Category: Archival Kismet

Manslaughter or Necessary Operation? Abortion and Murder in Early 20th-Century Missouri

In April 2021, I was part of an exciting experimental conference, hosted by Dr. Courtney Thompson through Mississippi State University: Archival Kismet. In “Archival Kismet: a Manifesto,” Dr. Thompson outlines the goals of and thinking behind the conference. For me, the conference allowed me to reach out to other scholars to discuss sources that were a… Read more →

Blood, Teeth, and Fire: A Dispatch from Cincinnati, 1844

This is a story about walking between worlds. It happens now (more or less; December 2020) and also then (October 1844). In the present, I was working on the Dr. Todd A. Herring Collection, re-sorting folders and looking for pieces to scan so I could transcribe them over winter break. I am an archives nerd;… Read more →

Whale, Actually

Across the cover of the worn brown file, now property of the British National Archives, someone had written “Rations and Supplies – Dehydrated” in bright red pencil. This bland title gave little indication of what lay inside: a lengthy discussion about how Britain might feed its troops in South Asia in 1944, and specifically how… Read more →

Finding Friendship and Frustration in the Archive of an Institution for the “Feebleminded”

The methodology proposed by “Archival Kismet” is to go where the archive leads you (while bearing in mind, of course, all the people, structures, and historically contingent happenings that have produced “the archive” in its current form). Sometimes you follow archival sources down a dead-end rabbit hole, or along a new and exciting path of… Read more →

Archival Kismet: A Manifesto

In a fit of spring-cleaning early last year, my mother sent me a series of boxes filled with various mementos from my childhood and other things she wanted to get out of her closets and into mine. Tucked inside one of the boxes was a photocopy of a family recipe. This recipe was for varenyky… Read more →