Seminary Archives: A Return

Date: August 11, 2021

Over the past fourteen months, as the Seminary archives and the African American Episcopal Historical Collection mitigated the challenges of the library and archives renovations, a temporary location with minimal collections, amidst a global pandemic, I had to keep from not getting overwhelmed by the task at hand. I constantly reminded myself of the adage: How do you eat an elephant? The answer, of course, is: One bite at a time.

The most recent and most important task at hand was to retrieve all archival material from off-site storage and the temporary archives in Bohlen Hall and relocate it to its new, state-of-the-art facility back home in Bishop Payne Library. In the archival world, the elephant needs to be handled one box at a time. We need to know what collection the box belongs to, what order it belongs in, what shelf it goes onto to locate the desired information expediently, and all of this information is recorded in a searchable database. And it needed to be completed for roughly 3,000 boxes.

Succeeding in this task would not have been possible without the outstanding team from Iron Mountain. Thank you, in particular to Joe Morrisey and his crew: Mel, Bob, Namory, Jonathan, Mark, and Ronnie who had to handle each box multiple times, and project managers Paul and Corine. Without their expertise and care for the material, the project would’ve taken months. I would also like to thank all of my library colleagues who helped along the way, and Dr. Mitzi Budde for shepherding us through the challenges of the past year.  How do you really eat an elephant? It takes a village.

Christopher Pote, CA, MSLS
Seminary Archivist
Bishop Payne Library

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