Our Work In The Archives, Second Quarter 2022
Let's look back at your archivists' labor in the spring and early summer!
Reference archivists responded to 514 inquiries remotely and in person. We assisted 41 researchers in our reading room for a total of 75 visits (pre-pandemic we typically hosted more than 250 total research visits in the second quarter). We retrieved 554 items from the collection for researcher use. Researchers visited from 15 different states and 3 countries: Germany, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Nearly 100 different products, including books, sermons, and exhibits, will be created from researchers' use of our collections.
Among our visitors was PHS Research Fellow Hannah Peckham, from the University of Notre Dame, who worked on her project, “American Outposts: Higher Education Abroad and the Making of the Modern United States, 1920-1968.”
So far this year, 115 PC(USA) congregations have asked us for help with records management, digitization, or research into their own history.
Many hands pitched in to image records in the quarter--Allison, Sharon, and Clorinda digitized 14,189 pages of text and images. These included one volume of the original records of First Presbyterian Church (Petersburg, Alaska) from 1924 to 1960, imaged at no cost as a courtesy to the originally Tlingit church. We also imaged the records of Market Square Presbyterian Church (Harrisburg, Pa.), who discovered in their possession the earliest records of a neighboring African American congregation, Capital Presbyterian Church--Capital's records were imaged for free through contributions to our African American Leaders and Congregations initiative. And we completed work for one of our Heritage Preservation Grant winners, Dakota Community Presbyterian Church (Dakota, Ill.).
All this resulted in many new additions to Pearl, among them new content in our General Assemblies collection, including images of Howard Rice, moderator of the 191st General Assembly in 1979, a Presbyterian peacemaker, an advocate for the end of United States aggression in Central America, and a witness for disabled people.
June brought the 225th General Assembly of the PC(USA), and PHS staff served the church in various roles. We were journal clerks who compiled the Assembly's official minutes, recorders who moved items through the parliamentary management tool PC-Biz, photography staff who gathered images and edited metadata, newsroom workers who researched and wrote articles, resource people who spoke to items before committees. The "Assembly Like No Other" had wide-ranging support from afar.
We continued to serve the denomination by making remote visits to mid council gatherings. David delivered minutes for mission to the Synod of the Northeast, the Presbytery of Long Island, the Presbytery of the James, and the Presbytery of the Highlands of New Jersey during the quarter. David also met with interested records-keepers of Village Presbyterian Church (Prairie Village, Kan.) on May 2. More appearances are scheduled for the summer, and we're eager to deliver greetings to any remote or hybrid mid council gathering. Contact David Staniunas for more details.
During the spring, Nick completed work on RG 534, the Emergency Fund for Legal Aid for Racial and Intercultural Justice (EFLA). An effort of the UPCUSA, EFLA issued grants to fund fair trial efforts and bail support for peple unlikely to receive due process -- whether because of their poverty, their race, or their politics. One of EFLA’s earliest grants was to the Angela Davis Legal Defense Fund (case number 12) in 1971. EFLA also helped fund a bail bond for Leonard Peltier, Native American activist and American Indian Movement (AIM) member (case number 126), in 1973.
We brought in 118 groups of records in the quarter, amounting to more than 152 cubic feet. The vast majority of our intake was from historic PC(USA) congregations--98 cubic feet from 86 churches, 20 of them currently active.
Stay tuned for news about our summer work! See you in October.