October is American Archives Month! And today, October 4th, is #AskAnArchivist day. However, you can ask the archivists at UCF any questions any day so this year we decided to ask our interns, who may be archivists in the future, and employees about archives in general.
So first, what is an archive?
“An archive can best be defined as a collection of significant items that are preserved for the purpose of research. There are many types of archives that have special subjects attached to them, but most are general in what is stored within them: publications, documents, ephemera, and even art. The history behind the items can help a researcher get to an understanding and answer questions that would otherwise linger as unanswered.” –Steven Trelstad, History graduate intern
“An archive can be a physical place such as a large and insulated room in a library, museum or government building that houses its collections in boxes placed on shelves. An archive can also be an online entity where the collections are stored digitally.” – Bryan McDonough, History undergraduate intern
What’s your favorite thing about working in an archive?
“I love how archives bring the past, present and future together.” – Kryslynn Collazo, History undergraduate intern
“What I enjoy most about working in an archive is the ability to physically handle primary sources of information.” – Bryan McDonough, History undergraduate intern
What’s your favorite item in Special Collections & University Archives?
“The Judith and Warren Kaplan Collection, Women’s and Gender Studies” contains a handwritten postcard by Susan B. Anthony sent to her sister Mary S. Anthony, circa 1883. Susan and Mary were both women’s rights activists and played a significant role in the women’s suffrage movement. Mary was president of the Political Equity Club (PEC) and corresponding secretary for the Woman Suffrage Association in the New York State.” – Suphi “Burak” Ogreten, Senior Archivist
“Cat-toons or Cat-Tales from the Joy Postle Collection. They would make wonderful designs for greeting cards, stationery and notes!” –Rebecca Hammond, Senior Library Technical Assistant
“I love all the illuminated manuscripts we have, particularly the Farnese and the Visconti Hours!” – Renata Nagy, Art History undergraduate employee
What topic have you researched in Special Collections & University Archives and why? What did you find?
“I read one of Joy Dickinson’s 2001 Flashback columns in the Orlando Sentinel Sunday issue about Thomas Jefferson’s grandson Francis Eppes, who died in 1881 just a few months short of his 80th birthday. He and Susan Ware Eppes are buried in Orlando’s Greenwood Cemetery in a family plot with members of the Shine family, including T.J. Shine who married Martha Eppes, a great granddaughter of Jefferson and their descendants. Three Eppes daughters married three Shine brothers. I went to the Central Florida Memory database and checked the Carey Hand Funeral Home Records which we own and we have several of their records which have been digitized.” – Rebecca Hammond, Senior Library Technical Assistant
Besides Special Collections & University Archives at UCF, what’s your favorite archive and why?
“My favorite archive is the Ayn Rand Archives. It is maintained by the Ayn Rand Institute located in Irvine, California. The archive holds the most comprehensive material dealing with Ayn Rand, which includes her papers, documents highlighting her intellectual development and the impact she had culturally.” –Kryslynn Collazo, History undergraduate intern
“It is certainly the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University. It has the most extensive illuminated manuscript collection, including several corvinae of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary from the 15th century, and it is also home to the famous Voynich manuscript. The building is also one of a kind!” – Renata Nagy, Art History undergraduate employee
“My second favorite archive is the Archives Research Center at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library. The collections document civil rights, race relations, education and so much more! Of note is the Tupac Amaru Shakur Collection, which is one of the few publicly available collections to do research on an individual hip hop artist.” –Mary Rubin, Senior Archivist