Tag Archives: National Archives Month 2017

National Archives Month – A Minnesota perspective

 

We are the only species on the planet, so far as we know, to have invented a communal memory stored neither in our genes nor in our brains. The warehouse of this memory is called the library― Carl Sagan

 As National Archives Month 2017 enters the annals of history, it seems like a good time to delve into a mix of archival collections designed to pique the interest of Minnesotans- not because they’re writing a doctoral dissertation or going to court, simply because they love to learn about people, events and stories that weren’t in the curriculum.

Though you may have read everything there is to know about the professional contributions of Gratia Countryman, a picture is worth a thousand words:   http://digitalcollections.hclib.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/GCountryman?_ga=2.217022102.1812135875.1508609902-1599511560.1497032955

The photo is one of thousands of archival records preserved and made accessible through the Hosmer Collection maintained at the Minneapolis Central Library.  Celebrate National Archives Month by treating yourself to a leisurely learning break at Special Collections, 4th floor of the Minneapolis Library:   http://www.hclib.org/specialcollections Visit the Athenaeum (http://www.hclib.org/about/locations/minneapolis-athenaeum) and take time to experience the exhibits of treasures mined from the archives.

The University of Minnesota Archives at the University of Minnesota Libraries are world renowned by scholars yet sometimes a bit beyond the reach of the rest of us.  Fortunately, the Libraries are “metaphorically” opening the archives doors in wonderful ways, including, for example:

  • The Children’s Literature Research Collections (aka the Kerlan) embraces the digital possibilities with publication of   Children’s Book Art: Techniques and Media.  The unique resource brings to life the works of over 65 artists whose work is based on primary sources held in the Kerlan Collection of the University of Minnesota’s Archives and Special Collections. (https://z.umn.edu/digital) — (https://www.lib.umn.edu/special)
  • The Minnesota Nice series. First Fridays talks about the holdings and happenings in the U of M archives.  Beginning in 2018 here are the scheduled sessions – all free and open, Noon at the Elmer L. Andersen Library, Room 120.
  • In-depth public lectures and discussions of specific archival collections, such as this forthcoming discussion of the work of James Wright. James Wright: A Life in Poetry is a sweeping biography by Jonathan Blunk, based on extensive research by Blunk in the James Wright Papers, held at the U of M Libraries’ Upper Midwest Literary Archives.(https://www.lib.umn.edu/mss) Note: Reading and discussion of James Wright on Monday, December 4, 7:00 PM at the Elmer L. Andersen Library.( https://www.continuum.umn.edu/event/james-wright-life-poetry/)

National Archives month 2017 is an opportunity for each of us to seriously reflect on the unique and essential role of archives in the digital age.  Archives are everywhere, not only in majestic buildings that bear the name but in local government agencies, public libraries, colleges, places of worship, corporations, nonprofit organizations and myriad other settings. Their efforts are our best and only defense against alternative facts.

One way to get a sense of the expanse of the state’s myriad archival collections is not only easy but seasonal: Clear your calendar, settle into an easy chair, turn off your cell, then click on this “work-in-progress:  Minnesota Reflections (http://reflections.mndigital.org/about).

Archivists work in a complex and collaborative way to meet the information needs of diverse users – from scholars to genealogists to inventors to journalists and curious Minnesotans of every stripe.  To share resources and opportunities to learn, archivists shape networks of various stripes.  The collaborative that links a mix of archives and archivists in this area is the Twin Cities Archivists Roundtable (https://tcartmn.org/about/ (aka T-CART).  T-CART and guests will be meeting this month (https://tcartmn.org/minnesota-archives-symposium/)   The T-Cart website lists the names and contact information for several related archives and archivist networks, including these:

To underscore the urgency of archival awareness and the imperative to tend to preservation of the public record was less worrisome in October 2011 when Archives Month warranted this comparatively frivolous post. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1078&action=edit 2011

And just to add a bit of flourish to the topic, let it be known that Tom Hanks has been named recipient of the National Archives Foundation Records of Achievement Award.

https://www.archivesfoundation.org/news/tom-hanks-receive-national-archives-foundation-records-achievement-award/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tom-hanks-history-national-archives-foundation_us_59ec777ce4b0958c46829e72)

