Thanksgiving Week

Hello there, student worker speaking. So my boss is out for the week and I decided to take a brief break to blog. We’ve been working with the AHA records, trying to figure out how we will be organizing them… funny story, we first thought that they were meant to be organized by the certificate numbers on the folders, but that turned out to be wrong (there were repeated numbers). So then we’re sitting there looking through a few of the folders, trying to figure out a new order, and I ask Xaviera, “Why can’t we just contact whoever donated these?” And Xaviera just stares at me as if to say, “You are kidding, right?”

So in case you have the same question that I had, the donors for these collections are usually dead, otherwise they would have been contacted already and we wouldn’t be trying to figure this out ourselves. Makes sense, right?

Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving,



One comment

  1. Ya, it wasn’t where each person was assigned a general number, like when you’re waiting to return something at IKEA. The numbers were a lot more complex. Each digit in each number has a meaning. For example, the last digit always signifies what state, while another digit always stands for what form you were induced into the society under. The other digits were weren’t sure what they meant. And not everyone was induced under the same form. They aren’t consistent by state where in Arizona all applicant forms are form 6 and in New Mexico they are form 8. No. And they weren’t by age either or where older people fill out form 1 and newborns, where parents are filling out for them fill out form 2. We also considered that maybe a form number might represent a year or decade like all forms from 1945 are form 3s, let’s say. Again, no. That wasn’t the case.

    Then it got really confusing when we found two files where the membership numbers where sequential, induced one right after the other, same date, same form, all the other details were indicating that they were siblings, but then both were the same age and yet, only 4 months apart or something like that. I think it was at that point, we decided to go a different route. I consulted Chris Marin, our Project Consultant and recently retired Chicana/o Research Collection Curator. She thought the certificate numbers were member numbers too! And she had no idea that we had things from other states! A lot more unknowns than originally thought.

    And I did ask her, to double check to see if the donor was in fact dead. (She was.) As these collections come to me, I assume that my superiors have given me all the information I need to know to proceed to the next level/step and process the collection. So like in this collection, I believed most logically that if the donor was alive they would have asked her previously how it’s arranged–I would hope! Most often though the donor has passed and the steps to gain further provenance and original order information isn’t possible. I was hoping to explain that to Jose, but I missed by a long shot. Ha. While when he first asked me, my response was very much “…What?” I am happy now that he asked, because what if the donor was alive and no one thought to ask! For an archivist it might sound like a silly question, but for anyone else it really is the most logical question to ask.

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