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A Diary Finds Its Way Home
The acquisitive inclination of librarians is well known, but
sometimes we resist this impulse and direct potential donors of
unique items to more appropriate library collections. It is always
a pleasure to reunite a manuscript that is effectively "lost"
or unknown with complementary collections in another library.
Just such a case occurred last year when Catharine Cary, who has
a long-standing association with the Library and the College,
came to me with a diary signed by Malcolm Anderson and dated 1907
with the notation "volume 4." The diary had been owned by Catharine's
mother, Anna Cox Brinton, a prominent classicist and writer on
Quakerism, but nothing was known about Malcolm Anderson or how
his diary came into her possession. The story of how the diary
traveled from Haverford College to its new home at Stanford University
is an interesting one.
Even before searching for information about Malcolm Anderson,
I read the diary. It detailed Anderson's trip to China and his
work collecting animal samples in remote villages and outposts.
Anderson was a careful diarist and discussed in some detail his
encounters with the villagers and other travelers whom he met
along his journey. Despite the differences in place name spellings
between then and now and Anderson's sometimes imprecise transliteration,
it was possible to plot the progress of his journey on a present-day
map of the area. The diary, however, had only two internal clues
about Anderson's life: references to his brother, Robert, and
mention of the San Francisco earthquake which had occurred only
a year before.
A check of standard reference tools turned up a reference to
Malcolm Playfair Anderson. In an early edition of American Men
of Science, Anderson is described as a zoologist and zoological
explorer. Further research showed that he was born in 1879 in
Irvington, Indiana and died in 1919. He was a 1904 graduate of
Stanford University and traveled on collecting expeditions in
North America and Asia. Between 1904 and 1908, he was on a zoological
expedition in East Asia for the London Zoological Society and
was known to be an expert on mammals of eastern Asia. This information
was a perfect fit with the diary.
However, there were still unanswered questions. How had Catharine
Cary's mother acquired the diary? If this was volume 4 as the
notation indicated, where were the first three volumes of Anderson's
diaries? Were there collections of Anderson papers at other libraries,
perhaps at his alma mater, Stanford University?
A quick check of the National Union Catalogue of Manuscripts
revealed that Stanford does indeed own an Anderson family collection
consisting of approximately 45,000 items relating to Malcolm Anderson,
his father, uncle, and brother. Malcolm's father, Melville Best
Anderson (1851-1933), was a literature professor at Stanford and
a noted Dante scholar. His uncle was a translator, and his brother,
Robert Anderson (1884-1949), was a prominent petroleum geologist.
Most intriguing of all, I discovered that Stanford owned Malcolm
Anderson's earlier diaries (volumes 1-3) which covered his travels
in Japan and Korea.
How Anna Cox Brinton acquired the diary remains a mystery. She
graduated from Stanford University in 1908 with a major in Latin
and received her doctorate in archaeology there in 1917. It is
possible, even likely, that she knew Melville Best Anderson, Malcolm's
father, through her Latin studies at Stanford. It is also possible
that she knew Malcolm Anderson himself or perhaps his younger
brother, who also attended Stanford.
When I presented the above information to Catharine Cary, she
decided to reunite the 1907 diary with Anderson's other diaries.
Stanford University was pleased to accept this important addition
to its collection. As Margaret J. Kimball, Head of Special Collections
at Stanford, wrote to Catharine Cary, "One feels the notebook
had been on its own journey all these years and has now finally
found its way home."
Michael S. Freeman
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- Rachel Beckwith, Executive Library Assistant and a graduate
student in Art History at Bryn Mawr, presented her paper, "Haverford
College's Thirteenth-Century Hebrew Bible: A Case Study in Manuscript
Attribution," at the Twenty-Fourth Saint Louis Conference on
Manuscript Studies on Friday, October 10. Rachel had written
this paper for one of her courses at Bryn Mawr last year (see
Newsletter, no. 20)
and was invited to present it at this conference at St. Louis
University. The paper was well-received, and Rachel was glad
to have an opportunity to increase scholarly awareness and appreciation
of one of Haverford's treasures.
- In April, Margaret Schaus, Reference Librarian, presented
an electronic workshop session on the Medieval Feminist Index
at the Medieval Academy Annual Meeting in Toronto. Margaret
is the founding editor and coordinator of the Index, a cooperative
project by librarians and scholars to index journal articles,
essays in books, and book reviews about women, sexuality, and
gender during the Middle Ages (see Newsletter, no.
20). The Index is available on the Web at http://www.haverford.edu/library/reference/mschaus/mfi/mfi.html.
She followed her appearance in Toronto with an encore presentation
at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, an event
which attracts thousands of medievalists to Kalamazoo, Michigan,
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Preservation: Alumni Give Themselves to the Cause
It was one of those serendipitous moments when a need, an idea,
the right people and the right set of circumstances converged
to instigate a happy solution to a problem. In 1994, the Baltimore
Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (BYM) sent
some of its records to Haverford's Special Collections. As the
repository of the records of nearby Yearly Meetings, we were glad
to receive this latest set of materials. When we opened the boxes,
we were excited to discover a number of important documents including
one signed by Abraham Lincoln.
