Day 7 in Rare Books & Special Collections

June 5, 2014 1:45-4:45pm

Since I have now researched all of the correspondence names in the Gresham Correspondence Collection, I spent part of my time today writing the folder labels. As I mentioned in one of my first posts, all folders have to be labeled so that a researcher, as well as the archivist, knows what is in each folder, but these labels must be handwritten in pencil, as opposed to written in ink or placing a label sticker on the file itself. Pencil is used so that if part of the file name needs to be changed in the future it can easily be done. There are several things that must be written on each folder:

Box#   File#   MS-#   Collection Name   Folder Title   Span Dates

Box#: the number of the physical box that houses the folder. (This could simply be Box# 1 if the collection is small, such as the Gresham Correspondence Collection)

File#: this number corresponds with where the folder falls within the box.

MS-#: MS stands for Manuscript and is a unique number given to the collection.

Collection Name: the collection name is the same for every folder in every box within the collection. For example, all folders within the Gresham Correspondence Collection will have a collection name of Gresham Correspondence Collection.

Folder Title: this is an identifier to let researchers know what is held within a particular folder. For example, with one of the May Sarton letters in the Gresham Correspondence Collection I would write May Sarton, letter.

Span Dates: this can either be one particular date; in the case of the Gresham Correspondence Collection a span date for a May Sarton letter would be the date written on the letter. Span dates can also literally be a span of dates; if I had placed all of the May Sarton letters within one folder I would write a span date of 1959-1960.

I was not able to write the Box# and File# on each of the files in the Gresham Correspondence Collection. I questioned Lynda about why I should not write the Box# as 1 on all of the folders due to the collection being small enough to only be housed within one box. Her response was that you never know what can happen when you are organizing the folders within a collection. You may begin to organize the folders and think that certain documents are unique enough to merit being put in a separate box. Going back and erasing a single digit does not seem like a lot of work, but when you have many folders and the knowledge that a multitude of other potential collections are awaiting your attention you realize that each extra minute you spend on a collection is precious time wasted.

On a side note, I will only be working in the archives room for two more weeks (4 days). I have really enjoyed my time with Lynda and Betty and the vast knowledge they have to share with me. I am certain my last 4 days with them will amount to many more interesting, exciting, and knowledgeable discussions!

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