Friday, December 23, 2016

Annual Christmas Letter to the Patrons

Whew! I survived 2016.  I’m sure this is a sentiment that many of us share.  It has been a year full of challenges as our country faced a crossroads, as we each aged another year, and as we perhaps faced good life altering decisions.  Yet here we stand at the close of the year and celebrate our accomplishments and potentials.

For me, there came a day in 2016 when I woke up and realized that I was fully immersed in the professional world.  I negotiated and dictated legal matters.  I became a representative of DSU in matters involving external agencies.  My colleagues became my friends.  I formulated ideas that I wanted to contribute in order to move my community forward in a positive, productive manner.  I developed a voice and hoped that it was heard.  Somewhere along the lines, I passed a point where I stopped having to operate independently and found myself part of a team - A big shout out to the alumni who advocate and support me 100%!

Looking back at the year, so much has been achieved! 
  • Today I sit in a physically different office then I did twelve months ago thanks to the Office of Planning and Construction.   
  • I have a beautiful exhibit installed in a new archives gallery thanks to the Delaware Public Archives. 
  • My collections have increased in size following the #GOTPAPER initiative of the Office of Enterprise Risk Management.  
  •  There are four wayside signs permanently installed on campus through an IMLS grant and the camaraderie of the archival fellow, intern, and student volunteer.   
  • Last, but not at all least, I started an oral history program because of a partnership with the DSU Legacy Committee, a group of loyal alumni who seek to preserve university history. 

My challenges yielded my successes.  I will cherish the moment I received a call from the staff of Vice President Biden’s office because they needed research help.  I will always remember the feeling I had when I stumbled into an abandoned records room in the most unlikely of places.  I will savor the advice I received and feeling of being welcome in the home of a 90 year old alumna who graciously allowed me to conduct an oral history. 

There are many aspects of the future that are obscure and difficult to guess.  There have been significant changes for the staff at the William C. Jason Library and departmental restructuring is still ahead as we move into 2017. By the same token, those who are in the highest offices of this university are setting goals to advance the archives into further prominence within the community.  Whatever comes next in 2017, I will serve to the best of my ability. Continue to join me here, in this blog, as the archives progresses through 2017. 

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and health and happiness in the new year, 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Archives Video Feature by DSU students

Thanks to Jabari Jefferson, Justine Marshall, and Tayzah Peeples for making this awesome promotional video for the archives!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Now Open!

On November 29, 2016 the Delaware State University Archives hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome the campus community and other archives supporters into the beautiful, new archives suite. 

The delays, the hassle, and the negotiations surrounding the construction period were well worth the struggle!  At the end of it all I feel that I have secured a positive future for the Delaware State University Archives.  No longer will it be hid in a converted second floor conference room, but in a dedicated space that can be seen the moment library patrons walk in the front door.

I am thrilled by all of the students who have come into the new space.  In the two days since the ceremony, I have watched again and again as the students call the elevator outside the archives door before their curiosity gets the best of them, and they are suddenly drawn into the gallery. I hear excited exclamations through the wall as I work in the storage space on the opposite side, and it makes me smile.  I am so glad that I have been able to build all of it for them. I hope that I have provided the students with another dimension to their education, and that they may come to understand those who have preceded them and who now support their scholarships, their athletics, and advocate for the diversity of opportunities afforded to them.

It is also for the alumni of whom I speak that I have striven to make the history of DSU more accessible. They deserve to know that the State College for Colored Students and the Delaware State College that they remember has not been forgotten.  There is still someone who appreciates their history and contributions not only to the university but to our nation. I hope that they too will enjoy the gallery and the trip a walk down memory lane it inspires.

In case you missed all the fun, take a look at our pictures here!

Written by Joy Scherry

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Archives Grand Opening on November 29th at 11:00!

You are cordially invited to the grand opening of the DSU archives and exhibit gallery! We are celebrating the completion of the archives construction and the first-ever archives exhibit.  President Williams and myself will offer remarks followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony and refreshments. 

Come see the exhibit  which features a visual timeline of university history (thanks to the Delaware Public Archives who generously donated the wall panels) and rare items from the university archive. This will be an opportunity to view the Board of Trustee minutes from the very first meeting in 1891, vintage clothing, the matriculation book from the early 1900s, 1930s trophies and so much more!

