• 15 Nov 2012 12:20 PM | Anonymous member

    The minutes of the October 2nd meeting of the CAA Steering Committee have been approved and are available to view online here.

    If you have questions about the Steering Committee's activities, or any other CAA business, please contact us at

  • 18 Oct 2012 12:36 PM | Anonymous member

    Just in time for the kick-off of the celebration of the centennial of the American College of Surgeons, the description of the papers of ACS founder Franklin H. Martin, MD, FACS and his wife Isabelle, is now available online at The Martins’ memoirs, essentially scrapbooks with photos and memorabilia from 1901 to 1934 have been described and available to researchers for several years, with a sampling of the contents available online. Now a description of the entire collection is available online as a 54-page PDF describing 95 boxes of materials.


    Doctors Narhwold and Kernahan consulted many of these records in their research for the centennial history of the College, while the records were still being processed. They were privy to records about the first two decades of the history of the College, to which no other historian of the College over the century has had access. However, the sheer volume of the collection ensures that it will be essential reading for all those intending to write biographies of Franklin Martin, and will yield many more insights about the founding and early years of the history of the College.


    With over ten years of work by the ACS Archives staff, from the time the papers were discovered in 2001 in old rusty metal filing cabinets stored at the College’s historic Murphy Memorial Auditorium, to the completion of their full description in standard archival format, the description of the papers is now accessible by any researcher and free-text searchable. Over the course of the decade, the brittle memoirs were given de-acidification treatment and rehoused in polypropylene preservation-friendly sleeves for safe and easy handling by researchers. Archivists Susan Rishworth and Dolores Barber then completed a thorough inventory of the records allowing for item level description of all Martin’s correspondence. An arrangement scheme became more clear as more and more records were uncovered and the inventory grew.


    Among the items in the inventory are records of Martin’s early career as a gynecologist, including casebooks from 1891 to 1917; original records from the now defunct Chicago medical schools and hospitals which he was instrumental in founding dating from the 1890s; the full collection of memoirs which includes documentation of Martin’s service as Medical Director of President Woodrow Wilson’s civilian arm of the Council of National Defense during World War I and on which he served with other luminaries, such as Samuel Gompers, Bernard Baruch, Julius Rosenwald, Howard Coffin and Hollis Godfrey; item level description of correspondence from 1885 to 1935; background on his publications; photos, both formal and snapshots; hundreds of sympathy letters after he died; and much more.


    Please celebrate the ACS Centennial by delving into a description of the papers of its founder, Franklin H. Martin. For more information on accessing the papers themselves, contact Susan Rishworth, Archivist, American College of Surgeons,

  • 14 Oct 2012 9:28 AM | Anonymous member

    In honor of Archives Month, the Outreach committee looked into the early history of CAA. Using past newsletters from our archives, Jeanie Child prepared an overview of CAA activities in its first few years.


    In the early 1980s, concerns were growing about the massive stores records created by the City of Chicago and Cook County, stored in leaky warehouses and inaccessible to the public. Working to rectify this disregard for the area’s documentary heritage was one of the driving forces behind the creation of CAA. Members assisted with the State Archivist’s inventory of these records and promoted the creation of a central urban repository to house the materials. By 1985, it was clear that a city or county-run repository would not be created. Instead, Chicago and Cook County would become part of the Illinois Regional Archives Repository (IRAD) system. Today, the records that once languished in damp warehouses can be accessed at the IRAD facility at Northeastern Illinois University.


    Around the same time, CAA compiled a directory of 183 archival repositories using information from questionnaires sent to about 900 entities in the eight-county Chicago metro area. In the days before online resources such as the Illinois Archival Repositories Directory, this printed directory provided locations, hours, fees, description of holdings, and services descriptions for the diverse listings. Entries in Archival and Manuscript Repositories in Metropolitan Chicago and the Calumet Region of Northwest Indiana (1986) include the Salvation Army, Sears Roebuck and Co., Ft. Sheridan Museum; numerous local public libraries, historical societies, and religious repositories; and many institutions that are no longer in existence or are now under new management. Energetic CAA members obtained a $1000 grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, and several private gifts, that covered not only the costs of production and mailing but also two related workshops.


    In addition to promoting archives and professional activities, CAA built strong social traditions. The April 1985 newsletter notes, “CAA members have proven in the past that they never need a reason to celebrate with food and drink.” For the annual spring meeting of the Midwest Archives Conference, held in Chicago that year, CAA planned an open house to welcome archivists from around the region. Showing that they indeed were ready to dialogue, these professionally-minded CAA’ers announced “We will supply (the first) three cases of beer and some snacks.”


    CAA continues to offer opportunities for professional development and socializing. Please join us at one of our upcoming events and check out news from the community.

  • 05 Oct 2012 12:14 PM | Anonymous member

    The minutes of the August 16th meeting of the CAA Steering Committee have been approved and are available to view online here.

