September 20, 2018 – “Can of Worms”

Hello, everyone!

When planning agendas, there comes a time a task that originally was perceived as simplistic turns into a can of worms. Such circumstances were the unfortunate experiences that unraveled before me at the archives today. With the pretense of retrieving a questionable folder from Box 12a of the George L. Stuart, Jr. Collection, the horror that laid bare in front of my eyes as I removed the lid could only be described as “disgusting.” Further details will be elaborated in due time with the countenance of today’s events.

As I naively walked through the door of the reading room of the archives, the first task in mind was to complete the original plan from yesterday. As previously noted, I had wanted to record the contents of the two large, thin tubes into the Excel spreadsheet. With assistance from Mr. Ogreten, we retrieved the tubes and carefully unfurled the rolled contents inside.

The first was a campaign poster that had a picture of George Stuart and “George Stuart. Our Senator” printed beside it. Obviously, the paid political ad was from his Senatorial  Campaign for District 14, circa 1986 . The other poster was from his Orlando City Councilman for District 2 Campaign from circa 1972. Both poster were eight feet in length and four feet in height. After labeling the respective containers, the tubes were returned to their shelf spaces.

At this point, I felt confident in moving on to finishing rest of the collection. Before doing so, I noticed I had not recorded the contents of a box labeled “George Stuart Bible.” Just by reading the label, I was under the impression there was a large family Bible in the box. When I actually opened box,  there were four Bibles! As I inspected them, three were owned by George Stuart at various points in his life (each Bible was respectively from 1952, 1960, and 1971) and one belonged to his wife, Betty (dated from 1952). Interestingly, the earliest Bibles were leather-bound and could be zipped (Betty’s was broken and was yellow perhaps due to age). With the information recorded properly from the Bibles, I prepared to move on to filling Box 75 with folders from the Personal Files Series.

At first, retrieving folders seemed to be a smooth process. This process was stopped with a screeching halt as I went to retrieve a folder called “Address and Business Cards” from 12a. As I opened the box, I was horrified at was seen: business cards and campaign pledge forms were strewn across the inside of the box and no proper processing had occurred. The status of the box was reported to Mr. Ogreten and he pondered how many sleeves would be needed to house the business cards.

Mr. Ogreten suggested that one hundred-twenty-five sleeves be a perfect number to start with. After examining pledge cards marked either “George Stuart Campaign” or “Stuart for Governor Calls,” he retrieved a half-box and instructed that the half-boxes would temporarily hold those cards until the appropriate boxes arrived. I complied with his instructions by stacking the cards on their sides to fit until the first one was filled, then stacked cards similarly in a second box. Unfortunately, the supplies for sleeves were empty to continue processing business cards.

I gathered the business cards into some folders as a temporary solution and returned them to Box 12a for the time being. At some point, I will have to return to processing this mess. Unfortunately, the task cannot be completed until the proper supplies have been ordered and restocked. By the time I sorted the disaster area that was Box 12a, my shift had come to a close. I bid farewell to the archive staff and left for the day.

In review, the large campaign posters were counted for, data regarding the Stuart Bibles were recorded, and Box 12a was somewhat sorted quarantined for the time being. Next week, progress with Box 75 will hopefully continue without further interruptions. 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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