Guest blogger: Mariecris.
The processing of the Alice E. Brown papers is close to an end. I will soon reach the destination of a fully processed collection. But to add a little extra excitement to my journey, I’ve talked with Arlene and I am going to create a record of all the people I met along the way. So who are these people? They are the people that wrote to Alice Brown, to whom she wrote, and people who forwarded their letters to her. They are the correspondents. I am excited to create this list since this level of description is atypical in archival practices. Most archivists do not have the time or the funds to create such a list/index, especially with a looming backlog waiting to be processed. But with the help of CIRI Foundation’s grant award, we can create more detailed descriptions.
So why am I looking forward to creating this index? First of all, though there is a correspondence series in the collection, there is correspondence scattered throughout the collection. Most of the correspondence outside of the correspondence series is in Series 1: organization and committee series. The majority of the correspondence in series 1 is correspondence discussed during meetings or forwarded to the membership of committees in which Alice was involved. The resulting correspondence index will reflect correspondents from throughout the collection. So people looking for correspondence written by Emil Notti or William L. Hensley can do so.
Another reason I am excited to create this index surface glance of the people involved in improving the quality of life and ensuring equality for Alaska Natives. From what I have already noted, there is a significant amount of correspondence related to the passing of ANCSA. Lists of correspondents include Emil Notti, Eben Hopson, Donald Wright, Nels A. Anderson, Paul Bokyo, Walter Hickel, Mike Gravel and so on. But then there are the other facets of the AFN organization that focused on education, health, public relations, personnel, and job training. And some of their names will be reflected in the index due to the correspondence Alice brown kept.
And the final reason that I find creating this detailed list so exciting: I get to spend more time with Alice’s papers!