the MRL Archives document the cultural and social realities of indigenous populations in substantive detail, and will amply serve scholars of religion, historians, anthropologists, economists, and medical researchers, among others.

WAB contains over 30 collections, including records of local (NYC), national, and international ecumenical organizations and communities, as well as records from ecumenical conferences (Protestant and Catholic dialogue) that have shaped global Christianity.

Since the grant began in August 2011, the Luce Project Archivist, Brigette C. Kamsler, has processed and made available over 50 collections totaling close to 250 linear feet. The completed collections can be found on the Burke Archives website. Detailed information and progress can also be found through the Burke Archives blog, which is dedicated solely to the work on the Luce project.|

Questions or comments on the project can be directed to the project archivist Brigette Kamsler.

Submitted by Brigette Kamsler. Project Archivist, Missionary Research Library Archives, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University.

Davidson College Archives launches Community Space

The Davidson College Archives and Special Collections has launched a new online Community Space. Within the space, users can help with transcriptions and identifying photographs and upload photographs and stories.  The first transcription project is the Civil War diary of William E. Ardery, Davidson College class of 1862.  Ardrey was present at Appomattox Courthouse for the surrender of the CSA troops.
The site will have sets of photographs from the archives collection online for people to provide information about the people, places and events depicted.  People will be able to share photographs of the college and area as well as share their memories.  In addition, there will be a mapping project "Under Lake Norman." This project seeks to identify and provide images of buildings and farms that were flooded when the lake was created in 1963.
Submitted by Jan Blodgett, College Archivist and Records Management Coordinator, E.H. Little Library, Davidson College.

Luther College Archives receives $216,000 grant to host Archives Leadership Institute

Luther College and the Luther College Archives have been selected to develop and host the Archives Leadership Institute for three years, 2013-15. In support of the project, Luther College Archives has been awarded $216,150 by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

The Archives Leadership Institute at Luther College will provide advanced training for 25 emerging and innovative leaders each year, giving them the knowledge and tools to transform the archival profession in practice, theory and attitude. 

Each year the program includes five elements:

  •       A week-long residential Leadership Intensive held on Luther College's campus;
  •       A focused practicum project that will connect leadership skills with action;
  •       A practices workshop held during the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists;
  •       Global group projects that will encourage all ALI alumni to generate solutions to challenges within the profession; and
  •       A moderated online network experience that will serve as a virtual space for the ALI community to share and grow. 

The ALI@Luther Leadership Intensives will be held June 16-22, 2013, June 15-21, 2014 and June 14-20, 2015.

The core approach will intertwine strategic and advanced leadership thinking with a clear and purposeful archival curriculum that includes project management, strategic visioning and human resource development, strategies for born digital resources, and advocacy and outreach.  The Leadership Intensives will be held at the Baker Village complex and will provide a residential immersion experience for participants. 

The week-long Leadership Intensives includes practical and theoretical workshops taught by Kathleen Roe, New York State Archives; Sharon Leon, The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University; Daniel Noonan, The Ohio State University; and Christopher Barth, The United States Military Academy at West Point.

The entire program will be facilitated by Luther Snow, consultant, author and facilitator. Rachel Vagts, Luther College Archivist and a 2010 Archives Leadership Institute alumna, will serve as ALI@Luther program director. Sasha Griffin, Luther College Project Cataloging Archivist, will serve as program coordinator.

ALI@Luther will be influenced by a steering committee of experienced leaders in the archival profession. They will shape the development of each year's program and curriculum and provide mentorship and facilitation throughout the program. The steering committee includes Terry Baxter, Multnomah County Records Program, Portland, Ore.; Brenda Gunn, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas-Austin; Geof Huth, New York State Archives; Beth Myers, Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola University; Daniel Noonan, The Ohio State University; and Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Iowa State University.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the granting agency of the National Archives and Records Administration, supports projects that promote the preservation and use of America's documentary heritage and the continuing development of professional skills for archivists, records managers and historical editors.  First funded in 2008, the Archives Leadership Institute seeks to bring to tomorrow's leaders the insights and understanding necessary for increasing public use and appreciation of archives.

For further information about ALI@Luther, contact Rachel Vagts or visit the Institutes's website

Submitted by Rachel Vagts, College Archivist, Luther College.

Wake Forest Completes Processing Projects

Wake Forest University's Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives are pleased to announce the completion of two processing projects.

The Clarence Herbert New and Robert Warrington New Papers consist of 111 linear feet and multiple formats. Clarence Herbert New was a writer, editor, adventurer, and novelist, best known for his work "Free Lances in Diplomacy," a serial novel published in Blue Book Magazine from 1909-1934. He published under his own name and psuedonyms including Culpeper Zandtt, Stephen Hopkins Orcutt, Devon Ames, and Norman Blake. Much of his writing, drafts, and research are housed in this collection. His world travel and interest in ships is highlighted by the extensive scrapbooks, clippings, and thousands of maps. New was also an amateur photographer and many of his family photos in Maine and coverage of his house and surrounding near Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York can be found in his papers. Many of New's stories were translated to the silver screen and some of the movie posters have remained intact, but no copies of the films seem to have survived.  The Papers of Robert and Silva New include correspondence, publications, and family documents. The Manuscripts by Robert Warrington New series features typescripts, notes, and manuscripts by Robert New, all of which appears to be unpublished.

