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Archive for the 'special collections' Category

The Perennial Parking Problem

January 8th, 2015 by John Jackson

Commencement parking

Commencement Parking, 1963

With new renovations coming to the Science center and temporary classrooms going up in the Amphitheater lot, parking on campus these days can be somewhat of a trial. Turns out, this isn’t the first time Whittier College parking culture has been challenged by new construction and new regulations.

Archivist Becky Ruud reminds us that back in 1991, the Air Quality Management District asked the college to reduce the number of vehicles on campus and create more designated spots for staff, faculty, and students. Students in 1988 probably felt a similar squeeze during the construction of Harris when the Whittier City Planning Commission allowed the college to temporarily bypass an ordinance that required one parking lot for every bed on campus. In fact, according to the Quaker Campus, parking is a perennial problem. Students voiced their concerns repeatedly in front page articles (see these issues from 200619931988, and 1983).

All that said, Whittier College has successfully navigated the limited parking trials of its past. Undoubtedly, we can make it through this one as well.

image source: Whittier College Special Collections & Archives

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New discoveries in the Wardman Library archives

March 31st, 2014 by John Jackson

drawers

Today’s guest-post was written by Whittier College senior Alejandra Gaeta, who has been interning with our Special Collections librarian, Becky Ruud, since January. Be sure to check out the gallery of images below.

First there is a feeling of horror when you find something old-looking shoved in the back of a file cabinet, hidden behind neatly organized hanging file folders. However, that is quickly overcome by curiosity as to what this discovery entails. This is exactly what happened the day that Becky opened up the bottom drawer of the last row of file cabinets two weeks ago. We looked at each other, wide-eyed with panic and surprise because even just looking at the crumpled papers hiding behind the neat rows of labeled folders; we could both tell that these papers were at least a few decades old. As quickly as we could, we pulled out these mystery documents, some frayed edges catching at each other. We sat on the floor and started looking through the substantial piles we each had made; they were letters (for the most part). Looking at the date written in wonderfully scribbled penmanship in the upper right hand corner of the first letter, I was not totally surprised to find the date as 1853. Becky and I marveled at the beautiful cursive handwriting of some letters and then laughed at the less than legible handwriting of others.

It was ultimately the names written on many of the envelopes that revealed to us how this collection of letters was the family correspondence of the Johnsons of East Weare, New Hampshire. Interestingly enough, there were quite a few receipts made out to his daughter, Caroline C. Johnson, revealing that she really enjoyed shopping. Two of the women in the family happened to be schoolteachers as some of the papers looked to be schoolwork, a short story and even some complicated mathematical work done without the modern convenience of a calculator. There was also what looked like a completely different collection that seemed to all relate to a family genealogy of the Baileys. All of these documents were an unexpected find and as such, I was given the great task of processing them to add them into the rest of the archive. As I was looking into the family that the correspondence belonged to, I found that matriarch of the family was actually a cousin of John Greenleaf Whittier’s. The other collection relating to the Bailey genealogy turned out to be the work of a man named G.L. Bailey who was looking into other family histories as well. The genealogy that is written out by Mr. Bailey himself includes the Bailey couple, Jonathan and Rebecca Bailey who happen to be a couple from the group of Quakers that founded the city of Whittier.

What was all this doing in this neglected file cabinet? We may never know, but the discovery of this small collection is still a great experience. The process of trying to make sense of these documents has not been easy either. However, I feel that the task of discovering each new piece of information about these people was exciting, like fitting a new piece of a puzzle together so that at the end you can see the full picture, or most of it at least.

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Quaker Campus Feature Story

November 3rd, 2011 by libuser

The recent edition of the Quaker Campus highlights some of our spectacular staff and collections. Check out the full article about the Archives & Special Collections at Wardman Library to learn more. http://www.quakercampus.com/content/special-collection-wardman-library

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