Today is the first official day of classes for me at Simmons, where I am entering my third year as a dual-degree student in the History and Archives Management Master’s program. So what does that mean in terms of the shape of my daily life?
Well, for starters, I continue to work four days a week at the Massachusetts Historical Society, with a great team of librarians and archivists who have been unfailingly supportive of my studies and given me the chance to learn the (shall we say) trade secrets of providing archival reference service. If you’re interested in the work that goes on at a place like the MHS (oldest historical society in the Western Hemisphere), check out my colleague & friend Jeremy Dibbell’s blog, the Beehive, hosted by the MHS website. I will also put in another plug for following John Quincy Adams on twitter, where he is tweeting posthumously his line-a-day diary entries from an 1809 voyage to Russia.
In addition, I have a very part-time job at Northeastern’s Archives and Special Collections, where I spend four hours a week slowly constructing a database of images from the scrapbooks of Marjorie Bouve, the founder of Northeastern’s Bouve School of Physical Education. Nothing has gone live online yet, but I can promise links when (fingers crossed!) the images are web-published. Lots of great early-twentieth-century snapshots of young women (and occasionally men) engaged in such activities as cycling, sailing, sight-seeing, and amateur theatricals.
As a graduate student, my work this year turns decisively toward my thesis research on the creation of the Oregon Extension program during the mid-1970s. I will be exploring the various cultural and educational threads that came together to shape the way in which the OE was developed as an educational program and a particular communal space. To that end, one of my two classes this fall is an independent study, which provides me with dedicated time to prepare logistically and theoretically for my oral history field work. If I can find ways to share this on-going project on the blog without a lot of additional time and mental strain, I will . . . if not, you should be seeing the fruits of my labors sometime in December of 2010 (again, fingers crossed!).
I am also in Archives, History, and Collective Memory, the dual-degree capstone course, of sorts. Since it focuses on “the relationship between historical events, the creation and maintenance of archival records, and the construction of collective memory” I look forward to applying the concepts we discuss in class to my own research: what is oral history, after all, but the creation of archival records and a collective construction of historically-minded personal narratives?
And finally, of course, come all of the continued pleasures and duties of domestic life: the morning and evening commute, leisure reading, movie watching, shopping and meal preparation, laundry, cleaning, weekend outings, keeping up with far-flung family members, and (above all) regularly-scheduled time with Hanna.
Given all of this real-world activity, I’m sure how much I’ll be blogging during the coming months. Obviously, home life, work, and school commitments come first. For those of you who follow my blog as a way of keeping up long-distance with what’s going on in my life, I’ll definitely try to post pictures and piffle as the opportunity arises. For those of you who check in from elsewhere in the blogosphere, I’m still reading your blogs, even if I lack the time to join in the conversation!
As always, shoot me an email or (gasp) put pen to paper and write me a letter and I will respond, later if not sooner (but hopefully sooner). You know where to find me! In the meantime, I do think of you all and hope your fall projects are getting underway with creativity, productivity, and pleasure. Don’t forget to enjoy the autumn weather, wherever you may be.
*photograph of the T crossing the intersection of Harvard and Beacon at Coolidge Corner by scleroplex @ Flickr.