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Friday, August 6, 2010

OHSU Historical Collections & Archives

Some people in the world have a town square, others their local cafe or pub, philosophes had their salons -- but for the best in intellectual stimulation, exchange of ideas and the most interesting reading in the world lucky historians like me have archives. And one of the best in the universe is the Historical Collections & Archives at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.
Yesterday I was able to visit this marvelous place, tucked in the Marquam Hill campus (and yes, Sara Marquam Hill, M.D. was the daughter of Philip Marquam, whose real estate it once was) in the Old Library building. I've been here many times and conducted most all of my research for the biography of Esther Lovejoy, but came to go through some files in the Esther Lovejoy Collections 2001-004 and 2011-011 and to review the stunning collection of her photographs.
But what also makes these visits of immense value to me as a scholar is that archivists Sara Piasecki and Karen Peterson engage in conversations with me about Lovejoy and her history (and just who might be in those photographs), the nature of history itself (can we write history at all without making some interpretive conclusions that will be challenged someday -- and isn't that the excitement of studying and producing history?) and the future of the book and electronic publishing .
Did I mention that they did all of this while getting additional boxes for me, working with other patrons, welcoming interested visitors, helping patrons and others who phoned in and all of the other vital work they completed yesterday?
I celebrate them for making HC&A this incredible place. You're the greatest Sara and Karen!

4 comments:

  1. Good gracious! The secret is out: if it's this much fun, it can't be called work. Conversations with a thoughtful scholar like yourself, Kimberly, can only be described as fuel for our intellectual fires. Plus, schlepping boxes keeps archivists young!

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  2. Thanks for all of your support, including all of the schlepping!

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  3. Thank you, Kimberly. One can't imagine the excitement that we at the OHSU HC&A experience when we can engage with our researchers about such things. Thanks for your ever challenging questions and for giving us the opportunity to share our insights and opinions. Sara is right. What fun!

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