Diary of an Ocean Voyage to Latin America

Sketch of San Jose, Guatemala, 17 Aug. 1934. Marie Katherine and Oliver E. Seegelken Papers, 1918-1943 (Mss. Acc. 2014.083)In the period “between the wars,” Marie Seegelken and her husband Oliver embarked on a cruise from Los Angeles to Cristobal, Panama. The couple left Los Angeles on August 7, 1934 after dining the night before at the California Yacht Club. The passengers started their voyage on the SS Santa Catalina but were transferred to the SS Santa Elena for the voyage home where they arrived on September 4. Both ships were part of the W. R. Grace Company line.

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Left in the Lurch

Excerpt of Letter, Asher Marx, New York, New York to Moses Myers, Norfolk, Virginia, 1819 June 14In 1819 Asher Marx (no relation to Groucho) wrote a letter to Moses Myers of Norfolk, Virginia complaining about his money problems, saying that his credit would have been sufficient to support his family but Wilson & Cunningham “left me in the Lurch” for $40,000.  Did they really use that expression in the early 19th century?  Was Asher the one who coined the phrase?  Does the Special Collections Archive have an important piece of etymological history?

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Centering animals in archival research

"Poodle" in Vier und zwanzig Abbildungen verschiedener Hunde by Magnus Brasch. Nürnberg, in der Raspischen Buchhandlung, 1789. Rare Book N7660 .B7 Chapin-HorowitzTracing the histories of oppressed groups is notoriously difficult as their members may have been prevented from attaining educational or material resources that would allow them to keep records of their experiences. Or their existence may have been deemed so inconsequential that they were simply excluded from or misrepresented by larger data sources like census records, upon which researchers often rely. Consider the especially elusive nature of historical records that detail the lived experiences of nonhuman animals in a society where they are largely regarded as objects, property, or pests.

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K.O.B. Ribbon Society

K.O.B. Group Photo, circa 1931This image of female students of the K.O.B. ribbon society surrounding the Botetourt Statue appeared in the 1931 Colonial Echo yearbook. Shortly after William & Mary became a co-ed in 1918, “a certain group of girls who found each other’s company congenial, decided to form a ribbon society.” As a precursor to the current sorority system, selected William & Mary female students formed the G.G.G. club and others the K.O.B. club. K.O.B. members “wore a yellow ribbon on their wrists once each month and on special occasions” as a mark of their membership in the ribbon society.

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Beautiful Penmanship

Chart, Wilson Miles Cary Genealogical Notebook, circa 1900-1914, Mss. MsV Ad2One of the most beautifully executed manuscript volumes in the Special Collections Research Center is a genealogy notebook compiled by Wilson Miles Cary (1838-1914). Cary, the grandnephew of Thomas Jefferson, was born in Harford County, Md. and later lived in Baltimore, Md. where he served as a court clerk and also pursued his genealogy interest.

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College Airport

College AirportThe College Airport was located on Airport Rd which runs perpendicular to Richmond Rd and Mooretown Rd. (click on image for larger view)  At the time of construction in the early 1930s, it was suggested that the airport be named “Benjamin Ewell Field” after the former College president who owned a farm nearby.  It was only used for a few years in the early 1930’s to teach flying to students.

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Making Sense of Chaos

William & Mary Commencement Program, 1926Tasked with processing the Rosina Bowers Papers series of the Hamilton Family Papers, I opened two boxes of photographs and papers as one would expect to find them in someone’s home, rather than what you would expect in the stacks of an archive. I had two initial reactions to the yet unprocessed collection. I felt privileged to work with such intimate family items, but overwhelmed. Ordinarily, when processing a collection, an archivist considers the original organization of the collection upon its arrival. So how does one go about processing two boxes of undated, unidentified photographs and personal papers that lack any organization?

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