Student Reflections – Andrew Morrison

This post was written by Andrew Morrison, Digitization Intern for the Fall 2018 semester. Andrew has a BA in History from George Mason University. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Applied History with a focus in American History and a specialization in Digital History from George Mason University.

I have greatly enjoyed my time interning at Special Collections Research Center (SCRC.)  I am a grad student in the history department.  During my time at Mason I have moved toward digital history and public history.  I am interested in being able to take physical documents and putting them online to share them with a wider audience.  That is exactly what this internship in digitization at the SCRC has allowed me to do.  It has given me valuable experience that goes perfectly with my degree and my goals for the future.

This semester I have worked on digitizing the Edith McChesney Ker collection.  This collection is huge, with over 10,000 items.  It consists mostly of photographs and 35mm slides.  Edith Ker traveled all around the world when creating this collection.  It spans over fifty years from the 1950s to the early 2000s.  She traveled through many countries, including Canada, Chile, Norway, Argentina, Guatemala, and many others.

Her photographs show everyday life in the countries she visited.  For instance, the photo below shows worker preparing dried cod for shipping.  It was taken in 1989 in Quebec.  This collection contains photos of local life such as outdoor markets, small town parades, and dances.  She was always able to showcase the beauty of ordinary life throughout the world.

Edith McChesney Ker collection, C0077, Box 13, Page 7, Item 13, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Edith Ker also took many nature shots.  Perhaps the most striking photos in the collection are of the beauty in some of the world’s most extreme environments that so few are able to witness for themselves.  The photo below shows stranded icebergs in LeConte Bay, Alaska in 1992.  There are many examples of great shots of nature in the collection.  Everywhere she went, Edith Ker took photos of mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and the many animals that make those places home.  There is no shortage of beautiful scenery in her collection.

Edith McChesney Ker collection, C0077, Box 15, Page 28, Item 19, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Another large portion of the Edith Ker collection is her safaris during the 1950s.  This part of the collection is primarily in 6 ½ by 4 ½ inch photographs.  She took many photos of animals during these safaris, such as the photo below with a lion enjoying some shade under a safari jeep.  This part of the collection has photos of herds of animals including zebras, giraffes, hippos, wildebeest, and gazelles.

Edith McChesney Ker collection, C0077, Box 48, Item 107, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Follow Special Collections Research Center on Social Media at our FacebookInstagram, and Twitter accounts. 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 or call if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to request and view collections.