An Epic Summer: 2013

Another summer is coming to a close, and, once again, SCPC has had the benefit of a variety of summer interns and student employees hard at work.

Among these was the recipient of our annual Moore Internship, which goes to a student from an out-of-state archival education program. This internship, generously provided for by the Yvonne L. and Schuyler Moore Internship Endowment, has been of great benefit to SCPC. Each year, we select an intern and lead them through one or more projects—usually a main project involving processing or digitization, but at times helping with inventories of new material or setting up exhibits. This year, Karli Mair, of Syracuse University, worked on the papers of Columbia City Councilman Luther Battiste, as well as on other small projects during her time with us.

students working in the summer of 2013

Karli (foreground), Danielle and Ana, and Cody working on a variety of projects one day this summer

Although the goal of the internship is to provide a learning experience for a potential future archivist, we profit just as much from the internship. The most obvious benefit is the quality archival work accomplished by the intern. However, we also enjoy the opportunity to see ourselves, and the rest of University Libraries, through the eyes of a newcomer. We set up various tours, and the other divisions of the Libraries have always kindly welcomed us. We like to go along, too, because we always learn something new! Among our favorite spots have been the Library Annex and the South Caroliniana Library. Karli’s archival interests included old visual formats like daguerreotypes, and SCL’s Visual Materials archivist Beth Bilderback graciously gave her an up-close look at some of the formats in SCL’s holdings. Annex assistant manager Jamie Heiting also provided an informative and fun tour, which included a ride to the top of “The Box” for a bird’s eye view of all the items housed there.

Caitlin at her desk

Caitlin in her cubicle surrounded by the papers of Rita Derrick Hayes

This month, we said goodbye to graduate student assistants Caitlin Mans and Cody Willis. Caitlin spent two years with us and recently graduated with her MA in Public History with a focus on museums. Among her major projects, she curated an SCPC Gallery exhibit earlier this year and an online exhibit (not yet live) on political biographies, focusing on the research and writings of Phil Grose and Jack Bass; helped us with our exhibit gallery redesign that will be carried out in 2014 and assisted with other gallery tasks such as installing and refreshing exhibits; and processed part or all of the papers of Phil Grose, Alex Harvin, and Rita Derrick Hayes, and the SC Democratic Party Records.

Cody in the stacks

Cody expertly working our compact shelving in the stacks.

Cody spent a little over a year with us and recently graduated with his MLIS. We returned from lunch today to find him waiting with good news (we hadn’t seen him in a couple weeks). He is the new Audio-visual Archivist and Reference Librarian at Winthrop University’s Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections!! For a supervisor, it doesn’t get any better than hearing a former student has a full-time job in his chosen field! Cody’s major projects included adding finding aids to Archivists’ Toolkit (a software program that allows Encoded Archival Description), pre-processing the Sanford Papers and organization of Sanford AV, and processing the Kate Salley Palmer Papers, the Wanda Forbes Papers, and the administrative series of the Spratt Papers.

Finally, summer 2013 at SCPC was also enlivened by student assistants Ana Garcia and Danielle Long and intern Drew Hamilton. Ana and Danielle, undergraduate students from Agnes Scott College and Spelman College, respectively, cheerfully handled any tasks we threw at them. They refoldered collections, looked for items for an exhibit, processed two small series of the John Spratt and Mark Sanford collections, sorted clippings, cleaned exhibit cases, and even learned to use a fire extinguisher! Drew, an undergrad in a Public History internship course here at USC, navigated the complexities of the Catawba Land Claim Files of the Spratt Papers. He sorted materials and drafted descriptive language that will become part of the Spratt finding aid when the collection opens. Drew managed to escape us before we could snap a picture, but trust us, he was always hard at work.

It’s fun to see our students learn and to help them gain experience in archival work. It’s also fun to attend professional conferences, such as we did last week, and to see former student employees who are now valued colleagues in the field.

Laura, Dorothy, Debbie and Lori reunite at SAA 2013 in New Orleans

L-R: Laura (2010-2013, now at TAMU-Commerce), Dorothy, Debbie (2008-2010, now at Baylor) and Lori reunited in the exhibit hall last week at the Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting in New Orleans

To all the student employees of SCPC, past and present, we owe a resounding thank you.  We couldn’t do what we do without you!

–contributed by Dorothy Walker and Lori Schwartz

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