I hope to see on November 29th, 2016 at 11:00 in the university archives, located on the first floor of the William C. Jason Library.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Exhibit Materials Available in Braille

 How cool is this?! Several months ago, while the DSU history walking tour project was still in the planning stages, I and a colleague were working to review the exhibit's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  In the course of the meeting, the idea of publishing the exhibit text in braille was proposed, and I immediately loved it! After all, the business of libraries is about providing access to information for everybody.

Today it is my very great pleasure to announce that braille copies of the DSU history walking tour have been made available at the William C. Jason Library circulation desk and within the archives!

Monday, September 12, 2016

New Permanent Exhibit Installed!

I am beyond thrilled to announce that after a year in the making, the DSU Archives has installed a permanent, outdoor exhibit on the university's Dover campus.

The exhibit was designed as a walking tour of the campus in order to allow campus visitors to catch a glimpse into the university's 125 years of service. Four trail-side signs are now located outside of Loockerman Hall, the DuPont School (now the health center), the Science Center, and the William. C. Jason Library.  The signs include narrative texts and historic photographs from the collections of the university archives in order to inform visitors. 

I invite you stroll our campus and contemplate the unique history of this university.  Consider our buildings not for their function, but as artifacts and eyewitnesses to the past.  These brick and mortar structures have beheld the evolution of modern society and the arrival of the digital age – from Revolutionary America to the advent of the internet. Please pay us a visit soon!

I have several people to thank: First, this project would not have been possible without the assistance of Derek Street who gave his time freely to design these beautiful signs. At the time of the drafting period last spring, Derek was a graphics design sophomore who had just transferred to Delaware State University.  He was extremely patient throughout the process and was willing to sit with me hours at a time in order to make sure that we put forth our best work. I think the end result proves that he knows his stuff! Thank you, Derek! I'm serious. I couldn't have done it without you.

I also thank the archives intern and fellow, Jasmine Smith and Daniel DelViscio, who also worked tirelessly to help me research, draft text, and select photographs for the signs.  You should both be proud, and I hope you will have the opportunity to come see the final result.

Lastly, I have much appreciation for the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the funding that allowed the curation of this exhibit. [MH-00-13-0013-13]

Friday, August 19, 2016

Residential Life

This week the biggest topic of conversation among DSU employees is the return of the students.  Mostly we are excited to start another year and get the projects we spent the summer planning underway.  Some of us (custodial staff, *cough, cough), have been complaining about the arrival of students because it has been a mad dash to clean and prepare the residential halls.  Whatever the case, we’ve all worked hard to prepare and now we’re looking forward to welcoming them.

Classes will not start until August 29 so there is yet time for the students to enjoy the last vestiges of summer.  Many will convene on campus beginning next week to settle into their residential halls and shop for all the essential school supplies and room d├ęcor.  

For many of the students, the best part of college is living in the halls.  Speaking from personal experience, all of my best memories of college happened in my dorm.  Somehow even the unpleasant experiences make for good laughs now – like that time a guy waited for an unsuspecting person, me, to start a load of laundry and walk away before jamming his clothes in with mine.  And then there’s the pranks we pulled. I used to lob snowballs at my friends through their open windows (because we all know that radiators inevitably blast heat. It's a given in college dorms). But don't get any ideas. There are rules against throwing snowballs on the DSU campus. 

Residents of Tubman Hall, 1971
Dear Students, I wish you the best of luck this year and hope that you will make plenty of memories! Revel in your college years because they pass too quickly!  Enjoy the social atmosphere of  the residential halls, but also work hard, eat right, and don't forget to visit the library! Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year. 

Conwell Hall c. 1970-1980

A resident of Medgar Evers Hall

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Construction Update and Lessons Learned

Written by Joy Scherry

We at the William C. Jason Library are coming to the end of a long journey.  As you may remember from a post last May, the library has been under construction in order to renovate the second floor and build a new archives suite on the first floor.  For the last several months we have endured the sounds of construction, clouds of dust, and the hustle of contractors pounding up and down the stairs. I am pleased to say, however, that the spaces are beginning to shape up, and the archives is awaiting only the final touches.

On a personal level, this project has led to a significant learning curve.  If I should ever have the opportunity to influence the construction of an archival facility again in my career, I now know how I would approach the process differently.

Lesson One: Schedule meetings with project overseers before and during construction to communicate archival requirements and stay on top of decisions. I sometimes found myself backed into a corner by contractors and planning managers and having to make choices on the spot. When all was said and done, poor planning led to unsatisfactory outcomes.

