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The Blog of the Indiana State Archives

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Tales from the Interns | Grayson

Hello, everyone! My name is Grayson and I am the Friends of the Indiana State Archives (FISA) Summer 2021 intern. In this post I am going to tell you a little bit about myself and catch you up on what I am working on this summer.

A little about me: I am currently a Master’s of Library Science student with a specialization in Archives and Records Management at Indiana University – Bloomington. I moved to Indiana for graduate school during the pandemic with my cat, Iggy, in tow. My first year of graduate school was held virtually so I am excited to be at the ISA this summer interacting with collections in person.  I am not sure what type of archive I would like to end up working at after graduation, so this internship is informing that decision by giving me valuable experience in how government archives operate.

My Projects: My first project was processing a box of records from the backlog that was accessioned in 1984. The records pertain to the Kentucky-Indiana Boundary dispute of the Ohio River from the 1960s-1980. It took me about two days to process and arrange the box. It was a fun first project to lead off the internship and get me acclimated to the act of processing and arranging archival materials.

My second project is much more expansive: processing a series of 11 boxes from the Department of Conservation collection. The boxes contain records from 1901 to the 1940s. The series concerns the creation of Indiana’s State Parks, an endeavor spearheaded by Richard Lieber. Lieber, an ardent conservationist, is often called “the father of Indiana State Parks” and was the first Director of the Department of Conservation.

So far, I have gone through all 11 boxes to get an idea of the content. Luckily, someone (either Lieber or someone close to him) seems to have sorted the records into named folders. I have compiled a folder-level inventory with the help of this previous benevolent organizer. The folders are not seemingly organized by subject so my supervisor, Claire, and I decided to come up with an arrangement plan for them. Using the folder-level inventory and an Excel sheet, I am sorting all the folders into separate series (such as Correspondence, Administrative Files, Speeches, etc.). I am currently about halfway through this mock-arrangement plan. Claire will look over my plan once I am finished. If the plan looks good, I will move on to actually physically rearranging the files.

I also have a couple of smaller endeavors I am working on this summer. One is helping to monitor the State Archives' indexing project on Virtual volunteers are helping index the Jeffersonville Land Office Receipt Books.  My job is to review and respond to any comments from people transcribing the pages, and to also look over any pages that volunteers mark as needing review. The other is learning conservation basics from the Conservator. So far I have learned how to dry clean records and how to mend torn or otherwise damaged records. After a few weeks of mending practice, I am now mending a letter from the Lieber collection from 1903 that is torn at the folds from sitting folded for almost 120 years. See the before and after below:

Mending Project: Before

Mending: After



I am enjoying my time so far and have learned a lot in a short period of time. I want to thank FISA for making this opportunity possible!