Summer 2018 Internship

My name is Brianna McLaughlin and this summer I interned at the Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology- James Kellar Library. To give you a little background about myself, I graduated from the University of Evansville in 2014 with a degree in History and Archaeology. I’m currently working on my Masters of Library Science with a specialization in Archives. During my undergraduate degree, I learned pretty quickly that even though I love archaeology as a discipline, field archaeology wasn’t for me. Alternatively, an opportunity to use my knowledge of archaeology in an archives space was absolutely what I wanted.

I started the summer compiling an inventory of the associated documents for the archaeological artifacts housed downstairs. I went through about 16 cabinets full of boxes and recorded what information they contained as well as if anything required archival boxes. Even as I was creating this inventory, staff members were asking me questions about my findings and using the document. It was clear that what I was creating was of immediate importance to the Glenn Black Lab. I’ve known many students who have had internships in which they were not entrusted with projects that would make a difference to the institution, so I’m grateful that I was able to contribute.

The project that lasted for the remainder of the summer was accessioning and processing the papers of the institution’s namesake, Glenn Black. I began with about 15 boxes of various sizes of paper materials, most of which had been organized by Glenn Black, and some that hadn’t been organized at all. I also had about a dozen three dimensional items that were in an exhibit at the beginning of the summer. I started my first pass to see what I was dealing with. A large portion of Black’s papers were reference materials that he used for classes, lectures, and publications. He had many copies of each, so I was able to discard all but the original and the best copy. Just this process significantly minimized the collection. I also discarded and replaced the onion paper dividers between images. At this point, I began organizing the collection. I maintained Black’s organization to the greatest extent possible, even those that made me cringe such as arranging documents chronologically with the most recent at the front of the folder. I determined that there were 11 series within the collection, and thus began refoldering everything, making sure none of the folders became thicker than ¼ inch and each archival box was not too full. By the end of this process, I had 24 uniformly sized Hollinger boxes full of folders. Finally, it was time to write a finding aid. Unfortunately, I only had a week left at this point and therefore didn’t have time to learn EAD and create a finding aid using the software. Instead, I created a word document formatted like the finding aids on Archives Online that could be easily converted to EAD. After creating labels for the 24 boxes, the Glenn Black Papers are officially available for perusal.

I feel incredibly lucky that I can have my name on one of the most important archival collections held at this institution. Being able to list the Glenn Black Papers on my CV will be beneficial when I graduate and begin my job hunt, and the skills I practiced throughout the process will undoubtedly help me in my career field.

Bri standing with archival boxes
Bri McLaughlin with the finished Glenn A. Black MSS.

“We Cry for Pie”

November 13, 2017

by Lydia Lutz, Intern, ILS student

It seems like Thanksgiving will be here in the blink of an eye. Several thoughts may linger in your head this November: How hard should I really study for my finals? When should I start Christmas shopping? Can I bring out my winter wardrobe now? How can I participate in Native American Heritage Month? Probably the loudest thought is in regards to your Thanksgiving dinner: What will I eat?

Personally, one of my all-time favorite dishes at Thanksgiving were my Mamaw’s pies. She made the best pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple, cherry, coconut, etc.). Whilst pining for one of her pies, I came across an article about American food culture from 1866. The article is called “Concerning Restaurants,” and it appears in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 32.

The author of the article, C. W. Gesner, mainly wished to discuss the restaurant scene in New York during the year 1866. Before discussing the latest roast beef trend, however, Gesner proceeds to rant about the American diet, specifically pies. Here are some things the author had to say:

We cry for pie when we are infants. Pie in countless varieties, waits upon us through life. Pie kills us finally…How can a person with a pound of green apples and fat dough in his stomach feel at ease? (Gesner, 1866, p. 592).

Gesner also comments that Americans are “the most unwholesome feeders in the world” (p. 591). Naturally, it isn’t news that America’s obesity rates have only increased, and it also isn’t news that the stereotypical family has Thanksgiving dinners that encourage overeating. What is interesting is how the media makes this out to be a new trend in our society, but I digress.

It is not my intention to make a big deal about our society’s diet trends. I simply thought it a hilarious coincidence to find an article about how abhorrent pies are this close to Thanksgiving. I am not asking you to give up pies in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I hope that you are able to indulge in pie of your choosing this year, whether it be fruity, meaty, fatty, healthy, or even gluten-free…just don’t eat too much.

Resources
Gesner, C.W. (1866, April). Concerning Restaurants in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 32, 591-593. New York: Harper and Brothers.

Representation of Cats

November 1, 2017

by Lydia Lutz, Intern, ILS student

As a librarian it is often hard to resist bringing cats into my work, whether through the sharing of images or through speech. Sadly, I missed National Cat Day, which was on October 29th. Finally, a day when I could have droned on about cats shamelessly and I missed it. However, after finding an interesting book at the Glenn Black Lab, I have reason to discuss cats today.

Cover of bulletin displaying title
Cover of “The Domestic Cat” by Edward Howe Forbush (State Ornithologist) from The Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture – Economic Biology – Bulletin No. 2

It all started when I was perusing the stacks in the James H. Kellar Library. I found the usual suspects: books on archaeology, Native American art, and anthropology research. To my surprise, I found a book titled The Domestic Cat by Edward Howe Forbush.

The beginning pages contained pictures of happy kittens and cat-owner anecdotes. It was heavenly. There was even a relatable comment which suggested that cat owners should simply accept their fate as slaves of their felines and thus bring about peace and their affection (Forbush, 1916, p. 17).

Frontispiece showing cute kittens
Frontispiece: “The Innocents. (From ‘Our Dumb Animals.’) Thousands of kittens are abandoned yearly on country roads or in the woods. This is cruel and unlawful.”

However, the material soon turned dark.

Disturbing is not a word which can describe the black veil that fell over the following pages. The rest of the book depicted photographs of dead cats which had been strung up by their feet, stories of the insidious and evil cat breed, and statistics that revealed a prevalent dislike of cats (p. 20).

Illustration of a cat killing a bird
Illustration from page 53.

I understand that the main point of the book was to discuss how domestic cats affect other wildlife, specifically birds, but was it really necessary to produce such a cruel atmosphere?

After reading the small book I began to ponder how the image of the cat has changed in our society. How did we go from cats as relatively wild pets to commenting giddily on their “kitty beans?” When did “the cat” become “Mr. Snuggles?” Why is the majority of America glued to cat videos on YouTube? Is it because our economy has strengthened since the publication of this work in 1916? The presence of luxurious free time has certainly increased over the past 101 years. Animal rights laws have become more prominent and enforceable, as well. Perhaps it is a combination of all these aspects which has transformed the general population’s view of the purring, chunky balls of fluff. I honestly do not know the answers to these questions, but I am thankful that the reputation of the cat has evolved because I don’t know what I would do without mine.

Resources
Forbush, E. H. (1916). The Domestic Cat. Boston: Wright and Potter Printing Co., State Printers.