Lesson Two: Formal reports do not get read, and don't assume that emails are any different. It's as simple as that.

Lesson Three: Don't count on being asked for your opinion.  If there is a matter of critical importance, raise the issue with stakeholders yourself.  For example, there is far too much light in the storage room. This is due to the fact that the entire back wall of the room is made of windows in combination with halogen ceiling lights. I had communicated my concern for the brightness from the beginning, I but never made a tangible suggestion for improvement. At least not until it was too late.

Don't get the wrong idea. Errors were made, but catastrophes were avoided.  I hope that my archivist colleagues can learn from my experience.

At the end of the day, the archives has a new and definitely improved home that I am confident will allow it to enhance the services offered and play a more public role. I am looking forward to this new chapter!

Stay tuned to learn more about the new exhibit space coming soon too!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Archives Adventure: Eeek! Spiders!

Written by Joy Scherry

We crossed the threshold between the student recreation areas and the dank, dark corridors of the building’s underbelly.  Our noses were instantly assaulted by the pungent, stale air as our eyes grew accustomed to the dim, yellow-tinged light of the passageway.  As my colleagues surveyed the corners of the cavernous room into which we had entered, I moved forward into a passageway of shadowy doors.  Pausing outside the first door, I gathered breath, threw open the door, and fumbled for the light.

As the light overhead blinked to life, at first, I saw what I thought was a small room or large closet full of documents housed in cardboard bankers boxes.  But oh the horror! As I stepped further into the room, I realized that it was actually a very long, narrow room stuffed with records.   Metal shelving extended from the floor to the ceiling and separated the room into two aisles.  Some the boxes had long since disintegrated, their contents spilling out and across the concrete floor. Here and there vintage Wendy's cups and Pepsi cans with expiration dates from the 1990's littered the room. Evidence of student trespass or employee hideouts? It was as if someone had closed the door in 1995 and completely forgotten the room's existence. 

For several weeks I had been touring the DSU campus as a member of the #GOTPAPER committee hosted by the Office of Enterprise Risk Management.  We were on a mission to “de-clutter” campus closets and basements by ridding them of superfluous paperwork now past the date to which the university was legally required to retain it.  My contribution to the project was to offer consultation regarding the informational value of records and their appropriateness for the university archives.

I am pleased to say the mission was successful!  This week trucks with giant shredders arrived on campus to destroy and haul away the unnecessary records.  Additionally, the archives has accessioned approximately 34 boxes of materials as a result of the de-cluttering.  So far the known treasures include a 1987 yearbook, photographs of university athletics, records of buildings that no longer exist, and best of all, course catalogs dated between 1896 and 1940!  As I process the boxes more fully, I hope to unearth other fantastic finds!

Read more:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Welcome New Students!

Written by Joy Scherry

We, the faculty and staff of DSU, are excited to welcome you, the incoming students, to Delaware State University!  Most of you have completed the New Student Orientation and we hope that your visit to campus has inspired you to be even more excited about joining our community. If you missed the June NSO it’s not too late! Register today for the last session on August 22.

College Orientation is a time-honored tradition for nearly every American college and university, and DSU is no exception. To prove it, I selected a 1957 Freshman Orientation Program booklet from the university archives.  I had recently heard a story from an alumnus who recalled that his parents put him and all his belongings on a public bus bound for Dover.  Apparently at that time in the 1980’s parents played an inactive role in orientation whereas today, many parents choose to accompany their teenager.  I was therefore curious to see how orientation had developed over time.  

Looking through the 1957 orientation program, I realized that orientation was a week-long affair in which students were required to undergo many more examinations than is currently expected.  Such exams included a physical fitness index exam, medical and psychological exams in the on-campus health center, and academic placement exams in English, math, science, and the “Otis Test of Mental Ability.” However, there were also a great deal more social events such as a talent show, a Coke Sip Date Hour (Does anyone know what this is?), pool parties, mixers, movies, teas, and church services.  

In my opinion, the 1957 program makes the 2016 itinerary look like all work and no play.  What do you think? How does the 1957 Freshman Orientation Program differ from your own experience at the 2016 New Student Orientation? 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Dan's Fellowship in Review

Written by Dan DelViscio

I’ve spent a wonderful nine months here at Delaware State University, but my fellowship is unfortunately winding down now. So I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone here at the William C. Jason Library for being such great working colleagues. It was truly a pleasure to meet and work in the same environment as all of you.