Special Collections and Archives is pleased to announce the completion of the Wayne E. Oates papers. This 14 linear foot collection has been arranged and described, and the finding aid is available online. This collection contains the professional and personal papers, sermons, correspondence, and works from other authors compiled by Wayne Oates. Professional papers include lectures, outlines, presentations, bibliographies, research notes, and manuscripts of articles relating to the field of pastoral care and counseling.

Wayne Oates (1917-1999) produced an extensive, pioneering body of work and research in the field of pastoral care and counseling. Oates developed the "trialogue" form of pastoral counseling, described as a conversation between the person being counseled, the counselor, and the Holy Spirit. He is also responsible for coining the term "workaholic."

Submitted by Rebecca Peterson, Access Archivist, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University.

Oregon State University Establishes New Special Collections & Archives Research Center

The Oregon State University Libraries established the new Special Collections & Archives Research Center (SCARC) in fall 2011 as a merger of the former University Archives and Special Collections departments.  Larry Landis, University Archivist and department head for University Archives at OSU since 1996, is the Director of the new Center.   Combining the resources, personnel, and areas of strength of these two successful units provides enhanced and new opportunities for OSU students and faculty and scholars.

University Archives was established at Oregon State University in 1961 for the purpose of acquiring and preserving historical materials pertaining to the University.  The department was expanded in 1966 to include one of the first records management programs of its kind.  After several locational and organizational changes, the University Archives joined the University Libraries in 2000.   The Special Collections in the OSU Libraries was formed in 1986 as the repository for the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, which served as the cornerstone for other collections documenting the history of science and technology.  In addition, Special Collections was also the home  of the Libraries' rare books and fine bindings collections.

During its first year, the Center has developed a mission statement, combined public services into one reference desk and reading room, and established an online presence through a redesigned website. 

Mission Statement

The Center's mission statement outlines the primary purpose of the Center and how this purpose will be achieved.  The full mission statement is included here and is available online.

The OSU Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) stimulates and enriches the research and teaching endeavors of Oregon State University through primary sources. As part of the University's land grant mission, SCARC makes these resources available to the OSU community, Oregonians, and the larger community of scholars and independent researchers. As the repository for and steward of the Libraries' rare and unique materials, we build distinctive and unique collections in our signature areas: natural resources, the history of science, university history, and Oregon's multicultural communities. These collections encompass manuscripts, archives, rare books, oral histories, photographs, ephemera, audio/visual materials, electronic and born digital records.

To achieve this mission, the Special Collections and Archives Research Center:

  • Provides unique opportunities for teaching and learning
  • Facilitates discovery through online access to SCARC collections
  • Provides responsive, personable, and expert public service
  • Assists communities in collecting, managing, preserving, and making their histories accessible
  • Promotes access to and preservation of SCARC collections by collaborating within the OSU Libraries, the University, and regional primary resource communities
  • Engages high achieving students through experiential learning opportunities

Reference Services

SCARC is providing reference services from the former Special Collections Reading Room on the 5th floor of the Valley Library on the Corvallis campus.  The reading room includes a self-serve scanner (a new service), a microform digireader, and audiovisual equipment.  High use collections from the former University Archives have been shifted to the storage area most accessible to the Reading Room.


A new website for the Center was launched in September 2012, the culmination of a 10-month long project to create a new online presence for the department.  The new website delivers guides to more than 1000 SCARC collections; online exhibits and digital collections; and information about Center services and activities.  The Center staff, interns, and students blog regularly and the most recent blog posts are featured on the homepage.   More details about the features and development of the new website are available in two blog posts from September 10 and September 11.


Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections Announces Projects

The Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections (UAHC) has several new projects underway to make materials available online and recently received an unique item documenting atomic testing after World War II.

Civil War Collections Online

On October 8, 2012, UAHC launched its web site commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The site brings together a host of MSU's valuable Civil War resources -- thousands of pages of correspondence, diaries, musters, reminiscences, photos and music -- as well as a guide to help researchers navigate all the available resources. One of the unique features of the site is the ability to view the actual page of an original document alongside a copy of the transcript. Although no battles were fought in Michigan, men and women from the state served throughout the war in over 50 Michigan regiments as well as regiments from other states. These troops proved to be vital to the Union strategy, prompting President Lincoln to exclaim, "Thank God for Michigan!"

World War II Scrapbook

In 2012, UAHC acquired a World War II scrapbook which was assembled to document Operation Crossroads, a joint Army/Navy project in the Bikini Atoll that tested the effects of atomic blasts on the US fleet. This large, detailed collection contains documents describing Major Perry Thomas's experiences during the operation as well as detailed information on the equipment used, the tests that were run, and photographs documenting various steps of the mission. The scrapbook contains of pictures of staff members, the airplanes and photographic equipment that were used during the operations, the actual atomic blasts, scenes of daily life on the Kwajalein Base, and photos of natives from the Bikini Atoll. Copies of articles from the New Yorker magazine centering around the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are also included.

