Welcome Archivists, Archive Enthusiasts, and the Archival Curious!
My name is Mikael Sebag and I am a master’s student in Claremont Graduate University’s History and Archival Studies program. I also just so happen to be one of the two inaugural fellows for the Claremont Center for Engagement with Primary Sources (but let’s just call it CCEPS, shall we?). Here at Out of the Box, my esteemed colleague Amy and I will be updating you (and other fine readers) on the exciting work we’re undertaking here at CCEPS. It’s hard to fully articulate just how thrilling it is to not only work with rare and historical collections, but to know that what we’re doing at CCEPS will have a lasting impact on how future researchers will study these materials.
Currently, I am working on processing the papers of Joseph W. Clokey (1890-1960), a beloved organist, educator, and composer who taught for a time at Pomona College. The father of Gumby creator Art Clokey, Joseph Clokey’s musical output included symphonies, operas, operettas, chamber music, and choral music, both sacred and secular. His papers include published and unpublished scores, letters, concert programs, newspaper clippings, and countless other odds and ends from Clokey’s extraordinary life–and it’s all here in the archives of the Claremont Colleges Library.
My project at CCEPS is to take the enormity of this collection (all 162 boxes, yikes!) and distill it into a body of materials that researchers will find both valuable and easy to navigate. In fact, this is the same kind of work that archivists at major research libraries and institutions undertake the world over. As an aspiring archivist myself, to be entrusted with this degree of professional responsibility is both a deep honor and a humbling experience. It is a Petrarchan oxymoron of sorts, but then, the best things in life usually are.
In the coming weeks, I will share with you my struggles and successes as I continue to process the Joseph Clokey Papers. Together we’ll explore the ins and outs of archival survey, arrangement, and description, and I’ll be sure to let you in on any treasures I find along the way.
In the meantime, let’s hear one of Clokey’s pieces, “The Snow Legend,” given musical life by three tremendously talented (high school!) singers. Also, what happens after the first 27 seconds is priceless.
Until next time!