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July 26, 2012 / Charlie McNabb

Summer 2012 Archives Adventures

It’s been a busy summer here in the archives! I have gotten a lot of work done on the Steven McNabb Collection, continued to develop my Bigfoot research, and started a new ethnographic project.

Although I received the Steven McNabb materials last summer, I haven’t had much time to process them because I moved twice and have been distracted with classes and other work. I’ve also felt somewhat intimidated because I am still a novice and the materials are so important to me.  So I bided my time and have been learning as much as I can about best practices in archival processing.  This summer I finally started and have made some real progress, though much work remains.

I systematically went through all of his folders and inventoried them, assigning identification numbers and loose titles and transferring them to acid-free folders.  I am conserving his original order and titles where he noted them; my assigned titles are descriptive only.  As of right now, the entire document collection is rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes.  It’s a great relief to know that his work is more stable now- it lived in the garage for over a decade and we’re lucky that there don’t seem to be any major preservation issues.  Next steps: remove rusty staples and paperclips, weed duplicates, rehouse photographs and other media, and create and publish a finding aid.

Here’s how the archives looks at this point- tiny and cramped!

My Bigfoot research has continued steadily.  My last witness interview was in April and I think I am calling a halt to more interviews.  I have a wealth of data and need to finish analyzing it in order to write this article or book or whatever I end up producing.  I really enjoy ethnographic research and it’s a pattern for me to just keep doing interviews and avoid the actual writing- so I’m buckling down now!  I gave a lecture entitled “Vernacular Religion and Bigfoot Lore” this month for a Folklore class that was well received, so I plan to develop it into a conference paper or perhaps a book chapter.

Also this summer I started a new research project on menarche narratives.  I hosted a Moon Party and had several friends over to eat red velvet cupcakes, make uterus themed art, and talk about our experiences with our menstrual cycles.  It was great fun and the collaborative group interview is full of interesting data.  Initially I was curious about family dynamics and political orientation, but much more fascinating themes emerged. Stay tuned to find out more!


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