The League of Women Voters: An Exhibition at Indiana University’s Lilly Library by Andreah Grove
This past semester, I was able to embark on something I think a lot of students wish they could, but just don’t have the time for anymore-I was a researcher. This was possible through my program, Information and Library Science, and the course, Manuscripts. The final project was a one-case exhibition with a topic and usage of the manuscript collection(s) of my choosing at the Lilly Library.
The Lilly Library is a jewel among archives, and it houses about 7.5 million manuscripts. One of the reference librarians helped me narrow down my choice to the League of Women Voters (LWV) collection. This collection is currently 6,500 items and encompasses correspondence, financial statements, meeting minutes, newsletters, photographs, League publications, flyers, etc. of the LWV of Bloomington and Monroe County, Indiana.
Once I started going through the first box of eight, I noticed 100 years had passed since the first meeting. My proposal for a 100 year celebration theme for my exhibition was accepted. I spent about six hours per week for four months going through the boxes and noting historical events, changes and development within the league, and possible items for my exhibition. My biggest challenge was to narrow down my items to fit in the case.
Through my selected items I tried to tell a story, but I also aspired to grab the variety of visitors that would view my exhibition. I was lucky enough to work with the Conservator on installation, and he helped me with the aesthetics of mounting specific items. The exhibition was up for about two weeks. It was one of the most challenging and enjoyable experiences of my graduate work. I can’t imagine putting together a gallery of cases.
However, luck has struck me twice. I’m very excited to announce that this semester (Spring 2015) I will be continuing my coursework with my Manuscripts professor through an independent study. I will be processing Edith Grossman’s papers for the Lilly Library. Ms. Grossman is known as one of the most important Latin American fiction translators of today. Her translation of Don Quixote is considered one of the finest English translations of the novel. She has also translated Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s works, including Love in the Time of Cholera. I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunities my library science program has afforded me at Indiana University.