I promised last week that, as I continue to process the
Joseph Clokey Papers, I would share any treasures I discovered along the way.
Well, it just so happens that I’ve already found something that I consider to
be a pretty neat little piece of American history. And in a music collection no less!
Part of the joy of working with archival materials is
that you really never know what you’re going to find. I encounter this all the
time, both as an end-user researcher who works with archival materials and as
an archival fellow getting hands-on experience at CCEPS. The thrill of
discovery came no later for me than in the initial phase of digging into a collection:
the survey. During an archival survey, archivists sort through the entirety of
the collection to get a sense of its scope, content, and condition, making
notes to themselves as they go and, in general, just sort of “feeling out” the
materials. When a repository acquires a collection,
the archivists have a general sense of what it contains, but the specific items can sometimes be unexpected, and often in very delightful ways.
Jospeh Clokey worked as a music educator at a time when
our country was at war. The repercussions of World War II on American students
and teachers is reflected even in their classroom materials and something as innocuous
as a notebook shows us the extent of the war effort. This page was
included in the back of a string-bound notebook that contained a portion of Clokey’s
Something that we take for granted today, metal-ringed
binders, were untenable during World War II, as the metal was essential to the
manufacturing of military weapons, artillery, war machines, and supplies. I didn’t expect to
learn about the effects of war on American education in a collection dominated
by sacred choral music and opera scores, but there you have it! This is the
stuff of history, people!
I also took a scan of the notebook’s inside cover . . . notice anything missing from the Pledge of Allegiance? (Here’s a clue: The
missing phrase was not added to the pledge until June 14, 1954.)
Until next time!
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