Robert Clark papers and the Process of Processing

Robert (Bob) Clark was born in May 1922 in Omaha, Nebraska. He received a B.S. and M.A. while studying journalism and politics. He went on to become a Washington and White House correspondent for ABC News throughout the 1950’s and 1970’s, but continued to work for ABC until the 1990’s. Most notably, he covered and witnessed the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Later in his life, around the 1990’s, he was a guest commentator on C-SPAN. Bob Clark passed away in December 2015.

I have been fortunate enough to process this collection in its entirety. This is something I have wanted to do for a little while now. I am currently the Research Services Assistant, which means my main tasks are to assist researchers and answer questions they have along with updating our social media sites. This role is a graduate student position here at GMU and I have worked here since August of 2015. I have been lucky enough to pick up other tasks within my position, and processing is just one of those things that I have wanted to learn more about. Since this was a small donation, it was a great collection to start with. The donors, Douglas and Sandy First, were neighbors of Robert Clark and had organized his papers into five boxes which were then given to us. My first step was to re-folder all of the papers. Some were already in folders but many papers were placed in the boxes. I took papers out of old folders and placed them into new, acid-free folders. Other papers had to be organized into smaller sections based on the subject. There ended up being so many added folders that I had to add another box.

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Empty boxes that the Robert Clark papers were in when they were donated.

Once all of the papers were in new folders, I arranged them into Hollinger boxes. Most of the documents were already organized by subject. We typically keep all papers and materials in the same order they were donated in, if we can, so that SCRC staff and researchers can better understand the context and intent of the donor or author.

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Folders from all six boxes were then reorganized into these nineteen Hollinger boxes.

All folders have the collection title, “Robert Clark”, on the top left side. The middle of the folder is left for a brief title which explains the content, date, and sometimes the sort of materials that are in each folder. The right side always lists the box number followed by the folder number. In the image below, the folder says 8.1, meaning box 8, folder 1. This makes it easy for researchers to view our finding aid and know where to look for information and which boxes to request. It also helps keep everything in order. At this point, I had a pretty good idea of the contents of these boxes. I knew that I wanted to organize them into six series: JFK assassination, Politics, Foreign relations, Domestic issues, Personal files, and ABC files. But first, an inventory had to be made.

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The boxes are then organized into series by subject. Folders are labeled with the collection name, a description of what the folder contains, and a number which lists the box and folder.

An inventory is the first step to creating a finding aid which will later be uploaded to the website for people to search. The only information required for this step is box and folder number, title, and date of materials in each folder.

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All of the information is placed into Excel to create an inventory of the materials to eventually be used for making the Finding Aid.

We currently use Archivists’ Toolkit for our collections. After the boxes are organized and the Excel inventory was created, I filled in the necessary information such as the description and container summary. I listed the six series that I thought best organized the collection and I added notes about copyright, restrictions, the donation and other details that go on our finding aids. Once that is completed, I hit the “Export EAD” button, which saves the file so it can be opened in Notetab and coded for our website. When all the coding is done, an html file is created and is made available to the public.

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Archivists’ Toolkit file for Robert Clark

The final step was to print out labels, place them on the boxes, and shelve them in our stacks with the other collections. Now the Robert Clark papers collection can be searched online, used for research, or used by SCRC staff for social media posts!

Putting labels on the new boxes before shelving.

Putting labels on the new boxes before shelving.

 

To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to view collections.

Fighting for Freedom: The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area

The League of Women Voters was formed by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 before the 19th amendment had been passed, allowing all women the right to vote. Multiple local leagues were established in counties and cities around the United States. In 1948, a League of Women Voters was created in Fairfax but was reestablished and stabilized in 1964 shortly after Fairfax City became separate from Fairfax County. Since 1948, the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area (LWVFA) has fought for many issues and provided educational resources to women and men on how to vote, choose candidates, information on current issues and much more.

