Cambridge History Room Internship
posted May 23, 2013 11:28 AM
This week marked the beginning of my internship. I am working at the Cambridge History Room which is placed inside the Cambridge Public Library.
The plan as it now stands is for me to process the papers of John Langstaff, singer, author and creator of the Cambridge Revels while selecting pieces from the collection that are usuable for an exhibit as well as creating the finding aid.
The boxes I have glanced over so far (there are about 15 in total I think; I need to double check that number though) contain an assortment of sheet music (both printed and hand-written), production notes, correspondence, mock-ups of his children's books and promotional materials. I believe the majority of the "good stuff" was removed and are in the boxes of material the biography author was using, which I have not gone through yet.
I hope to find some photography, etc. that would be useful for an exhibit. I do think there should be something in the collection that would interest the public if not about the Revels, perhaps about his children's books or his BBC children's show.
As I mentioned, there was a biography written by a friend of Langstaff and I was able to get a copy and read it before I opened any of the boxes. This was very helpful. I know it wouldn't be possible in all cases but I'm glad that it was because it allowed me to bring context to the things I was seeing. For instance, I found a map of Canada with a small mark on it which seemed meaningless until I recalled that Langstaff had bought an island in Canada that the family used for vacations.
After just one day, I can say that I am quite enjoying the smaller atmosphere than the Gottleib archive where I did my previous internship. The Gottleib is so big that I was upstairs processing and never even set foot in the reference room. Wednesday night, I was able to watch the archivist interact with a couple from Dallas who had come to the area to do research for the husband's upcoming book. It was great to see how the reference interview was handled and how the archivist provided information not only about the Cambridge History Room's materials that might be helpful, but also other nearby institutions.
I'm really looking forward to the rest of this internship!