I’m happy to say I will be walking away from this job with a better understanding of archives and archival work. I’ve learned that it takes much more than just knowledge of processing collections and organizing them into nice neat document boxes. It’s having the ability to juggle multiple projects. It’s corresponding with colleagues and doing the proper research to ensure all the right information is available to researchers using the collections. And it’s working in an intelligent manner that ensures accountability and integrity.

I didn’t know much about Delaware State University before I came here from Philadelphia, but having immersed myself in the collections and reading about the history of the university I can definitely say I’m better for the experience. My main responsibilities were to process two major collections transferred to the archives by the Office of Public Relations and the Office of Alumni Relations. Both collections are photographic in content and contain depictions of some of DSU’s earliest students, faculty, and presidents. The collections will definitely be integral resources in the DSU archive’s holdings and I’m truly proud to have worked on them.   

I will definitely be using the things I’ve learned here in my next job, but I hope to come back some time and see how everyone is doing, and hopefully to see the new archives space complete with an archival exhibit. I wish Rejoice the best going forward, and hope the archives at DSU continues to grow in its new location on the first floor of the library. Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Board of Trustees Minutes 1891-1927

Written by Joy Scherry

I am very pleased to announce the recent acquisition of the minutes of the Board of Trustees from 1891-1927 and 1956-1969!  

The university archives has proudly maintained a near-comprehensive run of Board of Trustee minutes from 1968 to current day.  In discussions with university administrators, it had always been assumed that Board of Trustee minutes prior to 1968 were forever lost or perhaps in some cases never recorded. This was a perceived reality that we readily accepted. That is, until last month…

In May I had the honor of meeting President Emeritus William B. DeLauder to discuss the recent improvements of the archive and my plans for its’ future.  Dr. DeLauder surprised me by gifting a number of historic DSU materials he had worked to preserve in his retirement.  They included bound volumes of early Board of Trustee minutes.

In partnership with the “unofficial historians” of the DSU community, I look forward to discerning new information and piecing together a better understanding of the first decades in DSU’s 125 years of service.   The minutes and other items may be viewed at the archives in the William C. Jason Library Monday through Friday from 8:00 -4:00.
"The Trustees of the State College for Colored Students met for organization at the Hotel Richardson at 1:30 o'clock P.M. today, present Charles B. Lore, Daniel M. Ridgely, George W. Marshall, Henry P. Cannon and Henry C. Conrad...

"...The Secretary was directed to advertise for proposals for a suitable site for the [?] college, in the newspapers of the state."

Friday, May 20, 2016

2016 Alumni Luncheon

Written by Joy Scherry

On May 19, 2016 I had a rare and wonderful opportunity to examine DSU history with the people who lived it. As the archivist I have the unique ability to examine primary source documents every day. While I count this as a very great privilege, the records do not provide clear pictures of human emotions or motivations. This level of understanding can only be gained by speaking with the people present at the time.

The 2016 Alumni Luncheon was one such occasion as alumni from as far as Florida convened in Dover for a luncheon where they swapped stories, shared memorabilia, listened to a presentation by Carlos Holmes (DSU’s Unofficial historian), and viewed a display of materials from the DSU archives.

I love alumni gatherings for a number of reasons but primarily because there are tidbits of information that cannot be captured on paper and are instead passed on through oral tradition.  Did you know that Dr. Maurice Thomasson, sociology professor and two-time acting-president, was fondly called Dr. Ether?  Like the drug, Dr. Thomasson’s lectures put students to sleep.  

By far, my favorite part of the day was a discussion of the 1968 student unrest. In case you’re not familiar with this event, the gist of it is that students wanted to name the first student center after Martin Luther King Jr. but because administrators didn’t reply to their request, the students interrupted the building’s dedication ceremony in order to so name the building. The circumstances of event have always been cloudy, but yesterday there were individuals present to offer three distinct perspectives – that of President Mishoe’s secretary representing the voice of administrators, the viewpoint of students present for the unrest, and lastly an individual who was a member of the Delaware National Guard that was dispatched to quell the demonstration.  Perhaps for the first time, contemporaries were able to reconcile their perceptions and gain a better understanding of the opposing viewpoint.  Because of the candid and chance nature of the conversation I doubt that this is an experience that can be duplicated.  I’m grateful that I was present to witness it.

