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Posts from the ‘Archives’ Category

Adventures in the Berlin Archives

By Rachel Epp Buller

As historians, we often work with primary sources – documents about a place or records of a person’s existence. Paging through issues of a journal from a hundred years ago can feel like traveling through time, and reading personal letters now held in an archive offers not only remarkable insights but also feelings of intimacy and privilege. But, what happens when you see something that you wish you hadn’t?

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Adventures in the Archives: Searching for the Past

by Sarah Handley-Cousins

For much of this past year, I’ve been entrenched in dissertation research. Despite the long hours hunched over dusty papers, trying to decipher century-old handwriting, generally while cold and hungry, I’m not complaining. I’m continually amazed that I’m getting the opportunity to do exactly what I’ve always wanted: the work of history. What I wasn’t prepared for, necessarily, was the emotional work that would come along with it.

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Adventures in the Archives…Of Our Lives

This semester, I taught an introductory-level course on historical methods. One of our tasks was to consider an array of historical materials. We read novels and memoirs; watched documentaries and Hollywood films; read speeches and government policies; looked at architectural plans and advertisements for suburban homes. We even watched an episode of Star Trek. Throughout this exploration, a theme we kept coming back to was how people of the past documented their daily lives. This prompted us to consider how historians of the future will examine our daily lives. What sources will they use? What sources are we leaving behind?

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Adventures in the Archives: These Losses Which Are Not My Own

By Carolyn Herbst Lewis
Lately I find that my mind is muddled. I have accepted a position at a new institution, so both professionally and personally there are big changes ahead. In the meantime, I am caught in that strange space in-between. I am finishing up projects and responsibilities here, even as I am already making plans and thinking about my courses there. I look around my home and my campus office and all I see are things that need to be put into boxes. It is a strange time in which beginnings and endings are all tangled into one busy mess. No wonder it’s hard to get anything “done”.

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There’s No Crying in the Archives!

By Jacqueline Antonovich
I remember my first time fondly. The year was 2010. It was a hot summer day in downtown Denver and I was excited, yet nervous. Would I know what to do? Would I be good at it? What if it was boring? Would I get to wear those cool white gloves? Ah yes, the first trip to the archives is always a special time in a grad student's life (Hey - get your mind out of the gutter!). I was an MA student at the University of Wyoming and I had traveled down to the Colorado State Archives to do my thesis research on female juvenile delinquency in Progressive-Era Denver. On my way to the archives, I imagined what my first research experience would be like - perhaps I would be sitting in an old, dusty room with only an antique lamp to illuminate my precious manuscripts and documents. Maybe I would make friends with the elderly archivist, who would surely offer me a hot cup of tea. The possibilities were endless!

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