BUT...we also discovered some mold. A common occurrence on old
paper which has been stored in humid conditions (and anyone who
has weathered a Baltimore summer knows that "Baltimore summer"
and "humid" are synonymous!), mold strikes terror in the hearts
of archivists. Infectious and pernicious, mold can reek epidemic
havoc in collections if left unchecked. So the Baltimore Yearly
Meeting boxes were quarantined, and the slow, careful process
of cleaning them was begun. Protected by dust masks, library workers
began dusting and vacuuming each piece of paper. The project was
in its third year and progressing slowly, when a conversation
between Arnold Ricks, '45, Jay Worrall, '37, and several friends
at the annual meeting of the Friends General Conference (the umbrella
organization that links Friends yearly meetings) led to a great
idea: why not have teams of Baltimore Yearly Meeting members come
to the College for a week at a time and assist with this project?
Baltimore Yearly Meeting would send representatives familiar with
the affairs of the yearly meeting so that while they did the necessary
brushing and vacuuming, they could also make decisions about the
relative importance of each piece and help prioritize the order
In August, the first team arrived on campus. The College Alumni
Office assisted in locating housing, and Arnold Ricks, Jay Worrall
(author of The Friendly Virginians, a history of Quakers in Virginia),
and Jay's grandsons, Daniel and Michael Worrall, spent a week
dusting and vacuuming and rediscovering BYM history by day and
playing ferocious games of gin rummy by night. By the end of the
week, a significant dent had been made in the daunting task of
the BYM records preservation -- the convergence of a need, an
idea and the right set of people.
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Evans Finding Aid Project: The Next Step
This past July I attended the Rare Book School at the University
of Virginia where seminars on such topics as "How to Research
a Rare Book," "Book Illustration to 1890," and "Lithography in
the Age of the Hand Press" are offered each summer. The seminar
that I attended, however, was of a different nature altogether.
Entitled, "Implementing Encoded Archival Description," it presented
a focused introduction to the application of a new standard for
encoding electronic versions of archive and manuscript finding
aids. I attended this seminar in order to learn about Encoded
Archival Description as a potential tool for Magill Library's
Evans Finding Aid Project.
You may remember reading about the Evans Finding Aid Project
in past newsletters (see Newsletter, nos.
20 and 21).
This project was started in the fall of 1996 with the goal of
making the finding aids to the large collections of family, personal,
and institutional papers that are housed in the Special Collections
Department more accessible to the public. There are now forty-six
finding aids on the web, and we have had a wonderful response
to the website (http://www.haverford.edu/library/special/aids/).
In the month of June alone, the site was accessed 289 times by
people outside of the three college campuses. As existing technologies
change and new ones emerge, we are eager to explore ways in which
we can make this site even more useful to scholars.
Encoded Archival Description (EAD) is a new development which
offers exciting possibilities for the future of our finding aids
website. Developed by archivists specifically for electronic finding
aids, EAD is similar to but much more complex than HTML, the encoding
standard currently used to make our finding aids available for
viewing on the World Wide Web. HTML consists of codes which indicate
how the text of a web page should appear on the computer screen.
With EAD, each part of a finding aid is precisely defined and
tagged to denote its place within the structure of the finding
aid. This more specialized encoding enables users to do sophisticated
searching within a finding aid or across a group of finding aids
-- something which is not possible with the current HTML-encoded
finding aids. Consistent application of EAD by archivists across
the country will allow scholars to search the finding aids of
different archives in much the same way they now search the online
catalogs of different libraries.
In the past, the Rare Book School has provided Haverford Library
staff with invaluable training in the cataloging, handling, and
preservation of rare and important historical materials. As my
experience this summer illustrates, it continues to be a valuable
source of training and information as we seek new ways to apply
the technology of the present to the task of preserving and accessing
the materials of the past.
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Library Associates Programs
The last Library Associates Program of 1997 will take place on
Sunday, November 23. Our guest speaker will be Colin Harrison,
'82, who will give a talk entitled "Notes From the Writer's Trade."
Harrison, an associate editor for HARPER'S Magazine, is the author
of three well-received novels. The program begins at 2pm in Chase
Auditorium and is followed by a reception in the Philips Wing
of Magill Library. After the reception, you are also invited to
attend the opening of the Library's Maxfield Parrish exhibition
at 3:30 pm in Special Collections. Speakers at this event include
John Chesick, Professor of Chemistry, who will talk about Parrish's
undergraduate chemistry laboratory notebook (see Newsletter, no.
19) from the point of view of a teaching faculty member.
The schedule of events for the 1998 Library Associates Program
is now complete. All events (except the visit to Van Pelt Library
on June 6) are at 2pm in Chase Auditorium. Look for more detailed
program information in the January Library Associates mailing.
- Emma Lapsansky, Professor of History at Haverford College
and Curator of the Quaker Collection.
- Laurence Eisenlohr, '79, Associate Professor of Immunology
at Thomas Jefferson University and a researcher at the Kimmel
- Visit to the Special Collections Department at Van Pelt Library,
University of Pennsylvania (limited to 25 Library Associates
- Steven Lubar, Curator, Smithsonsian Institution, Washington,
- Peter Conn, Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania.
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