Doc.1 The 1985 Congressional Forum regarding women in the Senate and House. Some issues regard the difficulty for women to gain experience and feel encouraged and confident enough to run for a seat in the Senate or House. There is also a list comparing women in these types of positions around the world. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 13, Folder 02, Page 2/2 of "Our Daighters' Daughters Will Adore Us ," Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc.1 The 1985 Congressional Forum regarding women in the Senate and House. Some issues regard the difficulty for women to gain experience and feel encouraged and confident enough to run for a seat in the Senate or House. There is also a list comparing women in these types of positions around the world. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 13, Folder 02, Page 2/2 of “Our Daighters’ Daughters Will Adore Us ,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

From the table in Doc. 1, Denmark’s People’s House had the largest percentage of women in a legislative role at 26.8% in 1985. Norway’s Stortinget followed  with 25.8%, while the U.S. Senate had 2% and the U.S. House had 5% of women involvement. Today, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union updated in February of 2016, the U.S. is ranked 95 out of 185, with women holding 19.4% of the House, and 20% of the Senate. Some of the countries ahead of the U.S. are Cuba, Mexico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Canada.

Aside from urging more women to run for seats in the House and Senate, the LWVFA have fought for a number of environmental and class issues, female reproductive rights, equal pay among many others.

Doc. 2 references the pay gap of .64 cents earned by women for each dollar that a man earned in 1984 for full-time work. Currently, the wage gap stands at .79 cents for every dollar that a man makes in 2016, according to The American Association of University Women. This percentage is the average gap, but can shift slightly due to many factors such as age, education, race, location, and occupation.

Doc. 2 Document from LWVFA President, Sue Anderson, in February 1984 regarding equal pay. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, "Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area dated February 27, 1984," Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 2 Document from LWVFA President, Sue Anderson, in February 1984 regarding equal pay. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, “Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area dated February 27, 1984,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

The LWVFA also opposed and urged Congress against the Kemp amendment to Title X in 1985 (Doc. 3), which would remove federal funding for family planning at any organization or institution that performed abortions or provided abortion counseling. This amendment was passed and few alterations have been made.

Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, Page 1/2 of "Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area to Congressman Frank R. Wolf dated November 25, 1985," Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 3. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, Page 1/2 of “Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area to Congressman Frank R. Wolf dated November 25, 1985,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

There has been a lot of correspondence between members of Congress and the LWVFA. League members wrote to leaders about issues of concern and received many responses back, often positively, from members of Congress thanking them for expressing their views. C0031B30F14: topics within these letters regard the Clean Air Act Amendment bill, the Equal Rights Amendment , and congratulatory letters to the elected President, Leslie Byrne, in 1981.

C0031B39F09: document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area records, Collection #C0031, Box 39, Folder 09, “Bylaws of the League of Women Voters of the United States,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Bylaws were amended as of May 3, 1948.

C0031B27F03: document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection #C0031, Box 27, Folder 03, “How to Judge a Candidate” and “How to Watch a Debate,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Documents were created for the Presidential Election of 1986.

 

 

For more information about the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, important issues, and information on voting, visit http://www.lwv-fairfax.org/.

For information about Carrie Chapman Catt or the history of the League of Women Voters, go to http://www.catt.org/ or http://lwv.org/.

For information about the LWVFA records in the Special Collections Research Center at George Mason University, you can view our finding aid and contact speccoll@gmu.edu to look through our collection.

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth!

Key to the city of Fairfax from the Joseph L. Fisher papers, Collection #C0028, Box 116, Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University.

Although we don’t collect a lot of political memorabilia, this key to the city of Fairfax from the Joseph L. Fisher collection is a pretty cool piece. It was given to Fisher on July 4, 1979.

