Last week I finished the project I had been working on—redoing the de Grummond correspondence files. I feel extremely accomplished having finished such a huge task. Hours of work went into changing out the folders, making corrections to files, and sorting through the drawers upon drawers of letters, cards, and inventories. While it was at times tedious, it was very valuable to the collection. There were countless numbers of files that were incorrectly labeled, referred to files that didn’t exist, or contained items more properly filed elsewhere. I also got to see some fascinating files from some of my favorite authors or others that are very famous. Working in the de Grummond collection is a lot like working behind the scenes on a movie or at a television show: you get to see personal correspondence with celebrities that most people never get to see. It makes you feel special and privileged. The two best from this past week were John Green, who has written several young adult novels (my favorite is An Abundance of Katherines) and J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien wrote Dr. de Grummond a letter but forgot to sign it and then sent another with his signature apologizing for the first. I’ve never actually seen a Tolkien signature in person before and it was really exciting.
The office has been getting ready for a big event this coming week—the Ezra Jack Keats Awards in conjunction with the Children’s Book Festival. A few weeks ago I helped put together the invitations for a party celebrating the award winners which will take place this coming Thursday evening at the Hattiesburg train depot. Last week we printed up several fliers for the event which will be put inside the bags for the festival attendees, since all CBF participants are also invited to the party. I’m looking forward to the party since it’s something we have been anticipating for weeks.
I also worked in the manuscripts of the Margret and H.A. Rey collection (the authors of the Curious George books). Because the exhibit room has been remodeled and parts of the collection are touring on exhibit through the Jewish Museum of New York, several of the framed pieces are out of proper location. It’s like a puzzle or being a detective trying to put everything back where it belongs and figuring out which piece is which. I’ve noticed that the descriptions for pieces are not always the best and thus it is sometimes difficult to know to which piece the finding aid is referring. I found one piece that wasn’t labeled at all; the catalog listed it as two separate pieces with the same number, neither of which actually described it. We’re still not sure where it belongs. Another piece I only determined proper location for with the aid of the online finding aid. I know that it is really difficult to make sure descriptions match the pieces accurately—for one thing what you may find the salient features when describing it, may not match your thoughts about it later or someone else’s—so I definitely know to be conscientious about this when I go to do it in my work after school.