A Preliminary Survey of Archival Materials at MCLA

This past week I was able to meet with the MCLA reference librarian who has already helped me a great deal in figuring out what kinds of materials are available to me for this project. Unfortunately, there have been a few drawkbacks already. The MCLA archivist left last year, so it has been left up to the reference librarian to keep track of all the archival materials. Luckily, she has been extremely kind and helpful. I also learned that attempts to archive non-administrative documents and artifacts here at MCLA did not begin until about 20 years ago. This means that there is not a great deal available to me, especially in the era I’m focusing on. However, I have already looked through some wonderful photo albums, yearbooks, and course catalogs from the era and have found a number of other documents that will certainly be useful to me. She also directed me to the local newspaper and the city directory, which the library has on microfilm, as well as the City’s annual reports.

I have also started looking at the North Adams Public Library, which recently lost its archivist as well. They have a number of collections, though few that deal with the correct time period. Still, there are two specific collections I’m interested in browsing: The Monday Club Collection and the Ruth B. Browne collection. Both contain some interesting facets of North Adams life in the Early 20th century such as photographs, newspaper clippings, newsletters, clubs and town activities.

Due to time conflict I was not able to visit the North Adams Historical Society and Museum but I plan on contacting them this week. I’m interested to see what they have to share! I have also been directed to the Pittsfield Public Library and Williams College Library, which may hold larger collections that pertain to this project.

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