Well, this is it. My journey from intern to volunteer to employee of the University of Central Florida Library Special Collections and University Archives has come to a close. Before the final adieus, I believe I should give the final updates regarding the projects I worked on.
As I previously noted in the previous post, I worked on the Alice Lossing Rountree Seminole County District No. 1 Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes Collection. Since the last post, I completed processing and editing the finding aid in similar timing as my own collection. Both are now available online:
Steven Craig Trelstad Olustee Battlefield Research Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. https://scua.library.ucf.edu/repositories/4/resources/215
Alice Lossing Rountree Collection of Seminole County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees Minutes, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. https://scua.library.ucf.edu/repositories/4/resources/214
Speaking of my collection, I found out my thesis was recently uploaded to the University of Central Florida’s Showcase of Text, Archives, Research & Scholarship (STARS) Theses and Dissertation repository. Once I found out, I emailed Mr. Ogreten the link and he added it to the Related Material section of my collection. As for the thesis itself, the link is provided in the following citation:
Trelstad, Steven, “Civil War Memory and the Preservation of the Olustee Battlefield” (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6739.
I am quite proud of my thesis and how it can be used as a resource for future scholars (as well as my collection). As for the event that culminated at the end of my academic journey with my thesis, the graduation ceremony went well and I ran into Scott Galloway (one of the undergraduate interns) while waiting for pictures. Unfortunately, we did not speak for long as we had to be shuffled into our waiting areas. Unlike when I was an undergraduate, I had to stand in a designated spot in the arena hallways. The only con about the experience.
As for my final duties at the archives, Mr. Ogreten assigned me the Phyllis J. Hudson Collection:
Phyllis Hudson Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. https://scua.library.ucf.edu/repositories/4/resources/124
Originally, my job simply revolved around making sure the folders were labeled correctly to the current standards, barcoding the boxes, and marking the box lids. As I sifted through the folders of the collection, I made a horrifying discovery. Despite the Processing Information stating the collection as processed, the only real work done on the collection was rehousing it and labeling the folders. Everything else needed dire attention.
Nearly every folder held material that needed staples removed. Several publications needed not only staples removed, but also replaced with string to hold them together (a project for a student looking to learn how to be a book conservator like Chris Saclolo). In addition, the finding aid did not itemize the contents of the fifth box in the collection (mostly memorabilia). Needless to say, this simple task turned into a greater challenge than anticipated. I took this challenge head-on and eventually completed my duties.
As of now, the finding aid is not updated with the additions and edits I made. Hopefully, Mr. Ogreten can update the finding early next year. The stringing portion needs Chris Saclolo’s expertise (or an intern working in that field), so I made sure I marked how many documents (if any) needed this special care.
My last day proved to be an accumulation of my entire experience at the archives. The first two hours dealt with cleaning the fifth-floor study room (since it will not be cleaned until the 2020 spring semester starts) and shelving books. Nothing too serious except the gum I needed to remove from the bottom of desks was unusually high. As for shelving, books accumulated on the shelving cart throughout the week (whoever was in charge of shelving beside me didn’t fulfill their responsibility). Both tasks took time to complete.
Afterward, I finished proofreading the coding for the finding aid of the Phyllis J. Hudson Collection and informed Mr. Ogreten. Mr. Ogreten thanked me and we went into the stacks to figure something for me to do for the day. Eventually, he settled with me working the Stephen Danks Lodwick Collection.
Stephen Danks Lodwick was a theme park ride designer and the collection houses original artwork and concept designs for parks such as Walt Disney World, Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, and Paramount Parks. My simple task was to review the collection start updating the collection like I did with the Hudson Collection. As the collection contains six boxes and one flat file, I doubted my chances of completing all of the objectives in time. Still, I gave it a shot.
Twenty-five folders into the first box, I ran into a problem: a folder was missing. After informing Mr. Ogreten of this dilemma, he told me to stop numbering the folders and review the entire collection. Aside from a few instances, that was what I did for the rest of the day. The results perplexed me.
Admittedly, I did not get to review the flat file before the end of the day. The rest of the collection needs help. A couple of files are missing (unless they are found in the flat file), several documents and publications need folders for storing (Mr. Ogreten said he might give the publications to a different department to set them outside of the main collection), the numbering in the finding aid was off anyways. Truly a mess. I pity the intern who will work on the collection in the future.
Apart from my tasks, there was one responsibility that required the mobilization of the entire department. Every year, the library departments give turns cleaning the staff lounge. The Special Collections and University Archives have three spots in the rotation: April, August, and December. All of us went to the lounge and cleaned all of the tables, shelves, the refrigerator, the toaster, the microwaves, etc. With all of us together, the process lasted only 20 minutes.
The other notable thing that happened during the course of the day was my farewell party. Mr. Benjamin made some chocolate brownies, one small patch with bits of orange and another with ginger and hints of cayenne (the chocolate itself seemed to cancel out the cayenne’s bite, though). Other food included bottles of Sprite, orange soda, sweet tea, lemonade, Sour Cream and Onion flavored Lays Chips, and two pizzas (one with chicken, the other was a veggie supreme). I was given a wonderful card by the staff as well as some gifts like a big mug. Most of our conversation revolved around our plans for the holidays, which was fun. I’ll miss such moments.
I should note that my former compatriot Courtney Toelle came to visit everyone the day before. It was nice seeing and it seems she is very busy studying at an art school (I think) in Cinncinati, Ohio. She was planning to go to Jacksonville, Florida, to visit her family for the holidays after she finished visiting us. I wish her the best in her endeavors.
By 4:00 PM, my final departure came. I said my farewells to the remaining staff, who in return told me that they enjoyed my time with me and complimented my work ethics. Mr. Ogreten and Ms. Rubin, in particular, were proud of me and wished me well for my future successes. As I began walking out the door, I said my final goodbye to everyone. After walking out of the halls of the John C. Hitt library, I stood in front of Millican Hall and took a picture of the library as a final token. My last day at the campus ended with a lonely walk to the parking garage.
For those reading this post, this blog was only supposed to an assignment for my internship during the 2017 Fall semester. I expanded it into when I became a volunteer and, finally, as an employee. With the conclusion of my time as a UCF graduate student and employee at the archives, this blog’s purpose is done. I apologize for not always being timely with my posts and my focus on my thesis neglected this blog, but I did my best to incorporate much of my experience as possible.
That being said, I thank any reader who has read this blog (or will read it). I hope I not only informed readers about the archival process, but also entertained them. But, now is the time I say my final farewell to the readers. Thank you and stay safe. Bye!