So I was going through some old articles drafts and found this one from last year. (2016) It’s my journal about visiting the National Archives September of last year.
As you know I visited the Archives again in August of this year. (2017. When I was going to write-up my journal from this visit, I realized I never posted my first journal. So here it is. oh! and by the way Yes, I’m working on an article from this years visit. Hopefully, it won’t take me another year to post my second journal. 🙂
I hope you learn something.
So I’ve been wanting to visit The National Archives Records and Administration (Archives II) in College Park Maryland for some time now. I finally made it here during our family vacation in September (2016). Now that I have one visit under my belt. I’ll need a way to remember and keep track of my work. Here is my first journal, which outlines my experience visiting and performing research at the National Archives II facility.
The official dates of my research, Thursday September 29, through Friday September 30th, 2016.
Since I had the wife and kid with me, I knew my time was going to be limited. I was able to pull three boxes of records and scan a bunch of documents. My first visit was a learning experience. One I wish to share with you as I progress with this project of documenting our nation’s post offices.
First I’d like to thank everyone I spoke to before heading out to Archives II. This gave me a pretty good idea of what to expect during my visit. There are several of you, and I can’t thank you enough. I really appreciate everyone’s help and assistance.
Part one of my journal focus on what I pulled and what I learned.
I arrived first thing on Thursday, Since it was my first visit, I was required to register and receive my researchers ID. This is used when entering and leaving the research rooms of the facility. In order to receive your researchers card you are also required to watch a presentation on the safe handling of the materials in the archives.
After receiving my researchers card I was directed to the second floor for an introduction to researching and to find out where to start. Since this was my first time at the archives, I needed help in finding my way. Fortunately, the staff are very helpful. Since I had a good idea of what I was looking for this, also made their job easier.
Here is the specific material I pulled for my first visit.
RG 121 Records of The Public Buildings Service
Records Concerning Federal Art Activities
Textual Records of the Section of Fine Arts, Public Buildings Administration, and its Predecessors
Case Files Concerning Embellishments of Federal Buildings, 1934-43
WV – WI
Box No. 114 Entry 133
Contained in each one of the boxes are several folders organized alphabetically. So I started with Berlin and worked my way through each box. As I’m writing this up, I don’t actually recall which states are in what box. I was so anxious to dig in and get started that I don’t remember how many folders I scanned before moving onto the next box. I also wanted to get an idea of what was in the other two boxes, so I pulled and scanned a few folders from the other boxes, such as Ladysmith, and Wausau. This may have been one or two folders from each box.
When I return I’ll make note of which state folders are in what box.
Here is a sample of what you will find in each folder.
The first image is the folder from Chilton, WI. The second image shows a stack of documents that are in the folder. The third image is a letter from the artists Charles W. Thwaites to the Section of Fine Arts.
As most of you know my focus is on Wisconsin right now. So during my first visit I pulled the records for the “Embellishment of federal buildings.” The numbers below represent how many documents I scanned for each folder. Some of the documents are multiple pages long, meaning they were stapled together and I consider this one document, even though it may have been 2, 3, 4 or 5 pages combined into one PDF document.
- Berlin – 41 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Black River Falls – 47 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Chilton – 27 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Columbus – 40 documents, entire folder scanned.
- DePere – 56 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Egerton – 39 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Elkhorn – 31 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Fond Du Lac – 48 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Hartford – 50 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Hayward – 33 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Hudson – 40 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Janesville -50 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Ladysmith -81 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Two Rivers – 3 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Waupaca – 29 documents, entire folder scanned.
- Wausau 57 documents, this is for one folder, There are 3 in the box.
- West Bend 44 – Partial folder scanned. This is where my time ran out Friday just before closing at 5:00 PM. When I make it back I’ll need to start here again to complete this folder.
There are a total of 35 federal post office buildings in Wisconsin, so that would mean I’m about half way through the documents for Wisconsin. The documents here are just for the artwork. I still need to research the actual building records. So much to see and do.
My plan now is to figure out when I can return to complete my work for the Wisconsin folders and then to research and scan the building records.
I brought a computer, scanner, digital camera, and my phone camera with me to the research room. These all need to be approved prior to visiting the archives room. I didn’t realize how dirty the camera lens was on my camera so the digital pictures I took did not turn out very well. Most if not all are blurry and hard to see. liquids are not allowed in the research room, so cleaning and bringing any sort of lens cleaner is out the picture.
Just notes to myself. When you arrive there are lockers in the basement of the building, where you can store your belongings. If you are researching on the 2 floor or fifth floor you need to go through security. So it’s not like you can just jump up go downstairs and come back up. It takes time, and if you forget something in your locker this just takes away valuable time shuffling through the building.
There is a cafeteria in the basement, there are also vending machines. These all seem pricy, one day I brought with me left over’s from the night before and just ate that really quick. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time at lunch. I needed to maximize my time scanning.
Stay turned this is getting exciting.
Thanks for following along