Spring Processing Finds

This post was written by Bill Keeler, Processing Student Assistant. Bill has a Bachelor of Arts in History with a focus in American History from George Mason University.

The act of reprocessing a collection is about what half of my time here at SCRC is spent doing. While, processing a previously untouched collection is incredibly enjoyable, the amount you can learn from the mistakes of others can be incredibly beneficial. From transparently cut corners to general laziness, mistakes within the first third of the Zelda Fichandler collection have been…eye-opening. The laziness mentioned ranges from insufficient folder information, incorrect spellings of names, as well as incorrect or missing information regarding the date ranges of foldered items.

With many potential obstacles in front of me, the first step was to have a clear understanding as to the actual contents of the collection were and not rely completely on the previous finding aid for accurate information.

From the outset of the project I knew I would be in for a challenge by just ascertaining the true depth of the collection and its rich materials. Unfortunately, the current folder naming conventions are not also reflections of what is located inside a given box or folder. Determining the correct amount of time surveying the collection largely comes down to intuition. Though, there is a breakpoint in which spending too much time surveying is a net loss on total processing time so finding the happy-medium is always preferred. Now, onto one of the many hidden gems of the collection!

Before his days of hunting for Great Whites off the Amity coast on the silver screen, Roy Scheider acted on the stage. The letter below not only illustrates his passion and interest of heatre (in a broad sense), it also magnifies the important role Zelda played in nurturing individuals’ flowering careers and they lengths they were willing to go in order to work with Zelda. It is finds like this that make the reprocessing…process quite enjoyable—knowing that it not only exists but that now, with its soon-to-be increased accessibility, items like these will be able to be properly utilized by all!

“Letter from Roy Scheider to Zelda Fichandler. June 16, 1962.”
Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.


This is the first part of a two-part post highlighting the previously “lost” items in the Zelda Fichandler collection. Stay tuned for Part II which will be chock-full of great finds!


Bonus content alert!!!!

Items within the Randolph H. Lytton Historical Virginia collection were recently sent upstairs to Amy Sullivan, Preservation Librarian, because they were in dire need of her attention. Many of these items had a lot of great archival goodies inside! Below is just one of the may cool finds.

Both images are from the Randolph H. Lytton Historical Virginia collection.

The items were two previously untitled photographs, which were quite unassuming upon our initial survey and subsequent processing of the collection. The photographs turned out to be two originals that were displayed in a Matthew Brady exhibition during the height of the United States’ Civil War. While it is difficult to identify who took the photographs, the locations in the images as well as where they were displayed are both known.

This is, sadly, Bill Keeler’s last Student Reflections blog post – he will be going on to bigger and better things this Fall when he attends his first semester of Library School! Good luck with everything Bill, and thank you for all of your hard work!

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 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 request and view collections.