Fisher’s career, spanning over fifty years, included planner member of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia’s 10th congressional district (1974-1981), Virginia Secretary of Human Resources, special assistant to the president of George Mason University, and president of the National Academy of Public Administration. In addition, Fisher was deeply involved in community activities, having been chairman of the Arlington County Board, chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), president and chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG), and moderator and chairman of the board of the Unitarian Universalist Association. He also wrote several books, including World Prospects for Natural Resources (1964) and Resources in America’s Future (1963).

The Joseph L. Fisher collection relates to Fisher’s career as an economist, educator, and U.S. Congressman. The materials include lectures and comments on conservation and natural resources, scrapbooks, pamphlets, appointment books, and correspondence. Materials that relate to his political career in U.S. House of Representatives include correspondence, speeches, press releases, reports, newspaper clippings, issue papers, testimony, statements, questionnaires, background publications, guidelines, charts, and legislation.

The finding aid for the Fisher collection has been recently updated.

Collection of “Frankly Speaking” Radio Shows Looks Back to the 1980s

A seven-inch reel containing a program from the “Frankly Speaking” radio series. “Frankly Speaking” Radio Show records. George Mason University Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright George Mason University.

What issues were on the minds of Northern Virginians during the beginning of the 1980s?  A collection of public service broadcasts recorded by George Mason University’s GMU Radio offers some clues.  “Frankly Speaking” was a series of weekly radio shows which featured discussions about current topics of interest.  A recently-processed collection, the “Frankly Speaking” Radio Show records, contains 156 recordings from between 1980 and 1984 and notes from each broadcast.

Memo regarding the July 17th episode of “Frankly Speaking” entitled: The Parkway: Where, When, and Why. “Frankly Speaking” Radio Show records. George Mason University Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright George Mason University.

The Fairfax County Parkway is a 33-mile 4-lane highway which runs from the Fort Belvoir area at U.S. Route 1 in eastern Fairfax County to the Dranesville area at Va. Route 7 west of Tyson’s Corner.  Planning for the Fairfax County Parkway, originally known as the Springfield Bypass, began in the 1970s.  Construction began in 1987 and finally wrapped up (for the most part) in 2012. During construction 55 homes and five places of businesses were uprooted in order to complete the highway.  A July 1981 episode of “Frankly Speaking” entitled The Parkway: Where, When, and Why discussed Parkway plans with Fairfax County opponents and proponents of the project.

Listen to The Parkway: Where, When, and Why

The town of Colchester in eastern Fairfax County was established in 1753 as a tobacco center on the Occoquan River. Thomas Mason, the son of George Mason of nearby Gunston Hall, frequented Colchester, running a a ferry from the north side of the Occoquan to the south side in the later 1700s.  By the end of the 19th century Colchester was in decline and died off, mostly due to the success of rival Alexandria.  In an August 1982 broadcast archaeologists from George Mason University and Fairfax County discussed archaeological surveys of Colchester done during the summer of 1982.

Listen to Digging out History in Virginia

In a December 1982 program entitled Economics and Electioneering, George Mason University faculty member W. Mark Crain discussed the increasing necessity of political candidates to market their campaigns to the public, generating, spending, and sometimes even making, large sums of money.

Listen to Economics and Electioneering

In an episode dealing with the fledgling home-computer market, July 10, 1983’s Computer Tips for Consumers examines the difficulties experienced by first-time users just getting into the home computer market.  The learning curve was steep with early home computers, as there were few standards with respect to software and hardware platforms.  A guest on the show prophetically observes that even though many users have trouble finding appropriate applications of computer technology in the home,  “it is becoming more and more true that computers are being used in every facet of business and… everyday use.  You can hardly function during the day without coming in contact with… a computer.”

Listen to Computer Tips for Consumers

Taken as a whole, the collection provides a look into not only significant issues of the day, but George Mason University’s involvement and community outreach with regard to these issues. The collection is open to researchers for use in Special Collections & Archives.  A finding aid to the collection can be found at:

http://sca.gmu.edu/finding_aids/gmufranklyspeaking.html