Student Snippets


Love in (or Lovin') the Archives

I've been thinking about the phrase "I have a lot on my plate" lately.  It seems like if my schedule were this figurative plate, it would look like I just left an all-you-can-eat buffet.  In the last week I have ended a job, started a new job, worked a shift of my internship, and set up an interview for a possible second part-time job at an academic library... All while trying to keep up with my school work. In addition to all of this, I'm trying to make time for my friends, family, and (lastly) sleep.  Sometimes when one's schedule is so packed, it's hard to remember what exactly one is working toward.

But thankfully I've been utterly caught up in the romance that can happen with archival work. Previously, I mentioned the series of love letters between a young couple in the 1940s that is a large part of the collection in which I'm working, but recently I found several other letters written to the young woman of the aforementioned couple from a completely different man, a young soldier, during the same time. There were so many letters between the original young couple that I've been skimming them for notable places, peoples, or dates, but I can't help but read each of the young soldier's letters word for word. He's an amazing writer, definitely someone who believed in the lost art of letter-writing. He writes about the unnamed places he's been, the horror of war. In one letter, he poignantly makes the observation that he often hears the sound of faraway planes and bombs and thinks that he is dreaming of an imaginary place, only to realize that home is the imaginary place, and these war sounds are his frightening reality. From what I gather, it seems that the young woman wrote to him out of the blue and they had been paramours before college. He knows she's dating someone else, and yet he asks her several times, "Why did you write me? Why won't you tell me?"

The story for me is irresistible. I know I'm incredibly lucky to find such a plot jumbled with 19th century stock shares and probate documents (which are interesting but in a completely different way). I hope I have some time while creating this finding aid to research this young soldier and see if he survived the war. Perhaps he and the young woman met again, later in life, after she had married her college sweetheart. Perhaps he died, and that's why she married in the middle of the war so suddenly. It's quite a mystery to me how archivists can resist being great novelists!

This was just a little note, in the whirlwind of school and work and life, to appreciate the little romantic moments in your studies. It can be romantic in the literal sense like mine or Romantic in the literary sense, but I hope that you find and love what it is you are pursuing here at Simmons.  Until next time, enjoy Spring Break!

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