MSU Vietnam Project

University Archives & Historical Collections, in conjunction with the MSU Department of History and MATRIX, has received $264,998 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize records related to the MSU Vietnam Project.

During the 1950s, MSU developed a unique relationship with the Republic of Vietnam (also known as South Vietnam) in the early years of the new nation's transition from French colony to Cold War battleground. Because of his personal ties to certain members of MSU's faculty, the President of South Vietnam requested MSU-led technical assistance as a central part of an aid package offered by the United States government, eager to support this new non-Communist country in the global Cold War arena. The goal to help produce a stable, non-communist South Vietnam was unsuccessful, and growing American military involvement in South Vietnam made the project increasingly irrelevant. Although the program ended in 1962 and was quickly written off as an experience best forgotten, it left behind a rich and invaluable trove of documents: contracts between MSU and the US Foreign operations Administration, reports on the rural economy and society in South Vietnam, and personal communications between MSU staff assisting in police training, ceremonies and inspection tours.

It is the hope of the project partners that these rare documents, available only in this collection, will make their preservation and dissemination an important and necessary project, providing new scholarship and understanding to develop about South Vietnam's transition from a colonial to post-colonial society, its nation-building strategies and its history.

Submitted by Portia Vescio, Assistant Director, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections.

Western Oregon University Digitizes Oregon Beaches Collection   

A selection of documents, photographs, and oral histories related to Oregon's fight to keep its coastline and beaches publicly accessible are now available online through the Western Oregon University Digital Commons.  Named the Robert W. Straub Oregon Beaches Collection, it includes materials from two manuscript collections held by WOU: the personal papers of Oregon State Treasurer and Governor Robert W. Straub and Janet McLennan. Special areas of interest include the fight over the Nestucca sand spit, ballot petitions for keeping Oregon's beaches publicly accessible, and Straub's work with the non-profit organization Beaches Forever, led by McLennan. The collection also includes seldom-seen-before images and film that depict Senator Robert F. Kennedy's visit to the Oregon coast before the Oregon Democratic Primary in 1968, less than two weeks before his assassination.

Digitization of the Robert W. Straub Oregon Beaches Collection was made possible by a grant through the Oregon Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), administered by the Oregon State Library. This project was part of a one year grant, the Cooperative Governors' Papers Project, which was awarded to Western Oregon University, Pacific University, Portland State University, and Willamette University in 2011.

Submitted by Erin Passehl, Archivist, Western Oregon University.

NCSU Libraries Captures Rich Stories of Student Leaders

In April 2013, the North Carolina State University Libraries formally launched the Student Leadership Initiative. The website uses video oral histories, photographs, and other documents to chronicle the experiences and impact of individuals whose formative time at NC State shaped their subsequent careers and whose memories provide a valuable and interesting window into the period in which they helped shape the university.

William Aycock (Student Body President [SBP], 1935-36) explains what it was like at NC State at the height of the Great Depression and how his generation prepared itself for combat in Europe.  William Friday (Senior Class President, 1941, and later the president of the University of North Carolina system for thirty years) recalls the atmosphere on campus on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Four-time North Carolina governor James B. Hunt, Jr. (SBP, 1957-59) pays homage to the respected faculty who shaped his political thinking and remembers realizing at this critical point in his life how the political system could play a role in improving citizens' lives. Eric Moore (Student Senate President, 1970) describes what campus life was like for African American students in the late 1960s, while Cathy Sterling reflects on being the first woman to serve as NC State's Student Body President (1970-71).

Returning to campus after two years of service in the Vietnam War to see the student newspaper earnestly in debate over what types of sandwiches should be served in the cafeteria, Terry Carroll (SBP, 1973-74) found an atmosphere of complacency that "put a fire in [his] gut" and inspired his own attempts to awaken fellow students to what he saw as "a world on fire." "I met a whole fleet of people . . . and between us all someone is going to change the world . . . and owe it to NC State," concludes Greg Doucette (Student Senate President, 2009, and UNC Association of Student Government President, 2008-10).

After leaving NC State, the students profiled in the project went on to a wide variety of distinguished careers as governors, legislators, educators, business entrepreneurs, as well as leadership roles in the medical, banking, computing, and legal professions.

The Student Leadership Initiative currently highlights more than 130 former student leaders and provides engaging video interviews with over 30 who share memories of their experiences on campus.  Their stories encourage present-day students to connect to the past, alumni to put their own time at NC State into perspective, and scholars to access a collection of oral histories that help tell the story of North Carolina and NC State University for almost ninety years.

For more information, please contact Todd Kosmerick, University Archivist, at the NCSU Libraries, (919) 513-3673.

Submitted by Todd Kosmerick, University Archivist, North Carolina State University Libraries.