This week, as I was writing my Century America contract, I began to realize that a different portion of the project is about to begin. Over the past several weeks that I’ve spent in the archives, all of my ideas and hopes for my Century America project have remained somewhat abstract. However, as I was writing the milestone dates for my project, I realized how “real” and tangible the project is beginning to feel. The prospect of actually working on the website is one that I am very much excited about. I am looking forward to sharing all of the work that I have done and all of the unique and unpublished documents that I have found over the last few weeks. I think the story of A.G.T.I. and Montevallo in the WWI-context is a very interesting one, and I am glad to have the opportunity to share this story with such a (potentially) large audience. However, I’ve also never shared my work on such a large scale, and being something of a perfectionist, I am having to learn to not be a stumbling block in my own path. That’s why I’m glad I have other people to hold me accountable!
So far, this week has turned up a few promising leads and a few dead ends. I spoke with the president of the Shelby County Museum and Archives earlier in the week, and he indicated that much of the material that they have in their holdings can also be found in the archives located on my university’s campus. Because of this, I do not know whether I will attempt to make a trip to their facilities. They do have a few items that my university does not, such as marriage records, census information, and death records. Because of the angle that I am taking with my site, however, I do not believe this information will be particularly beneficial in constructing my site’s narrative. I was informed today by my university’s archivist that the Shelby County Museum and Archives may have some images that may be of interest, so I may attempt to reestablish communication with the president and inquire about these images. In addition to contacting the county archives, I also spoke with someone from the Alabama Department of Archives and History earlier in the week, and it appears that all of the files of interest in the WWI Gold Star Database are downloadable. At this point, I need to speak with someone about appropriate attribution and the necessary permissions to publish, if any exist.
I also spent a few hours in Montevallo’s archives today and on Tuesday. I have prepared a list of materials that I would like digitized for my project, and this information has been furnished to the university’s archivist. I have also provided him with a list of the milestone dates in my Century America contract, and I have offered to help with the process of scanning the requested items. I am emailing the university’s official photographer shortly to speak with him about viewing some representative images of Montevallo from within the last several years to provide for the overarching site. I will have these modern images, as well as images from 1914-1919, to Jack by the specified date. At this point, I am trying to finish going through the newspapers from the period, and I am placing additional scanning requests for newspaper articles. I am also requesting digitized versions of poems, writings, and images from the yearbooks. I will be doing the same for the academic bulletins tomorrow and Saturday.
I have started to experiment with my Century America website. Let me know what you think about the theme, concept, and layout! All feedback is welcome! My site can be found here.