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History Committee Plan for Preserving Meeting Records

History Committee

5th Month, 19, 2013

Planning for preserving Meeting records and other significant documents

 

Acting on the concern of Marguerite Kearns (past resident and recording clerk), a meeting was arranged with the convener of the history committee/Meeting archivist to discuss the need to preserve the Meeting’s primary and significant records, and other archival worthy documents, e.g. photographs. Planning for creating the Meeting’s digital records archives is thus in the formative stage and the committee requests Meeting’s comments before moving forward.

Earlier archiving. The Meeting has already photographed and catalogued what is called “The Olive Rush Archives”. These holdings include Olive’s paintings, sketches, notes, letters, exhibition records and photographs. They came from either residual items when her bequest came into effect in August, 1966, or from donations by individuals in subsequent years following Olive’s death. Both original and duplicate records are kept in the meetinghouse as a combination of paper and CD items produced by Kate Pope in 2006 while interned at the Museums of New Mexico.

Nature of records to be archived. The categories of the Meeting’s records are varied but straightforward.

Business meeting records are in various formats from the initial formation of the Meeting in May, 1948, to the present. From the beginning to mid-1970, the business meeting minutes were either handwritten into legal size ledgers or typed manuscripts inserted into the large ledger books. These would be scanned or, less stressful to the ledgers, photographed into digital files.

The later business meeting minutes are in paper newsletters to about 2006. Subsequently, and to the present, “Letter to Friends” newsletters, including Meeting minutes, became primarily distributed by e-mail and are already digitized. However, the latter files need to collected and checked for continuity as well as conformity to file format selected for the central archives.

Other Meeting-wide records are reports from committees, threshing sessions, construction and building maintenance projects, treasurers’ reports and bank statements, and sporadic collected clerks’ correspondence. We have random newspaper clippings related to Meeting and members’ appearances in The New Mexican. We also have visitors’ books for both the Meeting and the guest apartment.

Individual members and attenders’ records include membership forms, letters of application for membership and letters requesting release from membership, weddings, letters of conscience, birth announcements, travelling minutes, memorial minutes and obituaries. A policy on access to personal records would be developed.

Process and destination. The technical process of digitizing this array of Meeting records is yet to be determined.

The top end of the range is to contract with a company which would either receive the records at their facility or bring appropriate equipment to the meetinghouse to process the records in a turnkey manner. At the other end is to do the digitizing within the talent of the Meeting, using members’ equipment (scanner, camera, and computer).

The latter procedure could reflect how we created The Olive Rush Archives, using an intern/college student level person to do the work at the meetinghouse under direction of the history committee members.

We have conducted a preliminary, quick investigation of where our records could be stored. We have discovered that four historic Friends colleges have established sections of their special collections devoted to Quaker history, including records from yearly and monthly meetings. These include Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Earlham.

Decisions to be taken. We believe four main decisions areas are needed by the Meeting before proceeding:

(1) Whether or not to move forward with archiving our records;

(2) Deciding on how to fund the project;

(3) Determining which depository should receive a digital copy of the records;

(4) Determining if the original records will be moved out of the Meeting to the selected depository with a digital copy and how many digital copies will be retained in Santa Fe and their locations.

 

Submitted by Marguerite Kearns and David Giltrow

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