Hello everyone, I am looking forward to processing the documents of the incredible Joseph B. Platt this semester. Before I begin, I wanted to share a little about myself. My name is Nicole Blue, and I am a Masters student at Claremont Graduate University. In December 2021, I graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Humanities and a minor in Music. Currently, I am in my second semester in the History and Archival Studies program, with a concentration in Museum Studies.
This week has been more of an introduction as I familiarize myself with the contents of this collection. Who was Joseph Platt? I began by surveying the boxes I will process this semester. While digging through the biography portion of the collection, I was struck by all of the contents. There are photographs from his travels to Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, details of his involvements in countless diverse organizations, songs and poetry, and stunning Christmas cards. I cannot wait to discover more about him.
Not only was he incredibly accomplished, he was deeply admired and respected by his friends, family, colleagues, and community. He, along with his wife Jean, served with dignity, dedication, and love. This is mirrored through some of the ephemera I found while surveying the boxes. A binder, titled “Sticks in the Mudd” stood out, as it includes poems and dedications to both the Platts and Harvey Mudd College after 15 successful years. It also includes farewell poems to Joseph and Jean, due to Josephs departure from HMC in 1976 to go serve as the President of the Claremont University Center. I will include photographs below.
As of today, I have processed approximately 16 boxes of the collection. I have handled materials from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the China Foundation, the United Nations (UNESCO), the National Science Foundation, the National Science Council, the ESSO Education Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Lincoln Foundation, the Southern California Industry Education Council, the American Institute of Physics, and Analytic Services Incorporated. Platt was a busy man! What was his secret? I could take a hint.
I will be out-of-state next week visiting family for the holidays. When I return on December 19th, I will process the three remaining boxes of material related to government organizations. Once those are processed, I plan to start processing the boxes of materials related to HMC and CUC (now TCCS).
I look forward to processing more of the collection upon my return.
I leave you with a funny: “What did one uranium-238 nucleus say to the other?“
Hello! I am very happy to report that Week 2 of my CCEPS Fellowship has allowed me to make a solid contribution to processing Honnold/Mudd Special Collections’ Dead Sea Scroll Files!
I love “before and after” photos – they seem like a cathartic way to celebrate progress – so why don’t we have a look at how the collection has transformed over the last week? Here’s what it looked like when it was originally delivered to our library:
And here’s what it looks like after about 20 hours worth of work:
Even though it’s a lot more empty than last week, 20 hours seems like a lot of time to go through just half a file box, doesn’t it? Well, it is – but archivists do a lot more than just put papers in new file folders when they’re “processing” a collection! In fact, when an archivist processes a repository of papers, s/he needs to move deliberately and meticulously to make sure it’s arranged just right.
In the case of the Dead Sea Scroll papers, this means I’ve been spending a great deal of time organizing every file chronologically, flagging items which will require special preservation attention and/or may need to be refiled for the sake of researcher access, and taking careful notes as to details which might be helpful to include in the finding aid which I’ll eventually create.
For example, every time I see a paperclip in the collection, I need to stop and remove that sucker – it will eventually damage the papers it’s holding together (and we don’t want that to happen!).
“Just say no to paperclips!”
For the purposes of preservation, archivists instead group papers together in cute little folders they make out of acid-free, white paper:
“When it comes to choosing between paperclips and acid-free folders, there’s no choice!
In closing, I’ll leave you with a shot of the papers I’ve finished arranging thus far. It will be very exciting when they’re all processed and researchers can use them!