Each time I attend alumni gatherings I am always truly inspired by the friendship and joy shared by the people present. Watching the DSU family reminds me that even though experiences can be shared, every life is unique and has immeasurable value.  

While listening to Mr. Holmes' presentation, Pauline Walker Wilkes, seated fourth from the left, had a special moment when she realized she was looking at a picture (below) of her younger self.  Additionally pictured here is the oldest living alumni, Mrs. Stevenson, age 102 (seated fifth from the left). 

Pauline Walker Wilkes, pictured in the center

Happy Birthday DSU!

Happy 125th Birthday Delaware State University! Here’s to wishing you many happy returns!

 Today, May 15, 2016,  we salute the 125 years of service DSU has dedicated to positively impacting the community, state, nation, world, and Mars! …Okay so we haven’t actually reached our neighboring planet yet, but the Optical Science program is doing its best. Thank you to the administrators, faculty, staff and more than 20,000 graduates who shaped this university.

Coming Soon!

Written by Joy Scherry

Surprise! The archives is getting a new and improved home!

Formerly, the archive was located on the second floor of the William C. Jason Library in a converted conference room and office suite.  Last summer, however, the athletic advising department, also located on the second floor, received a $500,000 grant to renovate the entire floor in order to create a more inviting space for athlete study halls.  The hope is that by enhancing student-athletes’ access to academic resources and advisers, retention rates will improve.  

On May 9, 2016 construction began! The first phase of the project centered around preparations for the future site of the archives including demolition followed by framing, electrical wiring, and drywall.  Once the walls were in place, work on the second floor began.  All traces of the former spaces have since been obliterated as walls were knocked out, lights removed, and wiring exposed.

Dan and I have been busy, busy, busy, relocating the archives into temporary storage and well out of the path of fast-moving guys with hammers.  The current status of the archives is chaos due to the archival materials being dispersed throughout study rooms and classrooms on first and fourth floors of the library (no need to hit the gym after work), but we’re hoping the end results are well worth the effort.  Time will tell!   
Former Second Floor Archives Suite
Future Home of the Archives
Former Second Floor layout.  The Archives entrance was located
in the back corner - second door from the left in this picture.
Same view as the picture above. The Archives door is
 next to the orange ladder. 
Alternative view of the Second floor. 
One of five rooms that is temporarily housing archival materials. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Vice President Who?!

Written by Joy Scherry

The entire DSU campus community is buzzing with excitement as preparations are made for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit for tomorrow’s commencement.  Facilities staff members are working overtime to complete campus improvements, campus safety officers are canvassing the area with secret service, and I’m confident the commencement committee has been meeting daily.

As a small, niche department tucked in the corner of the library I never expected the archives to be called upon.  Aside from a few reference requests in the prior weeks for photographic materials to support visual presentations at the ceremony, I fully expected my work to continue business as usual which, for the record, doesn’t include a call from the White House.

Scene: It’s 10:00 am on Friday April 29, 2016 and I’m counting the hours until the weekend.  The phone rings.

Caller: “Hello Joy! I’m calling from the Office of the Vice President, and we’re trying to locate speeches from former DSU presidents.” 

Me (in my head): Errr…. DSU doesn’t have a Vice President.  Wait…It’s a 240 area code….VP Of the United States? As in Biden?!

Just like that, this phone call was the start of a week-long partnership with White House interns. Many daily if not hourly phone calls later, I have provided the speech writers and staff in the office of the Vice President of the United States with much primary source research.

Today, on the eve of commencement, I continue to be amazed that even the smallest of archives can play such a large role in shaping and impacting communities  -  and from the sidelines no less!  Tomorrow, you and I may be the only ones to know that the DSU archives assisted White House staffers, but nevertheless, the resources this tiny, mostly unprocessed archives provided will assist the Vice President of the United States as he imparts advice to 700 graduates embarking on new journeys.

