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Primary Sourcery Blog

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162 Years in the making: 5 Black, African and African Americans who pushed the YMCA to be better.

The context and understanding which the study of archives provides allow researchers to discern the historical underpinnings of current events, and the evolution of ideas over time. Within the Kautz Family YMCA Archives, the history of Black, African, and African Americans within the organization reveals contributions that have strengthened and clarified the scope and breadth of the YMCA.

A panoramic photo showing four staff people dwarfed by the 80 boxes of the recently processed Outfront MN collection.

‘It Was Exhilarating!’

By Lisa Vecoli Curator of the Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Every month the curators provide a report of our activity so that our colleagues and library administration can see what we have going on. When I did my report this month, one of my bullet points was:  “Had a researcher […]


Celebrating and Connecting with the Chinese YMCA

Archivists are frequently called upon to preserve and provide access to the evidence of history, but we seldom have the opportunity to help make it. As part of our work, we document many communities, but less often do we have the opportunity to connect and cooperate with these communities to help them tap into their history and leverage it.

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2014 Clarke Chambers Travel Fellowship recipients visit the Social Welfare History Archives and Kautz Family YMCA Archives

By Linnea Anderson, Archivist, Social Welfare History Archives The fellowships were established in honor of Clarke Chambers, Professor Emeritus of History and the founder of the Social Welfare History Archives, to support use of archival collections in the Social Welfare History Archives and Kautz Family YMCA Archives. The fellowships fund travel to the archives by […]


Celebrating 150 Years of Finnish Immigration to Minnesota

By Ellen Engseth Curator, Immigration History Research Center Archives and Head, Migration and Social Services Collections October 30 was something of a “Finnish – American Day” here at the Immigration History Research Center Archives (IHRCA). First, we co-sponsored (with our partners the Immigration History Research Center of the College of Liberal Arts) the symposium entitled From […]


Sabbatical Musings

by Tim Johnson Curator of Special Collections and Rare Books and E.W. McDiarmid Curator of the Sherlock Holmes Collections In early 2013 the annual call went out from Wendy Lougee, University Librarian, for professional development leave proposals, otherwise known in academic circles as sabbaticals. Having been at the University for seventeen years, I thought it […]


Tricks & Treats: The Halloween Blackout of 1957 & The Transistorized Pacemaker

The University Archives is the repository of the C. Walton Lillehei papers, a collection of materials that document Lillehei’s entire professional career as a cardiac surgeon. The Open Heart Project, a six-month effort to identify and make materials in this unprocessed collection accessible to the public for research, has uncovered primary sources that question the often repeated narrative of the invention of the battery-powered pacemaker.


U of M Acquires the Children’s Theater Company Records

By Kathryn Hujda, Assistant Archivist/Processor, Performing Arts Archives and Literary Manuscripts How do you move 50 years of theater history? After a long courtship beginning before 2008, the University of Minnesota formally acquired the records of the nationally-renowned Children’s Theater Company in early 2014. The collection, an overwhelming 780 cubic feet of production records, administrative […]


Conan Doyle on the Eve of World War One

On the eve of what we now know as the First World War, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took up his pen to warn fellow citizens of a possible danger to his country. This danger came in the form of the submarine, and its use in unrestricted warfare on merchant marine fleets carrying goods—primarily foodstuffs—to the United Kingdom.


How Facebook can actually be a good use of time: Social media and the promotion of archives

Whatever study promoted the idea that using social media cuts into work productivity might be a slightly mistaken. Without Facebook, for example, the promotion of the newly acquired (and not quite processed) National Parks and Recreation Association collection might never have happened!