January 18, 2018 – “From Wrestling to Botany”

Hello, everyone!

I hope the past weekend was enjoyable, but it is time for another installment in my life as a volunteer at the University of Central Florida Library Special Collections and University Archives. Surprisingly, a lot of activity happened yesterday (apologies, I meant to post yesterday but more pressing matters needed to be attended to). Most of it included coding the Ed Gantner Collection, but I also began research for the Arthur S. Barclay Collection, and helped the archives get ready for some tests in the coming week. So, without further delay, this recounting will begin.

After “checking in,” I began setting up the finding aid template for the Ed Gantner Collection. The coding did not take too terribly long as there were not a lot of items in the collection: three photographs, an award, and his jacket. After typing in the closing tags, the first draft was printed and was placed on Ms. Rubin’s desk for review. Unfortunately, Ms. Rubin would not be able to look at it until next week as her schedule was very busy. After making necessary edits, the finding aid should be able to be published.

While waiting for the Ed Gantner Collection to be finished, Mr. Ogreten brought forth two collections for me to work on next. In comparison to the O’Shaughnessy Collection, theses collections are only 1 box each (for now) but they have been in the back log for over a decade. Well, not for long.

I had posted before the end of the Fall 2017 semester that I would be working on a collection by a botanist. This week began the work on that collection (though I had a choice on what collection I would work on next, I felt since this was going to be my next project for this semester that I was obligated to do it next). The subject of the collection was Arthur S. Barclay.

Dr. Arthur S. Barclay was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1932, but was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma where his parents taught at the University of Oklahoma. Barclay would graduate from the University of Tulsa with a Bachelor of Science degree, then earned his master’s degree and later his doctorate in botany at Harvard University before being hired by the Department of Agriculture’s New Crops Research Branch in 1960. He primarily worked in the southwestern portion of the country, but also traveled into Mexico as well for research.

In 1962, he was a field researcher who was gathering samples in Washington near Mount St. Helens for the National Cancer Institute and collected samples of Taxus brevifolia (better known as the Pacific yew tree). Dr. Monroe Wall and Dr. Mansukh Wani would test these samples and discovered they were effective in eliminating cells. Dr. Barclay was sent back to Washington and collected more Pacific yew samples for testing. Doctors Wall and Wani successfully extracted compounds from the samples and developed what is known today as Taxol, which has been used to combat ovarian cancer.

Unfortunately, Dr. Barclay’s career came to an abrupt end in 1980 due to central pontine myelinolysis. He was able to receive treatment at John Hopkins University Hospital and was successfully rehabilitated from the disease. In 1999, he and his wife moved to Orlando, Florida. On November 6, 2003, Dr. Arthur S. Barclay passed away as a result of a heart attack at the age of 71.

Most what was just written above is what I able to work on in terms of research into the man behind the collection. The collection itself includes slides depicting plants from across the globe which makes sense as he was a botanist. But, further work would have to wait as Mr. Ogrten announced that some sort of system was going to be tested in the building over the weekend and as a precaution the tarps used during the hurricane seasons would need to cover the archives.

It was already close for me to leave, but I stayed for another hour to help with the tarps. I know the importance of protecting the collections and I would not leave knowing the staff needed help putting those tarps over the collections anyway. It would have been rude. It was about 2:54 PM when the last tarp was placed and those tarps will remain there for a week until tests are done. I logged off, gathered my belongings, and bid farewell to the staff before leaving.

On a final note, the Minutes of the Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy I requested still have not been fulfilled. I hope they come soon. I would like to have done all I can with the UDC Medal Collection and be satisfied with it.

Well, that is all I have to report for now. The Ed Gantner Collection should be done by next week, more work with the Arthus S. Barclay Collection would be processed, and with any luck those Minutes I requested will be available for pick up. Until then, enjoy the weekend and stay safe! Bye!

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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