It wasn’t Dr. Williams or the commencement committee that asked me for help.  It was the staff of the White House! Tomorrow, when Vice President Biden speaks I will be listening for the nuggets of information that I, the lone university archivist, provided.  I’m pretty sure librarians silently rule the world.  Just saying. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Class of 1966

The Delaware State University Archives would like to welcome the Class of 1966 back to campus! Congratulations on your 50th anniversary!  We wish you many happy returns!  Here's your senior year in review:

Delaware State College in 1966:
            College President: Dr. Luna I. Mishoe
            Number of Faculty: 66
            Student Enrollment: Approx. 900
Number of Student Organizations: 20 clubs, 7 Greek organizations
Tuition: Approx.  $1,125.00 including room and board
            Number of Academic Departments: 17


Popular Culture in 1966:
Top songs:
We Can Work It Out by The Beatles
Ballad of the Green Beret by Sgt. Barry Sadler
Monday, Monday by The Mamas & The Papas

Top TV Series:
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
The Lucy Show

Major International events that occurred during your senior year:
September 6, 1965 – India invades West Pakistan marking the official beginning of the Indo-Pakistani War

November 11, 1965 –  The Unilateral Declaration of Independence is signed in Rhodesia. The UN deemed the government behind the declaration an “illegal racist minority regime,” and enforces an arms embargo - a first for the UN Security Council.

February 3, 1966 –215,000 US soldiers were present in Vietnam

March 2, 1966 – First soft landing on the moon is achieved by Soviet Luna 9.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Earth Day

John Boykin Aiken
Written by Dan DelViscio 

Happy Earth Day! Throughout its history, Delaware State University has cultivated a strong appreciation for the natural environment. After all, a core component of the 1890 Morrill Act, under which this university was founded, was to establish agricultural courses of study.  Consequently, through these doors have passed many green-thumbed individuals.

John Boykin Aiken was an early graduate of the State College for Colored Students, and he remained at the college following graduation to serve as an agricultural instructor from 1898 to 1906, and as Farm Manager in 1923. In 1937, he was appointed by Governor Richard C. McMullen to the college’s Board of Trustees.

Dr. Ulysses S. Washinton
Pictured here is the esteemed Dr. Ulysses S. Washington conducting an agriculture class in 1970. From 1949 until his retirement in 1991, Dr. Washington served the university faithfully as, first, an assistant professor of agriculture and farm mechanics, and later, as the chair of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Although he no longer actively teaches classes, today Dr. Washington continues to enrich the campus community through his unwavering support and presence on campus.  To learn more about Dr. Washington’s achievements, check out this interview
The tradition continues! Earlier this spring DSU announced the work of Janet Cordero, a graduate student of Plant Science, and her advisor Dr. Sathya Elavarthi, who developed a free app called “DSU Urban Forest.” Funded by the McIntire Stennis Forestry Grant, the app provides users with information about the 25 most abundant trees on the DSU campus including Common Crapemyrtle, Eastern White Pine, Honeylocust, and many more! Using the app, you can learn about the ecological and energy saving contributions that these trees make to the college. Please check out the app here or explore The DSU Urban Forest Facebook page.

This Earth Day we commend these individuals. Thank you for promoting our beautiful campus and enhancing our knowledge of the local environment. 


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Photographic Collections Update

Written by Dan DelViscio

Since I began working at Delaware State University, my primary project has been the processing of the Public Relations and Alumni Affairs Photograph Collections. Both collections depict people, places, and events at DSU in a variety of formats including photographs, negatives, slides, and proof sheets. It has been my task to catalog, house, and preserve these records so that researchers may have access to DSU’s visual history.

Both collections were presented to me in half processed states with some of the materials already housed and cataloged in archival boxes and the rest in largely unorganized banker’s boxes. My task was to rehouse the materials in more favorable conditions. This entailed placing them in polyester sleeves (see picture to the left), organizing them into acid free folders, and finally relegating them to acid free archival document boxes.

I also surveyed the existing collection to make sure the folders inside were properly spaced. Unfortunately, the collection needed a great deal of reorganizing and rehousing. Many of the photographs were not placed in protective sleeves and in many of the boxes the folders had slouched to create planar distortion (see example to the right). This phenomenon can result when there are not enough folders in a box to support each other and the contents begin to sag and curl over time.

In addition to rehousing all of the records I updated the existing finding aid for the collection. A finding aid is a tool record custodians create to inform researchers about the contents, provenance, and size of the collection. They tell researchers where the collection came from, what kind of materials are in the collection, and provide an inventory of each box to help researchers locate specific records.

It’s been a long tedious process to organize all these photographs, but through that process I’ve gained a better understanding of DSU’s history and a better insight into the trials and triumphs of the institution.