Publication Date

July 19, 2011



Last week on the AHA’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages we asked our followers to “Tell us about an experience you’ve had in the archives.”

We received some great stories, and in case you missed them, we note a few below.

Archives Experience familyOn our Facebook wall, where a half dozen stories were posted,  Karen Cox wrote about finding a lock of Jefferson Davis’s hair, Gleb Tsipursky described an unexpected tea time in the stacks, and Anne Mitchell Whisnant shared her “I Found It in the Archives” article, where she tells the story of meeting her husband:

Almost everything good that has happened to me in the past twenty years came from one afternoon in an archive. A purple spiral notebook that I treasure holds handwritten notes on a story that began on August 31, 1991 in UNC-Chapel Hill’s North Carolina Collection, and led to fulfilling work and the best family life I could ever have hoped for.

On Twitter, @robinmkatz directed us to an archives story about “One scholar’s experience researching blackface minstrelsy.”  The story, “Fellows Find: Photos, playbills, news clippings document history of blackface in minstrel shows” by Matthew Sutton, begins:

Archives Experience minstrelAmong the Ransom Center’s many treasures in its performing arts collections are the 4,000 items related to the minstrel show. Culled from private collections, these preserved photographs, programs, sheet-music arrangements, and first-person accounts reveal the world of the blackface minstrel from the Jacksonian age to the 1950s. These are not pleasant items to look at, but they represent an origin point for much of our present-day popular culture and our desire to imitate, borrow, or steal across class and racial lines in the name of entertainment.

Do you have any stories from the archives? Feel free to post them below in the comments.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Attribution must provide author name, article title, Perspectives on History, date of publication, and a link to this page. This license applies only to the article, not to text or images used here by permission.