The Olive Tree
Early Board of Trustees Records Discovered -- Twice
In the Fall of 2005, Karen Storrman, who works in the office of Vice-President Janet Waldron, came across something unexpected in the inactive office files that she was sorting—three bound volumes containing the earliest Board of Trustee records for the University of Maine, and its predecessor, the State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts. Stunned by discovery, Storrman immediately called the Special Collections unit of Fogler Library to see if they wanted them. Not realizing that these were original hand-written minutes, and knowing that the Library already had a set of printed copies of minutes for the Board of Trustees, Richard Hollinger, Head of Special Collections, decided to postpone a decisions about accepting them until a comparison could be made between the current Library holdings those records held by the Vice-President’s office.
This opportunity came about two months later when the records survey of these materials was conducted of this office. In the course of making a detailed inventory of what was in the boxes of Board of Trustees minutes, Hollinger found the early records. Buzzing with excitement about their discovery, Hollinger and Brenda Steeves, the archivist hired to conduct the records survey, returned to the Library with the early volumes of records. It was not until some time later, however, that they learned that Storrman had discovered these very same records months earlier.
Library Seeks to Establish University Archives
For a number of years, Fogler Library has sought funding to establish and maintain a University Archives, staffed by a full-time archivist. In late 2005, a significant step was taken towards this goal, when the Library received a $5,000 grant from Maine State Records Advisory Board to begin planning for a University Archives. With the grant and with matching funds provided by the Vice-President for Administration and Finance, the Library has hired an experienced archivist, Brenda Steeves, to conduct a survey of the records of selected offices of the University.
“It is standard practice to begin the establishment of an archives with a survey of the records in all the offices of an institution, “ explained Richard Hollinger, Head of Special Collections, “so that you can identify and preserve the more important records before they are lost or destroyed.” In this case, the Library has the resources to survey only a 20% representative sample of the records, but this will be enough to provide the data needed for long-range planning of the archives.
Although, because of a lack of storage space, the Library has not been routinely accepting the important historical records that have been identified during the survey project, an exception was made for the earliest Board of Trustee minutes, dating from 1865-1908, which were in the records of the Vice-President for Administration and Finance.
The records survey will be completed in February 2006, and the data collected will be used to prepare a report on the resources needed to establish and maintain an archives. The Library plans to create a fund to provide support for this program. Donations to this can be sent to: Archives Fund, Attn: Susan Clement, 5729 Fogler Library, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469.
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