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New Archivist Begins on NHPRC Project

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The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) recently awarded $110,143 to the Pepperdine University Libraries’ department of Special Collections and University Archives. “Preserving the Past, Preparing for the Future: Building Sustainable Archival Collections,” will focus on the organization and description of Pepperdine University’s archival collections.

The University Libraries have started surveying the materials to begin processing, hiring Jamie Henricks as the Project Archivist on October 3rd. She is making excellent progress having surveyed 650 linear feet of materials in just a short time. Recently, Jessica Geiser, a UCLA graduate student, was hired to assist Henricks on the project. Over the course of the 18 month term, Henricks and Geiser will work closely with the Head of Special Collections and University Archives Melissa Nykanen and Archivist for Special Collections and University Archives Katie Richardson on the project. As a result of this grant, the University Archives and other collections related to Los Angeles and Malibu history, as well as the history of the Restoration Movement, will be more accessible for research and use by the local community and other scholars. As the project continues, Pepperdine students with an interest in University and local history will have the opportunity to help process collections and work with these unique materials.

Here’s what Henricks had to say about the project:

What is your educational background?

I received my undergraduate degree (a bachelor’s in health and fitness) from Texas Christian University in May 2007.  The summer before my senior year at TCU, I participated in a study abroad program in Oxford, England through Rhodes College, taking classes in the history of Roman Britain and about love and war in medieval literature.  The trip reminded me of my love of history and being around people interested in learning, which propelled me to apply to graduate school for library science.  I graduated from UCLA in June 2009 with a master’s in library and information science with a specialization in archival studies.

What interested you most about the project?

I am from Los Angeles, and growing up in a self-proclaimed “museum family” I have always loved local history.  Finding out I would be able to work with materials related to Los Angeles and Malibu history was intriguing!  Before Pepperdine, I worked at UCLA’s William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, processing a variety of collections including some with materials from the Los Angeles area related to fine press printing clubs and individuals associated with UCLA’s early librarians.  Another draw was the chance to work in an academic university environment again, partly because of my interest in institutional history, but I also felt the Pepperdine community was very welcoming.  I am starting to notice strong ties between members of the university, Los Angeles and Malibu residents, and people of the church.  It’s interesting to see how these people all show up in each other’s collections!

Which of the project’s collections seems most intriguing to you?

I think I would like to spend more time with the Elinor Oswald collection of Los Angeles tourism ephemera.  I love looking at ephemera, especially from earlier decades, because each piece can give an insight into what was going on at the time it was created, even in such a small object.  The chance to peer inside an advertising booklet can be fascinating to see what was popular and being promoted at the time.  (Tourism aside, one of my most amusing finds at my old job was a commemorative card celebrating members of a book club surviving being trapped in an elevator at a meeting!)  Additionally, I am also interested in diving into the large photo collection the university has.  The chance to connect faces with all the names I see in the paper collections is a real treat, and I am sure that visitors (online and in person) will enjoy browsing the photos, especially considering this is Pepperdine’s 75th anniversary year.

What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve found so far?

I was pleasantly surprised on my first day of work to find a 1984 Olympic torch from when the Olympics were held in Los Angeles!  Another fun find was a packet of bank deposit slips pre-printed with dates from the 1890’s, which had spaces to record deposits in silver, gold, or checks.  I love ephemera!

Henricks holding the 1984 Olympic torch.

To learn more about this project please contact Jamie Henricks at jamie.henricks@pepperdine.edu or (310)506-4209.

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