It’s so nice to see everything all neat and ordered like this, isn’t it? Too bad that was the easy part, this collection has a lot of oversized maps and a multitude of photos, slides, negatives, index cards, and audio tapes. I’m not complaining though, the IAC was host to amazing artifacts and projects, and not just from the Nag Hammadi dig:


Most of last week was spent going through the photos – since we’re going to have to sleeve them we need to break the folders apart into small chunks. Fortunately the IAC photos are pretty organized already and it hasn’t been hard to group them up. Besides documenting the museum’s holdings, the IAC photos cover special events, guest visits, and the staff through the years. The expedition to Nag Hammadi is of course a large part of the collection, but the IAC was host to many interesting people and artifacts.


This week I’ll be finishing up a new crate of photos, getting all the newspaper clippings quarantined, and getting to work on the maps and blueprints. Stay tuned for Series 2, the records from the archeological expeditions to Nag Hammadi.



Rainy Day Files

Hello Again!

Well, another week has passed and I am still in disbelief of
how quickly the days go by. This week is starting off with rain trickling down
the windows of the library but I am looking through the window of history today!
(Please excuse the cheesy cliché) As promised, I have a couple of interesting
snapshots of the hundreds of pictures I have been combing through. Most
recently I have been reorganizing the series on the Nag Hammadi dig and the
surrounding work involved in such a monumentally historic project. This had
included everything from field logs of the dig sites, pictures of the
surrounding towns and landscape, and a plethora of amazing records documenting
the whole process.

Going through this series in the IAC Nag Hammadi Collection
has afforded me the opportunity to see a different time and place through the
eyes of both the locals and scholars involved with the excavation and scholarly

One of the amazing photos included in the series are of the
discoverer of the codices, Muhammad Ali and his mother. 

Ali standing next to his mother (dressed in black). 

Thumbnail image for IMG_2907.JPG

The mother of Ali had actually burned one of the codex books upon their initial discovery. Unfortunately, there was no other information on
the reasons for his mother burning one of the books but one can just imagine
what was going through the minds of the IAC scholars upon hearing this story!

And as I mentioned in one of my previous posts I am
including just one picture of Henry Kissinger from his tour of the Nag Hammadi
Codices. He is intently studying pages of ancient texts while members of the
project explain what is written and the significance to ancient Christianity.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for IMG_2906.JPG

There are pieces of history hidden all around us and it is
up to us, historians and others alike, to document that history so others have
the opportunity to look through the window of the past. 

Further Adventures in Archiving




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

            I finally
finished flagging and organizing Ethel’s diaries! Final tally is 149 volumes
(!), including 4 ledgers. See the picture below for the finished product. I’m
still impressed by how consistently Ethel wrote in them.

IMG_5787 - Version 2.JPG

            Once I finished
up with the diaries, I started on an oversized box with mostly family school
documents. Some are certificates of attendance and merit, and some look like
proto-report cards. These are from Lizzie and Minnie Reed when they lived in
New York. The box also contains Nancy’s junior high and high school diplomas
(from Claremont Junior High and Claremont High), as well as her diploma from
Pomona College (class of ’44). See the photo below for a vintage Pomona B.A. There
might be some reorganization of the materials in this box, since there are some
documents that are pretty small and really don’t need to be in such a large


            I’ve also
started on Nancy’s scrapbook. The pages are currently in Manila envelopes and
I’m in the process of transferring all of them to Mylar sleeves. There are
pictures of Nancy and Ethel, their home in Claremont, and lots of pictures of
cats.  Below are pictures of Nancy and
Ethel. It’s nice to have faces for the names, as I’m going through their stuff!
What I think is most interesting about the photos is that they are recognizably
photos of Claremont… the exteriors of the houses haven’t changed all that much
in the past 60 years!

Nancy (below):


And Ethel:


Next week’s post will feature the
cat photos. Get ready… 

The IAC Files

So we are still moving along with the IAC and Nag Hammadi expedition files – this past week we’ve really made progress with the administrative stuff and are finding some really cool stuff in the collection. Jason found a picture of Henry Kissinger picking his nose in the file about his visit to the IAC, and while I didn’t find anything quite so tabloid-ready there have been some very interesting finds!

The IAC has extensive photographs from over the years, among these are photos of the various artifacts that came to their museum. There are many examples of antiquarian coinage that makes you want to jazz up U.S. currency some. More snarling lions, mermaids and owls! It looks like we’ll be spending a lot of time with these photographs, putting them in sleeves and getting them organized. We’ve also got maps to measure and newspapers, slides, and audio lectures to itemized, so plenty left to go. Next week I’ll have some photos up of those coins and anything else I find, maybe I’ll come across my nose-pickin’ Kissinger.



Ethel’s Diaries, Continued!

    This week, I continued flagging all of Ethel’s diaries. Each diary has a flag now, but some still need to be turned sideways, and one box still needs volume numbers. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any of the missing diaries, so there are a few gaps of a few months each in what is otherwise an impeccable record. Ethel wrote almost daily entries for decades.
    The fourth box of diaries was only about one-third full, and I could already see that the diaries were beginning to slump. They have now been moved into a (temporary) new home, pictured below, where they fit much better.


    Ethel also had a few ledgers, in which she recorded daily expenses and occasionally her income. There are only three or four ledgers, and they are not as consistent as her diary entries. One of the ledgers is pictured below. Her ledgers could be useful for someone who wanted to study what people bought in the mid-twentieth century or the prices of such things.

IMG_5774 - Version 2.JPG
    Next week, I’ll finish up the diaries and start on some family documents and Ethel’s scrapbooks.

Continue reading “Ethel’s Diaries, Continued!”

