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Tag Archives: Archives

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Emily Hunter hard at work in University Special Collections

By Emily Hunter, M.A. Student, Department of History

This summer, with support from a Charles K. Hyde internship scholarship, I have been interning at the Special Collections and University Archives of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst. My major project has been processing and creating a finding aid for the papers of the Diana Mara Henry Collection. Born in 1948, Henry is a photojournalist best known for her documentation of sociopolitical activism of the late 1960s to the early 1980s. With her camera and pen, she followed the 1972 and 1976 Democratic presidential campaigns (McGovern and Carter campaigns), served as the official photographer for the President’s Commission on International Women’s Year and the First National Women’s Conference, and photographed the activities of a variety of well-known politicians and activists, including Shirley Chisholm, Al Lowenstein, Elizabeth Holtzman, Liz Carpenter, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Jane Fonda, and Eugene McCarthy. Additionally, Henry captured images of the political demonstrations of organizations such as Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and the Women’s Pentagon Action Committee. Henry also photographed the New York City fashion scene in the 1970s and, in the decades to follow, pursued work as a photography instructor, arts administrator, newspaper journalist, and independent scholar and researcher. Her photojournalism has appeared in a wide array of publications, including Time and New York Magazine and in collections at the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and the Schlesinger Library at Harvard.

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By Margo Shea, Alumna, Department of History

Margo Shea completed an M.A. in Public History in 2005 and a Ph.D. in History in 2010 (both from UMass Amherst), with specializations in public history and memory, Irish history and Urban history. She is currently an assistant professor in the History Department at Salem State University, in Salem, Massachusetts. Shea is currently revising her doctoral dissertation, “Once Again it Happens: Collective Memory and Irish Identity in Derry, (Northern) Ireland 1896-2008,” for publication.


“Return to Sender” originally appeared on Shea’s personal blog. See Shea’s blog here.

On Tuesday, May 6th, Boston College’s Director of Public Affairs, Jack Dunn, announced that “The Belfast Project” oral history initiative would honor all requests from participants to return recordings and transcripts of interviews not currently in use as evidence in the murder investigation of Jean McConville, a Belfast widow abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972. The college will keep no copies. The information in the interviews will remain known only to the interviewers, a few Boston College employees, and William Young — a federal district court judge who read the transcripts to determine which ones should be delivered to Northern Irish authorities under a treaty governing exchanges of information between nations for the purposes of law enforcement. Read More

Debris of Cologne City Archives. Courtesy of © Superbass / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons).

By Erica Fagen, Ph.D. student, Department of History

This past June, I participated in the German Historical Institute’s Archival Summer Seminar for graduate students. Along with nine other doctoral students from the United States and Canada, I visited archives in Speyer, Koblenz, Cologne and Munich. (For a full report on the trip, click here). During this trip, we learned how to read old German script, visited the Federal Archives in Koblenz, and saw the digitization project of the State Library in Munich. One of the most interesting parts of our trip was the Restoration and Digitization Center of the Cologne Historical Archive. This Center serves as the temporary home of the city archives of Cologne; the original building collapsed in 2009 with thousands of documents destroyed or severely damaged.

During our visit to the restoration center, we heard a presentation by one of the Center’s archivists who described the history of the archive and more details about its collapse. We learned that the restoration for this archive’s collection would span more than twenty years. Following this, we received a tour of the facilities by a preservation specialist. We saw how documents were frozen to prevent the growth of mold. We also watched archival technicians clean damaged documents. The documents were separated into different rooms depending on the severity of their damage. Though we left the Center on a sad note, it did make us think about how archives deal with disastrous events. Read More