question time: staff favorites

Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Many of us work in special collections environments, where we hold hundreds of thousands of unique materials.

What’s something you are proud of holding in your repository, and which might surprise people to know you had (no “greatest hits” please!)?

Here’s an item I highlighted back in 2011 on the Massachusetts Historical Society’s website that helps document the history of anti-feminism and anti-communism in the United States:

In May of 1923, conservative evangelical minister, author, and lecturer Thomas M. C. Birmingham saw a brief announcement in an Omaha newspaper, describing a lecture given by Margaret C. Robinson, president of the Massachusetts Public Interests League, on the “radical propaganda” Robinson and her fellow activists believed was being disseminated in women’s colleges.

Professors at women’s colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Smith, and Wellesley, Robinson argued, were turning “wholesome American girl[s]” away from patriotism and the Constitution, preaching “Communist sex standards,” calling the literal truth of the Bible into question, and exposing young women to the theories of Freud and Marx. As a result, unsuspecting parents sent their daughters off to college and watched in horror as their child was transformed into “an undesirable type of citizen.”

This message resonated with Birmingham, who wrote to Robinson, suggesting that the two activists might find “mutual helpfulness” in an alliance to “stamp out radicalism.”

What do you have in your collections that highlights under-documented histories or surprising connections? Share one of your favorites this week (pictures welcome!).

question time: saa 2014 (or not)

Logo for SAA 2014: Archives*Records: Ensuring Access (August 10-16, 2014, Washington, D.C.)

Logo for SAA 2014: Archives*Records: Ensuring Access (August 10-16, 2014, Washington, D.C.)

Since many of us are archivists or in archivist-aware professions (is that even a term? if it hasn’t been, it is now), I thought this week’s question time could be about the Society for American Archivists’ annual conference, Archives * Records: Ensuring Access, taking place in Washington, D.C. this week, August 10-16th.

If you’re attending SAA, what are you looking forward to? What are your goals for the conference? If you’re already there when you respond, what have you learned or enjoyed?
If you’re not attending SAA, are you feeling left out? What influenced your decision to not attend? Is it the last place on earth your crowd-averse soul would like to be? What will you be doing instead?
Share your thoughts with the group via our listserv.
If you are interested in participating in the Amiable Archivists Salon, please read our community ground rules and submit a brief application for membership and we will be pleased to welcome you aboard!

question time: struttin’ your stuff

Peter Capaldi in his costume for Doctor Who (BBC promotional shot). Capaldi stands in a fencing pose with his right hand extended toward the viewer, fingers pointing. The suit is black and finely tailored with a red satin lining.

Peter Capaldi in his costume for Doctor Who (BBC promo shot).

Last week we talked about being yourself at work (and the limits we sometimes feel imposed upon our self-expression). Since that struck a chord with so many of you, I thought I would continue in that vein this week and ask:

Do you have a strong sense of personal style? Do you have a colleague whose personal style you envy? If you had to characterize your / your colleague’s style with that of a fictional character, whom would you pick? Is there a particular item in this person’s wardrobe that you covet? A particular item in your own wardrobe you feel uniquely expresses your own style? 

As happened last week, visual depictions (fictional or factual) are welcome!

Folks seem to be sharing their responses to Question Time via email. If you would like to join the conversation please check out our community ground rules and complete the membership request form to be added to our most amiable email list.