Monthly Archives: October 2014

Exhibit Building Opportunity at Rosedale Development

Rosedale Development Association is seeking someone who has training in archiving and exhibit-creating to transform our collection of historic photographs, maps, and documents into a catalogued archive and small historical community exhibit. Rosedale is a diverse neighborhood in Kansas City, KS, originally founded around railroad industry and what is now KU Hospital and Medical Center. The archivist will volunteer between now and May 2015 to create an organizational system for the documents we have collected, and create a small museum-style exhibit out of important items. Volunteer may create their own schedule during business hours; we anticipate that the project will take approximately 60 hours total.

To apply for this volunteer opportunity, please email Adrianne Showalter Matlock at by November 14, 2014.

Digitization and Microfilm

By Autumn R. Neal

In my last post, I talked about going through the letters and photos of the Edgar Snow Papers at the State Historical Society. After choosing the items I wanted to use, I had to digitize them and before this assignment I only knew how to use a basic scanner. Even though I had a lot to learn and got confused a few times, the process of digitizing the documents was entertaining, as least for me. I learned about archival standards such as the required scan resolution, file names, and the information that needed to be attached to each file. We also learned how to use Photoshop which, by the way is amazing. I had never used it before and now I have a hard time using other photo editors.

IMG_1140When I was scanning the newspaper articles I had chosen, I decided that the copy of the “Kansas City Boy Stowaway” article that I found wasn’t in very good shape and thought I would have to scrap it. The very helpful women at the Historical Society told me that it was on microfilm and I could request it to get a better copy. They ordered it for me from who knows where, emailed when it arrived, and helped me get the viewer set up. I looked through a month’s worth of newspapers from the 20s. In another class of mine, I am writing about advertisements from the 1970s and having that experience helps with the way I’m looking at my other paper. Even if you’re not doing research, looking at old microfilm would be a good way to entertain yourself while learning something at the same time.

Edgar Snow Papers at the Missouri State Historical Society

By Autumn R. Neal

In one of my last posts I mentioned that the Edgar Snow Project is a map based exhibit and that each stop on the map has either a photo, document, or book excerpt. Like the text that I mentioned before, one of our assignments last semester was to find 12-15 exhibit items each for our sections. These could be letters, photos, journal entries, newspaper articles, or anything interesting that would add to the narrative. For this we went to the Missouri State Historical Society Research Center-Kansas City where the Edgar Snow Papers were held up until this summer (they are now at the LaBudde Special Collections). I spent quite a few hours there reading through boxes and boxes of letters and looking at a million photos. I had been interested in archival work before we started the project and this experience made me want to do it even more.

Going through the boxes of letters and photos was tedious but there are a lot of interesting things in there. Humor in the 20s and 30s was on a whole other level than it is now. Obviously there were also serious topics discussed so it was also an educating experience. It also made me very grateful that I have a surplus of patience IMG_0966and can read cursive. The letters in this photo are pretty clear but there were some that were difficult to read.

I didn’t really look at this part of the assignment as work though because I had such a good time doing it. I feel like these letters should be published as a book. Aside from the obvious political importance of Snow’s work, his writing would be interesting for anyone who likes to travel and wonders what it would have been like in the 20s.

The Map Room

By Chad King

Now that I have learned how to catalog and preserve a collection, I have now moved on to a new project that I find quite exciting! Next year celebrates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the beginning of Truman’s presidency. In accordance to this, the Library has begun organizing the Truman Map Room collection and making the documents available to researchers online. The collection is extraordinary, since the Map Room documents were top secret and detailed sensitive communication between the Big Three (Truman, Churchill, and Stalin) during the end of the war. Correspondence included military details, secret arrangements for meetings, and sensitive diplomatic communications over Stalin’s dealings with Eastern Europe. Most of the documents have been scanned, and I have been given the responsibility to identify and name them, to better assist researchers who might be looking for a specific item in the collection. There is still much more work to do with the Map Room documents, and I look forward to providing additional updates soon

Spring Internships at the American Truck Historical Society

Position Description: Collections Intern

This fall, the American Truck Historical Society is looking for two interns to assist in the cataloging and organization of the ATHS collection. As necessary, the Collections Intern will support ATHS with other projects.

Position Responsibilities:

  • Enter accession and donor information for objects in the collection not already entered into the museum’s collections management software PastPerfect
  • Update old records already in PastPerfect
  • Correlate all items with correct paper and database files. If these files do not already exist, create said file
  • Ensure all objects are properly marked with old and new accession numbers 

Position Requirements:

Intended graduation with a focus in Museum Studies, History, or related field; strong attention to detail; excellent written and oral communication skills; and ability to work well alone and in a group.

Interested students should reach out to Courtney Dery (, ATHS Library Director, for more information. Graduate students are preferred, but qualified undergraduates will be considered. Students interested in applying should follow the instructions on the How to Apply page.

Preservation Methods

By Chad King

I have now started the preservation process of Douglas G. Wright’s papers, and it has been great learning experience for me. The collection was donated by Wright in 1974 and was briefly organized and cataloged that same year. Now in 2014, I have been assigned to ensure the collection is preserved according to the standards set by the National Archives and the Library. First off, I had to remove all papers that were not acid free – untreated paper deteriorates over time, and could affect other items in the collection. Newspapers are usually untreated and present a challenge to any collection. Wright kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings, so I meticulously scanned every item in his scrapbook so every item would still be accessible to researchers. Items that were untreated, or considered too fragile were moved to a separate file to be preserved and permanently stored away in the archive. Later, I will begin writing a new finding aid for the collection to replace the original that was created in 1974. This will better assist researchers who might be interested in Wright’s career.

Preserving a Collection

By Chad King

DouglasWright.ScrapbookI have recently begun training on organizing and preserving a collection here at the Harry S. Truman Library. The collection I am working on is the Douglas G. Wright papers. Wright served as the administrator of the Southwestern Power Association under the Department of Interior, a position he served for over thirty years. While I was going through his papers, I found that he saved mostly items related to his career, and was a big supporter of publicly owned power resources, and maintained cordial ties with presidents Truman and Johnson. While Wright primarily lived in Oklahoma and his position kept him in that region, his papers, nonetheless, detail an important time during Truman’s administration dealing with public works projects and the future of public power resources. There are roughly four folders worth of material and I will share info dealing with the preservation methods I used in my next post.

Edgar Snow: Books, Books, Books.

By Autumn R. Neal

My last post was about the main text for the Edgar Snow Project website. There was one aspect of it that I didn’t address last time that is pretty important, the two books I used as references. In 1958, Snow published his memoir, Journey to the Beginning. If you haven’t read this book I highly recommend it. It flows well and is so captivating that instead of scanning for information I would catch myself reading chapter after chapter. I’m also pretty sure that Snow embellished some stories but, hey, all authors do that right? It’s what makes journalism so interesting. The only issue is that the memoir is not in order and Snow didn’t write dates to go along with his stories. In the process of rewriting, I was trying to figure out how to order certain events and the book may have made that harder.


I bought this used copy from Amazon that had the original sales receipt from Liberty Book Club, New York City. It sold for $3.86.

The second book I used is a biography on Snow by John Hamilton. This book was really helpful because it covered facts that Snow did not address in his memoir, such as his early life, as well as events that occurred after Journey to the Beginning. Hamilton’s book sometimes focuses on topics that weren’t relevant for this project. It was challenging trying to combine the information from the entertaining memoir and the serious biography into an accessible but professional narrative. I think that the site text is unique though because of the mixture of information from these two books and the information gathered from the archives.