October is American Archives Month

Where might one find the Civil War telegrams of General Joseph E. Johnston? Or a weekly magazine that documents the history of rock and roll, blues, and country music? Or the William & Mary report card of your Great Aunt Sally? Very likely, the answer can be found in archives like the Special Collections Research Center in Swem Library!

American Archives Month raises public awareness about the importance of historic documents and records. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) and other archival organizations designate the month of October to publicize the importance of archives. The MARAC Archives Month theme for 2010 is Making Connections: Archives and Imagination. Archivists assist people from all walks of life to find historical information by knowing collections of original records and by identifying data that may be unknown to the researcher. Thus, archivists lead the way in exploring the connections among data and documents in researching historical records. Archivists make imaginative connections between questions asked, historical evidence and information, and the possibility of answers. The creative encounter with the past involves knowing where archives and records are located, knowing how to search for information, and knowing how to interpret information from other times and other cultures.

Archives Month activities and events are happening throughout October and the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) in Swem Library is pleased to share the following:

  • a reception to celebrate the launch of the digital archive of the Colonial Echo, the College of William & Mary yearbook during William & Mary Homecoming festivities on October 22nd, 4-5pm.
  • several new and continuing exhibits in Swem Library, among these are “In the Beginning was the Word”: Bibles at Swem Library, A Large and Curious History: Tobacco at The College of William and Mary, homecoming, the 100th volume of the student newspaper the Flat Hat, Thomas Jefferson in Williamsburg, and others. A complete listing is available from Swem Library.
  • and you can always find the SCRC on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, iTunesU, the SCRC Wiki, and more!

Swem Library’s Special Collections Research Center is a learning lab for students, much like a science lab, except the raw materials we offer for your experimentation and observation are original manuscripts, photographs, rare books, sheet music, maps, and other unique or rare treasures documenting humanity’s history and culture. The finding aid for the papers of General Joseph E. Johnston is available via the SCRC Collections Database. Cashbox was a weekly magazine published from 1942 through 1996 for the music and coin-operated machine industries in the U.S. The SCRC acquired the publishers’ own set of the magazine in 2010 as well as the publishers’ copyright.

Swem Library completed a major renovation and 100,000-square-foot expansion in 2005. It is among the leading academic research libraries in the Southeast, with students ranking the College’s libraries the eighth-best in the country, according to the Princeton Review. Through its collections and services, Swem plays a critical role in supporting William & Mary’s teaching and research missions.

Begun in 1972, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) is a volunteer, regional consortium of archivists who live and work in the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia, and in the District of Columbia. To find out more about MARAC, visit www.marac.info.

Update: Virginia’s Archives Month poster arrived in our mailbox and inbox today and the item included from the SCRC is a portion of a Charles Robinson blueprint in the lower-right corner. Check it out online or at the SCRC’s entrance in October.

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About acschi

I am the University Archivist at the College of William and Mary, which means I am here to preserve and make accessible material documenting William and Mary and its community from before the founding in 1693 to today (and tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that...).

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