Enjoy this Halloween greeting  from the U of M Archives https://www.continuum.umn.edu/2017/10/underwater-pumpkin-carving-bio-medical-library/?utm_source=continuum+-+News+from+University+of+Minnesota+Libraries&utm_campaign=6d189433b6News_from_RSSFEED_TITLE_for_RSSFEED_DATE_3_17_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_35496412ca-6d189433b6-174925501

 

 

 

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Long evenings leave time to learn- Some on-site and armchair options

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall —  
F. Scott Fitzgerald 

As the nation commemorates October as National Archives Month the many faces of archival work come into focus, including on the federal government scene.  In the headlines this month is the issue of preservation of White House archives. The White House, including the temporary resident, is required by law to preserve all presidential documents, including emails and other electronic records.  Because this is not happening it has been necessary for National Archives officials to express serious concerns.  A recent [10/17] POLITICO report by Josh Dawsey and Bryan Bender describes the archival challenge in detail. (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/17/national-archives-trump-documents-preserve-243888)

October 19 – 5:00-7:30 pm In Their Own Words: The Tretter Collection Transgender Oral History Project. Elmer L. Andersen Library, U of M.    Vignettes from the “In Their Own Words” project, artifacts, books and documents from the Tretter Collection.  Reservations https://www.continuum.umn.edu/reg/reservation-transgender-oral-history-project-exhibit-reception/

October 28 -UPDATE:  The Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum reports a special program appropriate to the bicentennial celebration of Henry David Thoreau.   Photographer and author Dale Schwie will be speaking at the organization’s monthly meeting. Dale will discuss his recent book, Taking Sides with the Sun, a biography of Herbert W. Gleason whose work includes a major collection of “Thoreau Country” photographs, now housed in the Special Collections of the Concord MA Free Public Library.  (https://www.thoreausociety.org/thoreau-country)   MISF and guests will meet at the North Regional Library, Lowry and Fremont Avenues North.  The library opens at 9:00; meeting at 10:00.  Ample parking.  Free and open.

The U of M Archivists continue to take a lead in the digital age.  New online from the Kerlan Collection is an amazing online exhibit, Children’s Book Art: Techniques and Media. (Z.umn.edu/techniques)   The digitized exhibit explores the ways in which artists explore today’s media to express ideas and delight young readers.  As with most children’s literature there’s no limit on age or enjoyment of the visual treats.

Bookish.com is launching BookishFirst, an early preview and review platform featuring new books and authors, pre-pub excerpts, blurbs, reviews and more.   (https://www.bookish.com)

Everybody needs a break! — There’s a new Nancy Drew TV series in the works!  http://deadline.com/2017/10/nancy-drew-tv-series-nbc-tony-phelan-joan-rater-dan-jinks-1202189328/

If Halloween freaks you out, the good people at Poets.org (https://www.poets.org) offer a National Archives Month celebration of poetry appropriate to the season.  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/halloween-poems   Do not miss John Berryman’s Halloween, read by the poet – archived by the archivists we honor this month. (https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/stanza/archive-john-berrymans-halloween-reading)

Thoughts of the Children’s Book Art exhibit, combined with the spookiness of Halloween,  focus the mind on reading and children, especially children and young people for whom books and reading offer both a challenge and a treasured opportunity.  Reading and books will help these young readers to  live the life envisioned by Charlemagne who told us that “to have another language is to possess a second soul.”

October is Bilingual Child Month

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P.S. from the Roseville Library (Ramsey County)

Fake News: a History
October 25 – Roseville: 12:30 p.m. Roseville Library – What explains the recent rise of fake news and wily accusations of “fake news”? Join University of Minnesota scholar Harshit Rathi for a different look at the news media and how we got here. Cost: Free. For more information contact them at 651-724-6022.

American Politics in the Age of Trump: A First Look at History
October 31November 7 and 14
 – Roseville: 12:30 p.m. Roseville Library – Whatever your political point-of-view, it’s time to take a first look at what will certainly be one of the major historical events of the 21st century. This series features speakers from a variety of political positions, in which will consider the first draft of a history of the Trump Presidency. For more information contact them at 651-724-6022.