Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Time Capsule

Delaware State University Alumni help to bury the capsule
On September 14, 2017 Delaware State University buried a time capsule to mark the closing of the 125th anniversary celebrations.

For the next 50 years the capsule will lay beneath the flowerbeds lining the walkway to Loockerman Hall. We hope that when it is exhumed the next generation will take pride in the growth of the university over the first 125 years. We hope that they too will be able to say that this institution never stagnated and always strived for excellence.

If you would like to learn more about the capsule a video describing the contents has recently been made available and can be viewed here.

Monday, October 16, 2017

New Alpha Kappa Alpha Exhibit

Hello Archives Friends! It is my very great pleasure to announce that a new exhibit has been installed in the archives gallery.

The ladies of the Epsilon Iota Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. worked tirelessly to curate and install an exhibit that celebrates the history of their chapter and the many achievements of their members.

The artifacts found in the display include an initiation medallion of a charter member, Meeting minutes from the 1950's, articles of clothing and accessories, Boule bags, and the portraits and biographies of  many talented, local women.

This exhibit is the pinnacle of a partnership that was first formed a year ago.  I am grateful to the AKAs for their donations of historic records to the archives and their unwavering support for my work. Special thanks to Ruby Coppadge, Ernestine Adams, and Peggy Swygert for installing the exhibit.

The exhibit will be on display for the month of October.  To view it, please stop by the gallery anytime Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 4:00. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Archives Increases Discoverabliity

Hi Friends!

Until recently, the DSU archive suffered a lack of discoverability. The problem stemmed from the absence of any mention of the archives on the University website.  This past spring, however, the university overhauled its entire web presence including the WC Jason library landing page. As a result, the archives now has a place of prominence squarely in the center of the library's page under the heading of "Library Resources." By following the link provided thereunder, patrons are directed to the archive's very own LibGuide:
The Archive's LibGuide page.  From here patrons can access finding aids, look up archival terminology, and seek answers to commonly asked questions.
After this very exciting development, I spent a good portion of the summer working to improve the archive's previously hidden LibGuide.  More specifically, I elected to begin by overhauling the collection descriptions and revamping the linked finding aids. The process is slow-going because the work requires not just redrafting the text within the finding aid itself, but verifying or else correcting the physical arrangement of the collections described.

This is a significant challenge because as time has passed and  the collections grew quickly, the finding aids took a form more similar to an inventory and did not have the requisite scope and content, biography note, colophon and so on.This may sound like a heinous act, but believe me! Just when I thought I'd finished updating a collection, it seemed practically guaranteed that someone would approach the archives with an accession undoubtedly containing more records for the collection at hand.  This happened time and time again with the Board of Trustee records (hence the 1.5 years it took to process it) as you read last month.  You can see how it might be extremely frustrating. By the time I finished, it was time to start all over again!

NEVERTHELESS, I have begun to rectify the situation. Continuing into the new semester, I am striving to update the finding aids.  New and improved finding aids are being regularly added swing by the LibGuide often.  If there's a particular collection you want to see updated, let me know! I'll make it a priority.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dr. Reba Hollingsworth

Delaware State University recently honored Dr. Reba Ellen Ross Hollingsworth, an alumna of both the laboratory high school and the State College for Colored Students. Dr. Reba is one of the most amazing women I know! I appreciate her most for the indelible wisdom that has informed both my personal and professional life.   During my first-ever meeting with her I immediately had the odd sensation that she was someone I did not want to disappoint.  I knew that she would expect me to use my God-given talents to the fullest and brook no excuses if I did not.

Dr. Reba is a friend to the archives and believes in the importance of understanding the history that shapes the university today and appreciating the hard work of those who came before us. Take a look at the video above and see for yourself.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Board of Trustees Records Now Fully Processed

Good news! I'm happy to announce the completion of one of my most significant projects to date. After a year and half, Board of Trustees records are now available for research!
Only a small number of the plastic bins containing Board
records that were accessioned and transferred to the archives. 

Oh so long ago, the Board records arrived at my office in more then 230 plastic bins and jumbled up with records of other university administrative offices.  I began the daunting process of separating out the records that pertained only to the Board.  Several months elapsed before even this "baby" step was completed. Finally, at the end of one year, I thought that I had finished processing the collection into neatly arranged archival boxes only to realize the infamous fourth floor closet of the Claibourne Smith Administrative Building was devoted almost entirely to Board records. Oh the horror! Imagine my disappointment when dismantling the beautifully arranged boxes to make way for such a significant accrual.Working slowly over time, it took me from January 2017 until now to organize the additional materials, weed out the duplicated items, and fill the gaps in the collection.

It seems my work was completed just in the nick of time! Or maybe it was right on schedule.  Last week I received a reference request from one of the Faculty chairs for Board materials.  Having a well organized collection enabled me to quickly and definitively conduct the requested research.

This morning I completed the final step by uploading the finding aid to the archive's online LibGuide page. I think a finished finding aid is one of the most beautiful and rewarding sights! Take a look and see for yourself: 

What's next you ask? Well, there are still 68 plastic boxes left to process. And after that there are oodles of records transferred from the Jenkins dorm basement. And after that there are still records in the admin building. And after never ends. Any volunteers? 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Looking for Library Director

Hello Friends! The William C. Jason Library is currently seeking a Director of Library Services.  Could that be you? Do you know someone prepared for this exciting challenge?

The university is searching for someone who will "promote a vision that combines the traditional role of the academic library with the increasing presence of information technologies in a dynamic environment.  The Director will plan and manage all aspects of library operations: budget, personnel, services, program planning, development and assessment, facilities and equipment."

To learn more please review the job vacancy announcement.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Archives in the Classroom

Today the archives played host to Project Success students as they embarked on a scavenger hunt through the William C. Jason Library.  In addition to exploring the computer labs and second floor services, the students were challenged to locate the archives department and identify two collections maintained by the archives. At the end of the hunt, it is hoped that the students learned to navigate the library and have a better understanding of library and tutoring services.

Faculty, if I may, allow me to encourage you to build an archives orientation into your coursework. Obviously as an archivist I am biased, but I think we can all agree that the ability to navigate and conduct original research is a cornerstone of collegiate education. I am more than happy to invite your class into the archives or else visit your classroom to give an archives orientation.  The white-glove environment is often intimidating to first time researchers when it should be more like an adventure.  If given the opportunity, I can allay these fears and give student scholars the ability to tackle original research in the university archives or any other archival repository.

As you begin to play for the next academic year, please don't hesitate to let me know how I can assist your class. Whether it's a freshmen seminar, historic methods or any other subject, I'm happy to help. Reach me at or 302-857-6130.