Looking through some boxes of old library records, I found the earliest history of my archives. Their very first appearance is in a 1949 memo from Librarian William Dix to President Houston:
It seems pretty persuasive to me and apparently Houston thought so as well. A committee was quickly up and running and they wasted no time in getting a notice into the Sallyport, explaining what they were up to and how alumni could help:
I’m especially charmed that they assumed any future historian who might be working on the history of the institution would be a man. As I think about it, I’m fairly sure that my sex is not the only thing about me that would have surprised them.
As I worked through the folder I was transfixed by these minutes, taken at a 1950 meeting of the committee. It’s just a list, but I can almost hear them talking as they try to figure out what records are where:
The records of the Rice estate trials are in the Fieldhouse, the architectural plans are in the attic of the Chemistry Building—this is exactly what I do today (or at least part of what I do today). It’s shocking how much stuff is still floating around both on and off campus.
So things seem to have gotten off to a good start. But it shouldn’t surprise any of us–at least any of us who work at universities–to find that they kind of got stuck here. I think they did go out and gather these materials, almost all of which we have, but then the committee just sort of petered out.
More to come.
I guess this is a cliffhanger.