Finally, after two years of hard work, an email arrived from my former supervisor, Jessica Geiser, telling me that the Congressman George Brown Papers were done! They were processed and posted online for the whole world to see! Fantastic news, and, yet, it made me a little sad, a little teary-eyed.
Large projects, ones that take years to come together and require meticulous planning, are hard to leave behind. They train your brain to always be solving problems, thinking simultaneously about near and far future goals, and to prioritize and multitask. I’ve felt this way about other archival projects I’ve been apart of; and I am sure that I will feel this way when I am done with my dissertation.
But there is also a lot of joy in seeing a project through to its conclusion. The whole purpose of processing George Brown’s papers was to make his work available to researchers, to represent his four-decade long service to the people of California, and to insure Brown’s proper inclusion in the history of American science and exploration. And that has been achieved.
This collection, which started out as more than 800 linear feet of documents stuffed haphazardly into file boxes, is now preserved and available in the Special Collection & University Archives of Rivera Library at the University of California.
Although I am intimately familiar with the documents in the collection and know that the collection is rich in breadth and depth, I cannot wait until scholars trained in American history and politics, science and conservation start using it in their research. Time can only tell what innovations they will make!
Press Releases and Articles:
- “The service of a Congressional champion of science and civil rights is being documented at the UCR Library.” (I am one of the “students” mentioned in the article)
- “George Brown Papers Now Open for Research“
- “The Legacy of Congressman George E. Brown, Jr“
- “George Brown Collection Open for Research“
[Image is from Wikipedia and the U.S. House of Representatives, and is used under a Creative Commons License.]