January 2014 Archives

Students Make Creative Use of Archival Collection

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by Linnea Anderson, Archivist, Social Welfare History Archives

Archives and Special Collections staff work with numerous graduate and undergraduate classes during a semester. One of the classes that regularly use the archives is Organizational Approaches to Youth Development taught by Professor Jennifer Skuza from the Center for Youth Development. Lindsey Cacich Samples, a student in this class wrote a blog entry reflecting on her experience using a collection in the Social Welare history Archives. Lindsey and her class partner, Genta Hayes, did an historical research project using records of the National Florence Crittenton Mission maternity homes for single mothers. Inspired by the documents, they wrote a script and delivered a dramatic interpretation about the Crittenton Homes for their class project.

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A little over a year ago, I was in a class that culminated in a final project involving research in the Andersen archives. On an October evening, our class was given an orientation by Andersen staff as we perused some sample boxes of archives from youth serving organizations of the past. Unfamiliar and overwhelmed by the number of choices, my partner and I finally stumbled upon an organization that struck a chord with us. The Florence Crittenton Mission was a home for unwed mothers, providing them a safe place to stay, where they wouldn't be scorned by their community, and where they learned job and life skills to support their young family. After honing in on a topic, we asked to view a number of boxes from the archives. A full day at the library skimming over the contents of the boxes and we were able to narrow down our search- we were interested in the early years of the budding organization with a goal to find as much evidence to the client's experience in the homes as possible. There was a lot of information that discussed what services the homes provided the women, but it was more of a stretch to find the voices of the women they served in their archives.

Video Tour of the Minnesota Library Access Center

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If you have toured Archives and Special Collections, you know that we share an amazing facility with Minitex and the Minnesota Library Access Center. The latest episode of Minitex Minutes features a video tour of the Minnesota Access Center. If you haven't yet taken the tour and wonder what 1.5 million books look like, here is your chance to peek in the cavern!

Archives and Special Collections also has a cavern, filled with tens of millions of pages of material and other items related to our special collections. The ASC webpage is a good starting point to browse our treasures.



"Have I Got Something For You!"

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by Kate Dietrick, Processing staff and Curator of the Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives.

When Lisa Von Drasek, curator for the Children's Literature Research Collections, came into the Archives and Special Collections Central Processing suite and announced, "Have I got something for you!" before revealing her newest acquisition, I believe it was the first time I audibly squealed while at work. Because what she revealed was a rare gem whose final product delighted me as a child--she had the artist's dummy for the beloved children's book Amelia Bedelia.

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Donated to the Kerlan Collection by Gretchen Siebel, the widow of the artist Fritz Siebel, the dummy documents the early drawings and layout of the 1963 publication Amelia Bedelia, written by Peggy Parish. Each page holds original ink drawings and watercolors by Fritz Siebel, matched up with taped-in text from Peggy Parish. On some pages there are scribbled notes - "Fritz--don't have drapes 'drawn' i.e. not closed!" that help illuminate the process from draft to final product. By paging through the dummy you begin to see the makings of the lovably comedic Amelia Bedelia as she takes her chores list a bit too literally.

Special Collections Cataloger as History Detective

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By Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Manager, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Unit

518px-Washington_1954_Issue2-1c.jpgAnyone familiar with the PBS series History Detectives knows that invariably, the show's investigators searching for the story behind family heirlooms and artifacts will begin their search in a library or archive. As a special collections cataloger, on occasion I've been presented with an item that requires research and investigation beyond the routine in order to provide adequate description and context for the item to be found in the library's catalog and useful for researchers. In the past, I've been presented with a Civil War diary that turned up in a box of donations to the Andersen Horticultural Library, and a guest book that contained the signature of Sinclair Lewis. Neither of these items came accompanied by any provenance information, so correctly identifying the source required extensive detective work.

Recently, while cataloging items from our rare books backlog, I came upon a postcard. The front of the postcard is a color photograph of the United Nations Secretariat Building. On the back, the postcard is addressed to a Sally Caen in San Francisco, California, and the message is signed "Truman." There are two 1-cent stamps depicting George Washington affixed to the card, and the item is postmarked from Brooklyn, NY, with a date of May 8. Unfortunately, only "19" appears for the year: the final two digits are not visible.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2014 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2013 is the previous archive.

February 2014 is the next archive.

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