Last month I had the opportunity to apply for a mini-grant for our Special Collections and Manuscript Archive. The only problem was that I had no idea what exactly we had in our various collections and little time to find out. My first thought was to gear my application towards purchasing supplies to rehouse a particular collection. Next was to pick which collection to start with.
By this point I had already briefly looked at a collection of newspaper clippings and other items that were donated to the library from the City Recorder’s Office. I felt that this collection would be the most deserving of rehousing because many of the clippings have come loose over time. The project would ensure that the items were secure for patrons to use for years to come.
My first step was to go through the newspaper clipping binders, record collection dates, separate out items that did not fit the parameters of newspaper clippings, and count the approximate number of pages. Going through the binders I found that the former City Recorder Winifred Jensen not only collected many clippings relating to Highland and the surrounding area she also collected the only newspaper ever published in Highland, The Highland Piper.
I continued through the various binders and soon found a whole binder dedicated to a small collection of City Newsletters which I added the other loose newsletters to. Other parts of the collection included one year’s worth of City Council Minutes, Highland City pageants, and a folder with miscellaneous items including documents relating to the first mayor of Highland. All of these items I indexed in order to prepare a finding aid at a later date.
The following are the subseries I have decided on for the collection:
- City Newsletters (1978-2004)
- City Minutes (1984-1985)
- Miscellaneous Documents (1970-1996)
- Newspaper Clippings (1977-2004)
- The Highland Piper Newspaper (1992-1997)
- Pageants (1983-2004)
In the meanwhile I worked on deciding what items I needed to order including archival paper, folders, boxes, and spacers. I also decided to include plastic paperclips and sheet protectors for photographs in the collection. As part of this process I had to decide on amounts of items. For some of this I used my judgment in the case of the newspaper clippings I went to the internet to assess how many sheets can fit into an archival box knowing that I will be interleaving the clippings with archival paper. With an idea of what is needed for rehousing the collection I created a budget for the grant.
As with all grant forms I also had to include scope and goals of the project. In the scope section I was fortunate enough to include a quote from Winifred Jensen who I was able to contact in regard to the collection. The quote I felt exemplified my goals in establishing the Special Collections and Archive. Ms. Jensen stated “Highland City incorporated approximately six months before I became City Recorder. Because there was never an official “City Historian” I tried to collect news clippings, newsletters, and some information about the City should anyone want historical information on the City.”