October 30, 2017 – “Fill In The Blank”

Hello and welcome back! Hopefully the weekend was an enjoyable one despite the temperature drop. In any case, this week is the beginning of the end of my internship at the University of Central Florida Library’s Special Collections and University Archives. At the end of this week, I will have accumulated the required minimum of one hundred fifty hours for the internship. The total hours I could put in is one hundred eighty hours. Regardless, I aim to make the best of the situation and do what I can and complete the remaining work for the United Daughters of the Confederacy medals. I can say that today was the end of one of my assignments.

The first assignment of the day was the final reading assignments of my internship. The articles up until now enlightened me on the ever present challenges that all archives face and certainly the last two would be no exception. The first article is titled “Cultivating Serendipity: A Visit to the New York Times ‘Morgue’” by Stephen Hiltner and published by The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/insider/in-the-timess-morgue-millions-of-news-clippings-and-prints.html) that tells of Jeff Roth, the only filer of a vast archive of news clippings, photographic prints, book and periodical library, microfilm records, and much more owned by The New York Times that dates back to the late nineteenth century. The archive itself can be described as a relic in terms of what archives of past were like in comparison to how archives of the present are organized. Called a “morgue,” the archive is organized by card catalogs that separate the news clippings from the picture library.

The other article is titled “Anna Caceres about volunteering with the GNM Archive” by Anna Caceres and published by The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/the-guardian-foundation/2017/jun/15/anna-caceres-about-volunteering-with-the-gnm-archive). Caceres writes of her own personal experience of sifting through The Guardian’s archives and the materials that were encountered. Reading the article reminded me of the experiences I encountered during this internship. The article ends asking for donations and it is a present reminder that private archives thrive on contributions to keep alive. It is something to keep in mind should the opportunity to work for one arises.

The rest of my time was the continued research of the United Daughters of the Confederacy medals. The original inscriptions that were in the display case helped in a lot of ways, but there was no inscription or history associated with the Southern Cross of Honor which was awarded to Confederate veterans in the beginning of the twentieth century. Since it was the Daughters’ most well-known medal, the history of medal (who designed it, the manufacturing history, the first recipient, etc.) was fairly easy to flesh out. A text recommended for anyone studying the medal is The Southern Cross of Honor: Historical Notes and Trial List of Varieties by Peter Bertram. If an archive has a Cross of Honor, they should try and consider getting a copy of the book. On the other hand, the hardest to research so far is the history of the Cross of Military Service.

The inscriptions for each Cross of Military Service helped in this department, but there are gaps that desperately need to be filled in. I tried exhaustively to locate source material to fill in the blanks by searching through the Minutes of the Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy only to realize I had been searching through the meetings of the North Carolina Division. Luckily, a helpful document from a Texas Division Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy helped me pin down which annual meetings I need to examine to get the answers I needed. I hope to have these blanks filled in at the end of the week as a result.

It may not seem like much on paper, but the research is hard work. Unlike the O’Shaughnessy Collection, there is no previous work or even a finding aid to build upon. All of the research on these medals is being done right now and I fear that despite effort being put into researching these medals, there will still be gaps. I just hope there will be less work for future researchers when I am finished. But enough of my musings, I am sure I will be picking up where I left off tomorrow. Until then, take care and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Author: 57r3l574d

I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida and simultaneously employed by the university library's Special Collections and University Archives as a Other Personnel Service (OPS) Student. Expected to graduate in 2019 with a History MA - Public History Track.

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