Diving into Ethel’s Diaries

This week, I spent time flagging Ethel’s many diaries. Each diary needs a flag that has the volume number and the date range. There are about 130 of them total, I think. They start in 1893, are written somewhat sporadically until 1907, then very consistently from 1907 until 1968.

I’ve probably flagged about 90 out of the 130, so this task is to be continued next week. You can see my progress in the photos below. I still need to turn all the flags sideways, since having them stick up means the shoebox top doesn’t close all the way. It was convenient to
be able to see the previous flag as I was going through this process, though. I also need to fill in the volume numbers in the first box, as I was hoping some of the missing diaries would turn up (there are a few obvious breaks in the chronology where one diary should be), but no such luck so far.

IMG_5767 - Version 2.JPG

Trying to read Ethel’s handwriting (see photo below) has been a bit of an adventure, even when all I need to find is the date. However, due to Ethel’s diligence in keeping her diaries, I was able to look at the first entry of the next diary in order to find what the last date in the previous diary should be, which made it a bit easier.

IMG_5773 - Version 2.JPG

She was religious about recording the weather; that’s how she starts each entry. She then writes about what she did that day, which often includes visiting friends and reading. Sometimes there is a list of purchases on the last few pages of a diary.

Below is a sampling of some of the notebooks she used. They are all different shapes and sizes and styles, but she only ever used a pencil to write.

IMG_5772 - Version 2.JPG

Until next week!

Time Flies By

Something that we tend to forget about time is that it can slip right by you when not paying attention. Paying attention to time is all I have been doing while processing the IAC Nag Hammadi collection. But not in the same way that people do while sitting in a classroom or at work. I have been paying close attention to the time that has been captured inside of these files and boxes. 

This past week I have been processing the IAC’s museum records. The files contained item lists for all things that were once displayed, including the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. It was a featured exhibit here on the Claremont Colleges campus on June 12, 1965. The tremendous amount of work that went into making the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibits a possibility for the public to see. This included the shipment of materials to Claremont and the delicate process of unpacking priceless materials and to present them in a non-objective manner. The entire exhibit was considered an incredible success with over 1,700 people visiting on the first day alone and a total of 51,852 persons for the whole time. A memo was drafted that gave an amazingly detailed report of everything that went on; including the very few complaints and numerous praises from museum goers, a trip to Disneyland for the Curator of the Palestine Archaeological Museum, and praise for the LA County Sheriffs who were able to handle the large crowds in the summer heat with a smile. 
Another interesting find within the Museum records was a piece of cloth. Now this is no ordinary piece of cloth that we would wear. It was a piece of cloth that wrapped the Nag Hammadi codices, meaning it is nearly two thousand years old. The small piece (now pieces) was placed in an Egyptian newspaper with Arabic writing on it. Now there is quite a bit of cloth dust as much of it has disintegrated due to the long passage of time that the lack of preservation efforts. My part is to now find what to do with this random material from a time I have only read about in books. I am excited to see where this all goes!
Thanks for reading!

First Insight

My first
week as a CCEPS fellow has ended as quickly as my second week begins and what a
week it has been so far! The enthusiasm I have for this work is a benchmark by
how I will be continuing through the weeks until my time here is up. What I
have learned so far and what I still have to learn excite me beyond the words
necessary to write a short blog. Lessons learned in my Archives 310 class last
year are now being applied, tested, and refined through the incredible
opportunity of processing a collection first hand. This collection in
particular, the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity Records, have been
fascinating so far, especially the level of details and records that came with
the Nag Hammadi collection. It is an amazing collection of correspondence,
pictures, maps, and lectures that all describe in remarkable detail the efforts
of many to make these ancient texts come to life for dignitaries and normal people
alike to enjoy. In one of the dozens of picture folders that I went through, I
found an impressive set of photographs showing the visit of one dignitary to
the small world of Claremont. That individual was Henry Kissinger, captured in a
candid moment that made it seem as though he were picking his nose. This
contrast of this imposing world figure and the candid nature of a man looking
at a museum exhibit is exactly what makes me extremely happy and thankful to be
a CCEPS fellow and for the ability to find the extraordinary hidden in the
files of archival collections.


My First CCEPS Blog Post!




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

Hello there! I’m Tamara Savage, a senior at Harvey Mudd and
a CCEPS Fellow. I’m double majoring in engineering and literature, and I’m excited
for the opportunities this fellowship will offer me to exercise my more bookish
muscles. I’m a total newbie–I spend a lot of time at the library and I’ve been
to Special Collections before, but I’ve never done any archival work. So I have
a lot to learn, and I’m looking forward to it!

I’m processing the library’s Ethel M. Reed papers, a
collection of materials from a local Claremont woman, Ethel M. Reed, and her
daughter, Nancy Reed. From my preliminary survey, their family documents
stretch as far back as a property deed from 1811 and contain material from as recently
as the 1970s. A large portion of Ethel’s writing is in the form of diaries–boxes
and boxes of them, and she wrote in them remarkably consistently.

There are also letters, postcards, school materials,
artwork, and scrapbook pages. While I haven’t looked at everything very closely
yet, there are a lot of pictures of cats in the scrapbooks (look out for a
future blog post all about this–I love cats).

As exciting as cat pictures are, what I’m looking forward to
the most is perusing Ethel’s unpublished manuscript, A California Childhood. It’s her account of her childhood spent
here in Claremont and environs, and I think it contains a look into what she did,
the people she knew, and the city of Claremont itself.

After completing my preliminary survey, I’m now ready to
start actually processing the collection. I think I’m going to start with the
diaries first. They need to be flagged with acid-free paper (always acid-free!)
with a volume number and a date range (which Ethel kept very carefully, so no
worries there). I’m looking forward to it!