Arranging the series

Tom agreed with me that the current folders didn’t make sense – he said they were only temporary. I have finished arranging the series this way:

Series I = letters from Joseph Foley to him mother (Folders 1-5) which break down nicely between training and deployment locations.

Series II = letters incoming to Joseph Foley (only 6 letters)

Series III = Ephemera, which we have now weeded

Series IV = Related materials. These items were in the ephemera folder but are not actually ephemera. Includes empty envelopes and two photographs

Last week I started the finding aid, working from a template (just like mentioned in class 3/3!) Tom emailed me. I can’t write the biographical sketch yet because we haven’t found the obituary, but today I began writing the scope and content notes, using the notes I’ve been taking whenever I notice something in a letter. I did a little bit of online research (too much research, where to draw the line between processing and research?!)

Friday 3/6/15

I had emailed Tom my finding aid draft, he has reviewed it and has no changes. I’m really surprised because he is very meticulous about everything, and I did not feel confident writing the scope and content notes, or writing the processing notes. I guess it was helpful that I took notes for those sections while I was working.

Tom decided it would be best to number each letter. (see #6 on task list below). AT first I was kind of surprised that I would be writing on the records, but thinking about how a researcher would be using the material, I can understand that the numbers will be helpful. Especially if a folder got dropped or if someone was unsure which letter belonged in which envelope, since the postmark and letter dates rarely match.

While numbering the letters and envelopes (I’m only on Folder 2 so far), I found an incoming letter in series I, which is outgoing correspondence. I moved it to ingoing correspondence (series II), and had to re-number the letters in the “detailed description” section of the finding aid. Later I found an empty envelope that I had to move to ephemera (series III), and decided to stop re-numbering in the finding aid until this process is finished.

Task list:

  1. Check folder contents against previously-made list of letters and correct list where necessary.
  2. Do some research about how to preserve personal letters. Tom thinks taking letters out might be the thing to do, he’s heard some people cut up folders to make smaller ones for the letters?
  3. Read some letters to get a sense of the collection for scope and content notes
  4. draft finding aid
  5. Confirm the folders are not over filled – if overfilled, re-distribute. When letters are moved to different folder, make corrections on letter inventory and make corrections within scope and contents wherever folders are mentioned!
  6. With pencil, number the letters on both envelopes and letters, erase Helen’s markings, add numbers to letter inventory
  7. Add letter inventory to finding aid document
  8. Find date of death, find obit for bio sketch, write bio sketch
  9. Photocopy clippings (and other ephemera?) on acid-free paper (after photocopier has been serviced)

Questions for Tom:

  • should scope and content mention that a few letters are to Mr. Foley?
  • Finding aid elements – no control access points?

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