A Sad Day in the Archives

Yesterday, I holed myself up in Special Collections for three hours pouring through the last of my primary sources to digitize.  I was hoping to match enlistment records to letters, but very few of the letters whose subject matter is interesting link their authors to an enlistment card.  My new plan is to digitize as many cards as possible for my project, cutting out any of them that reference testicles, “veneral warts”, and hemorrhoids. That is just too much information for my website, and I would prefer not be haunted from beyond the grave by soldiers whose ultra-personal information I put online.

I finally found the records and stories of some of the Kirksville soldiers during WWI.  Some of them are amazing.  I would tell them here, but I want them to be read as a whole collection on my real site.  So prepare yourselves for “War Stories”, because they are fantastic.  Some of them could be used for war movie scenes.  One in particular broke my heart.

I also found out which of my Kirksville soldiers died during the war.  Thirty-seven of them did not return home.  One of them made it home and then died from complications from an injury.  Many of them died before reaching France from influenza in camps.  One of them died from influenza in France after surviving the war.  One of the men fell from his horse in France and died.  Not a positive emotional day for archival research.  Listening to the King’s Speech soundtrack while reading didn’t exactly help the situation either.

The plan for this week:

Tonight: Skeleton Time

Tomorrow: Scan my brains out.

Friday: Have no social life and edit edit edit

Saturday: Have no social life and write or transcribe

Sunday: Have no social life and upload!

Monday: Get back to A.T. Still and start scanning their photos

Tuesday: Transcribe Letters or Record Readings

2 thoughts on “A Sad Day in the Archives

  1. Sounds like you’ve been productive, even if the stuff you’re finding isn’t the most pleasant part of your research. You are wise to steer away from the personal information on the enlistment cards. Medical confidentiality, even when we are dealing with people who are long-dead, is still important.

  2. I think it’s a good idea that you are going to sensor out the sensitive information–that’s a great way to pay respect to the deceased. I’m really curious about which war story is the one that broke your heart…you’ll have to let me know once it’s up (or if it already is) which one it is so that I can read it and cry a little bit (or a lot).

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