Monday, April 29, 2013

PSU Distinguished Alumna gives 2013 MARAC Plenary Session Address

Joan Chittister, O.S.B.

Joan Chittister

I’m reminded of a story about speaking in your own hometown: A man was asked by his hometown historical society to speak at their next meeting. When he arrived the only ones there were the board members and a couple of old geezers in the back. “Did you tell them I was coming?” he asked them. “No, I guess we really didn’t,” the chair answered “but it sure looks like the word seeped out.”

And from the philosopher Boethius: “Every age is a dream that is dying and a new age coming to life.”

From the paleontologist Chardin: “The only task worthy of our efforts is to construct the future.”

And from the Zen: “The meaning of life is to see.”

I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this conference and this presentation for two reasons. The first is a simple one: if there were ever a place where I would not expect to be invited, this would certainly seem to be it. I would certainly understand
an invitation to colleges and civic social groups, to spirituality centers and ecumenical programs, yes. But at a conference of archivists? Trust me: until now, at least, the chances were slim to non-existent

And yet, the second reason I’ve thought so much about today’s presentation is equally simple: if there were ever a group I identify with--as well as with writers and speakers,
with educators and researchers, with historians and theologians, archivists are definitely it.

What that means is that I could not be further away than I am from the life of an  archivist. But it also means that as a woman, as a writer, as a social scientist I realize my indebtedness to you and to your profession.

I value your work and I respect your dedication to it. In fact, I think the values and sensitivity with which archivists approach the development of public archives may actually be what is missing in much of public life today. Which is why I want to talk today about what it means to choose a profession, to make a career a vocation, to decide between making a salary and making a difference,

Monday, April 8, 2013

2013 Summer Research Award Winners Selected

The Eberly Family Special Collections Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 research travel awards program. All winners will visit the Special Collections Library between May and August.

Dorothy Foehr Huck award winners:

  • Paul Kerry, Brigham Young University. Prof. Kerry will be researching the life of Bayard Taylor using the papers of the Pennsylvania-born author, translator, and diplomat held by the Library among other related collections. 
  • Kristine Thompson, Louisiana State University. Prof. Thompson will be researching photographic representations of death and mourning, from the 19th century to the present day using the Jay Ruby Collection and other related materials. 
Helen F. Faust Women Writers award winners:

  • Emily VanDette, State University of New York at Fredonia. Prof. VanDette's topic is "Six Scribbling Women and the Politics of Literary Reputation." She will be using the Fred Lewis Pattee papers and other related collections.
  • Carly Woods, University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Prof. Woods will be researching "Women Debating Society: Gender, Citizenship, and Social Change in Debating Societies, 1840-1960," using the records of the Penn State Women's Debate Team among other sources.
During their research visit, the winners will be invited to give a short, informal presentation about their research that will be open to the public.