After a semester so busy I added a total of one entry here (well, this makes two), we’ve reached the end of the year and are busily getting ready for the coming of New Year’s Day.
We’re in the midst of the 75th anniversary of Friedsam Memorial Library, the home of these archives, and our newest task is to help prepare for the celebrations to come. You can watch our progress, and participate in it, by checking our Anniversary website and blog.
We’re encouraging alumni, students, along with past and present staff and faculty to share their stories with us. Please take a moment to recount your favorite memories of Friedsam Library. You may leave a written message at the blog site, send an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or leave a voice message at our SpeakPipe site.
The Western New York Archivists are meeting at SBU this Thursday for our annual fall gathering. We share our experiences of the summer and I’ll be giving a quick workshop on setting up a WordPress blog. This, of course, necessitates making sure that I remember how to do it, so I’m preparing a “help sheet” as I remind myself of the process.
Our earlier work with WordPress involved setting up pages that serve more as web sites than as blogs. With the WNYA, the blogging capability is probably going to be the most useful aspect, so the emphasis is different that what we’ve focused on.
We’re always learning new processes down here. WordPress turned out to be one of the most straightforward experiences we’ve had with new technologies and we’re happy to share it with the archives’ community.
My work with the History 492 class this semester is the immediate cause of this blogging experiment. A site for the archives gives me a place to try out various WordPress components and to explore those options. This week it’s embedding video.
This is one of my favorite pieces of film from our collection. It appeared out-of-the-blue a couple of summers ago. It was taken during the fire that burned the original building on our campus in 1930.
What is it about February? While it is hard to tell that winter is here this year, the usual hubbub of activity is definitely present.
Of course, midterm time has come for our students and work schedules adjust accordingly as desperate study sessions come into play. But it’s also a time for research with capstone projects coming up sooner that folks had realized and a slew of outside requests for information. Genealogists and sports historians are popping up and we even had a scholar here for four days last week investigating the history of religious education and educators.
All this reminds us of why we’re actually here. It isn’t just to process the continuing stream of new material (and that backlog!) but to make it available for exactly the purposes all these people are using it for. An ancillary benefit of this burst of use of the collection is that it has brought to the surface a number of those backlogged items which are now being processed. It also pointed out some material in those collections that we weren’t aware of at all. It means that next time we go digging for an answer our finding aids will be even more effective at giving us a complete view of what we actually have.
Coming up–Spring Break!
Last week we upgraded our web site’s home page. Our list of web pages was getting out of hand so we took the opportunity to spread them out topically and add a little more visual interest to the index pages. It also freed up room to add photos of all of my assistants and interns. There’s a (small) boat load of them this semester! We added a brand new student assistant and brought back another who’d been away for a while, too. Jenna and Krista jumped right into the piles of backlogged newpapers and press releases. We’re making a lot of progress this term.
Digging around in the basements of buildings on campus is usually dirty work and this was no exception. The pile of material we looked at in Doyle’s storage area had been there for a long time and accumulated the appropriate layer of dust. We were looking for material that should be saved for the library or the archives and found interesting and useful bits of Bona’s history in those dark recesses of Doyle Hall. Stuck in the midst of it all was a piece of paper that became even more relevant Super Bowl Sunday.
Unrelated to anything else in the 30 cubic feet of files I discovered a note on Pittsburgh Steelers’ letterhead. It turned out to be from Steelers owner Art Rooney to our own Francis “Griff” Griffin. For those of you who don’t recognize the name Griff grew up across the street from campus and ended up working here for all but one of year of his career. Follow this link to a biographical piece on our web site about this Bonnie “lifer”. Of course, the bigger news this week was John “Jack” Butler’s selection for the Football Hall of Fame. Butler, and other Bonnie football players, are noted here on our football site.
There’s always a lot to do here in the archives at St. Bonaventure. This semester we’re processing a collection of Fred McCarthy’s papers. McCarthy was the creator of Brother Juniper, a character invented here at SBU during the 1940′s. The cartoon appeared in print from 1958 to 1989. We’re also cataloging our artifact collection, creating a list of the important dates in our athletic program’s history, working with the papers of a science fiction writer and a poet, and taking care of the day-to-day archival business.
Take a look at some earlier work on the McCarthy Collection here: http://web.sbu.edu/friedsam/archives/Juniper/juniper_index.htm
For an overview of our collections and web sites this is a good place to begin:
Monkey-fish, Feejee/Fiji Mermaid by any other name…
- By any name, it’s ugly.
Welcome to the SBU Archives’ blog. We’ll post here from time to time as items of interest pop up. The Monkey-fish caught my eye since we have one of its cousins here at SBU. The question is whether or not ours actually came from the P.T. Barnum collection. The paper trail is fuzzy but it does lead in that direction. One of the unsolvable mysteries in our history.