Tuesday, November 2, 2010

University Archives

I wondered whether PSU had an official Archivist, so I went looking. I found Cristine Paschild, who is both the University Archivist and Head of Special Collections. What surprised me was that the position of Archivist has only been in existence at PSU for two years.

The Archives office is in the Millar Library, room 180. I met Cristine at her office there, where she told me about recent activities on campus in the world of Archives. The City of Portland Archives just moved into the new Student Rec Center (see Erica's post). Those two offices, plus the Oregon Historical Society and the Multnomah County Library, had the "1st Annual Archives Crawl" on October 2nd. Christine said it was very successful. Participants where given booklets in which to gather stamps at each location, and there was a party afterward.

Cristine pointed out that having the City of Portland Archives close by gives one easy access to a wider perspective on some subjects. For example, the COP Archives have the official papers of Vera Katz, while the University Archives have her personal papers.

I asked Cristine what the Archives might be used for. She said students, faculty and whole classrooms use it. Last year a Cultural Anthropology class used the Archives to research urban legends about the campus, such as "were the windowless offices built to be bunkers to protect staff from rioting students?" and other tales related to PSU.

I also wanted to know if anyone has used the archives to research any ghostly occurrences on campus. Cristine said that she wasn't aware of any such research, but that she had heard of cold spots and apparitions at a previous post. She would love it is someone came in to do research related to ghostly activities.

The Archives contain a wide range of material, from Dark Horse Comics figurines to 14th century illuminated manuscript pages. I found those to be fascinating and beautiful:

An illuminated page from the 14th century:

Detail of an illuminated page (notice the face):

Items in the Archives are non-circulating, but appointments can be made to view them in the Archives office. Items are listed in the catalog, or you can contact Cristine to make inquiries about specific subjects.
An early German print from the 16th century:

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