Documenting COVID-19

I and most archivists have been and continue to document  COVID-19 via its effect and responses to it from our institutions, our state, our organizations, and nationally. I'm documenting our response and the effect at CMU, in Mount Pleasant, and in my county, Clare. COVID-19 is documented in the news, online, on FB and other social media sites, and by other means. I don't have the resources to document it all and that is not in our collecting policy.

Nationally, archivists are documenting COVID-19 responses, some nationally, regionally, institutionally, or in their organizations. Some are documenting websites, others oral histories or stories, some online news stories. I'm documenting the institutional response at CMU in general and in the Libraries. This includes emails and news. I've asked students to consider sharing their thoughts in emails about the impact COVID-19 is having on their academic, work, and social lives and living situations. I know our oral historian…

April's 1=April Fool's Day

Today I'm blogging from my office in the Clarke. Ha, ha. It's April Fool's Day. I'm actually telecommuting from home. While there is not much to laugh about these days, I hope you enjoy the spring weather, the people you are sheltering in place with, and your pets, if you have them.

So April Fool's in the archives. There are no written manuscripts discussing April Fool's Day in the Clarke. But in the Clarke's stereographs collection, 1870-1900, there are stereographs with children as subjects, 1870-1900. The children posed with various props, as characters in children's stories, and in an April Fool's Day setting.

While I cannot access that particular stereograph while sheltering in place, I present for your viewing pleasure a stereograph of a circus parade in Kalamazoo, in case you wonder what a stereograph looks like. Two images are next to each other on board, taken at slightly different angles by the photographer, so when you see it through a vi…

Manuscript collections documenting contagious disease in the Clarke

A lot of comparisons of COVID-19 with the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 are in the news, but there have been other contagious disease over time. Besides books and government records, here are Clarke manuscripts documenting other contagious diseases.  
Cholera-7 collections ex. David L. Porter Letter 1829-1832 Dr. Porter moved from NY state to Pontiac and his 13 letters, in 1 folder, describe his 1829 move, setting up his practice, cholera, ague, among other topics.
diphtheria -1 collection: Ex. Michigan. State Board of Health. Medical publications collections, 1868, 1958, and undated. 1.25 cu.ft. (in 2 boxes) includes many publications and booklets on preventing infectious and communicable diseases and women's health. Specific diseases included: diphtheria, whooping cough, cholera, pneumonia, typhoid, smallpox and syphilis.
measles - 3 collections. Ex. John Ryan, Reminiscence, 1905, 1 folder. Ryan served in Co. D, Second Illinois Cavalry during the Civil War. In 1905 he wrote down…

telecommuting week 3

Tues of this week, March 31, the last day of the month, marks my third week of telecommuting. I am now settled in my work space. After working at our dining room table for a week, I converted space into our storage/filing room into my office space. I am very fortunate to have this space and to be able to use it now. It includes a printer/scanner, and a window. we have internet, although we have to stay near the window and sometimes our cell phone connections just drop. That how internet is in more rural locations. The space is working nicely for me. 

A webinar I just took suggested that whatever space you have to work in, you should try to make it as positive  and functional for you as possible. This will help you to function and feel better. I filled mine with spaniel dog art that I received for my birthday. I'm glad I brought my favorite mug home to wash because it is here as well. There are a few things that aren't mine, like all the CDs, but I am fortunate to have such a …

I prefer to read and archive challenging historical times rather than experience it!

Yesterday the first of our daffodils bloomed. How lovely the promise of spring is and the hopeful message it brings. Hope is so important now as we are all suddenly experiencing a very difficult, unprecedented, challenging time in history. I have a whole new level of appreciation for those who wrote primary sources in the midst of war, pandemics, and other massive social upheavals, especially those who maintained their hope, faith, compassion, and sanity.

Here are some of my work-related thoughts during this challenging time in history: 
1. Good, reliable internet connectivity needs to be available to everyone now for us to function well nationally:
We live in Clare, a rural community, which has poor internet access. In Michigan north of Lansing access is mostly limited and intermittent. Lots of people including many teachers, K-12 and college students are struggling due to lack of laptops and internet access. Last week my husband and I worked on the main level of our house near th…

National Film Preservation Foundation grant deadline extended to May 1

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the NFPF has decided to postpone both the registration and application deadlines for our 2020 Federal Grant cycle. Please note the new dates below. If you have already registered for this year's grant round, please proceed with preparing your proposal. If possible, we encourage you to submit it early.

Friday, May 8th is the new registration deadline for the National Film Preservation Foundation's federally funded grant program, made possible by the Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2016.

The NFPF offers two types of federal cash grants that support the preservation of historically and culturally significant American films. Completed applications are now due by Friday, June 12th.

Basic Preservation Grants fund laboratory work to create preservation masters and access copies, and are open to nonprofit and public institutions in the United States that provide public access to their film collections. …

Archives Workers Emergency Fund

The Archives Workers Emergency Fund (AWEF) is organizing support and mutual aid for contingent archival workers who may be affected by COVID-19, have limited workplace protections or sick time, and may suffer the loss of hours and income as institutions close, reduce hours, and move to remote work in response to the spread of the virus. For more information about this and resources available to help archivists during Covid and Covid information, see the new blog