Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Archives Month: The Special Collection contains…

The University Library Special Collection Department houses the archives of Samford University, the historical records of Alabama Baptists and a lot of Alabama history, but also contains collections of interest and value to a variety of scholars not obviously related to these areas. In short, there’s a lot of stuff and some of it is really very neat.

Since October is about celebrating archives in all of their glory, it is a good time to think about what sorts of bits and pieces end up in the carefully maintained boxes that might entertain, educate and enlighten. 

For example, the Special Collections Department not only contains letterman jackets and Howard banners, but also a small stuffed caiman, civil war surgical tools and three lonely lotus slippers - none of which seem to have a mate, though common sense suggests they must have come in pairs originally. Through the kind donations of missionaries to countries around the world, the collection has gained artifacts from Africa, Turkey, China and Jordan.

While it might not be obvious at first, the educational mission of archives is paramount. What better way for students of writing to learn about the process than for them to look at the manuscripts of a published author like William E. Butterworth III? And if that name isn’t familiar, it’s not surprising. He is much better known by one of his pen names W. E. B. Griffin.

On the 31st of October, the university Library Special Collections Department will be putting gout some of this neat stuff in an open house from 1 to 3 pm. We hope to see you all there. 

Rachel Cohen, Archivist and User Engagement Librarian
Special Collections and Archives

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Admiring the persistence you put into your site and in depth information you provide. It's good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same outdated rehashed information. Wonderful read! I've bookmarked your site and I'm including your RSS feeds to my Google account.