    If you have questions about the Steering Committee's activities, or any other CAA business, please contact us at

  • 02 Oct 2012 2:33 PM | Anonymous member

    After forty years of service, Kathryn DeGraff retired from DePaul University in August. DeGraff was most recently Special Collections and Archives Department Head. In her time at DePaul, she expanded the Special Collections & Archives’ instruction program and was instrumental in increasing the number of social justice manuscript collections at DePaul. You can read more about her work at


    Have you changed jobs, published an article, or presented at a conference? The CAA Outreach Subcommittee would like to spread the good news in a future edition of Member News. Send information about your professional achievements to; subject line “CAA Member News.”

  • 31 Jul 2012 7:30 PM | Anonymous member

    On 19 July, 10 people gathered at the Union League Club of Chicago to brainstorm ways to promote their collections and services during Archives Month. A lively discussion about on-site and virtual options resulted in a variety of ideas, including:

    • Create a myth-busing video that uses primary sources in the collections to refute (or verify) stories about an organization’s history. Universities and members organizations can use students and members, respectively, as actors and for other support in making and promoting the video.
    • Host an artifacts and family papers care day. Invite a conservator to consult with patrons and the public about their personal items.
    • Create a listening station where people can stop by and listen to sound recordings from the collections. Doing this in person is an opportunity for patrons to see original objects (e.g., wax cylinders) and engage you in a conversation about them. You can also create a virtual experience with streaming audio or downloads and show still images.
    • Contact local media and talk up a particularly interesting donation or sound recording for a local interest story.
    • Facilitate visits by students who are participating in National History Day. The 2013 theme is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.” With a little help from you, the Chicago Metro History Education Center can help make teachers and students aware of collections with material that might relate to this year’s theme.
    • Post a show slideshow of your favorite photographs or artifacts on your organization's internet. Make staff in other departments aware of and interested in your collections and services by sharing a few of the things that excite the archives staff.

    Do you have other ideas? Share them below in the comments section. All outreach ideas for all times of year are welcome.

    Other resources and ideas that can help you plan an Archives Month activity that is suitable for your institution are listed below. You can add to this list by posting in the comments section.

    • Society of American Archivists
      Provides ideas and practical tips on developing programs for Archives Month and enhancing your collections public awareness. You can also explore what other archives are doing for Archives Month and public awareness.
    • Society of Ohio Archivists
      Includes suggestions on Archives Month activities as well as a list of past events.
    • Wisconsin Historical Society
      Consists of Open House tool kits (including templates for press releases, signs, and invitations), program ideas, an event calendar, and access to past Archives Month ideas.
    • Council on State Archivists
      A resource for how state archives celebrate Archives Months; includes a directory of past events.
    • Sacramento Archives Crawl
      Sacramento Archives Crawl is an annual Archives Month event that takes place the first Saturday in October. Participants tour among four host archives in Sacramento, gathering stamps in their passports as they view treasures from dozens of archives and special collections libraries, visit with archivists, and go on special behind-the-scenes tours.
    • 31 Day Blogathon
      To celebrate Archives Month 2011, Archives throughout the Smithsonian Institution participated in a month-long Blogathon, with posts highlighting stories from the archives as well as challenges and issues facing archives.
  • 30 Jul 2012 9:00 PM | Anonymous member

    Mike Arbagi has accepted a position as archivist for the Society of St. Columban near Omaha, Nebraska.

    Lisa Labovitch has accepted a potion as a historian for the City of Everett, WA. Labovitch was previously the Director of Library and Archives at the Union League Club of Chicago.

    Heather Stecklein has accepted a position as University Archivist at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin. She will also serve as a Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Area Research Center, managing the historic records of three local counties. Stecklein served as archivist at Rush University Medical Center from 2005-2012.

    Congratulations Michael, Lisa, and Heather!

    Do you have a new job, certification, graduation, or other professional achievement to announce? Share your good news with the Chicago archives community. Send your information to, subject line member news.

  • 09 Apr 2012 10:00 AM | Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts

    Lisa Labovitch greatly enjoyed her first experience as a Chicago Metro History Fair judge and urges other CAA members to participate in 2013. Labovitch felt that the website judging was a very simple and interesting assignment that most CAA members could do in their spare time. For those who have evenings or weekends free, the on-site judging affords volunteers the opportunity to interact with students to learn more about their research interests and methods and learn what motivates them to pick their topics.

    The National Archives at Chicago is pleased to announce that two of its staff members, Glenn Longacre and Stephanie Phillips, passed the Certified Archivist exam in August 2011. Learn more about the Academy of Certified Archivists at

    Samip Mallick, formerly of the Ranganathan Center for Digital Information (RCDI) at the University of Chicago Library, has accepted the position of the President of the Board of Directors of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). SAADA is a startup non-profit organization with a mission to document, preserve, and provide access to South Asian American history through a digital archive, available at

    Rush University Medical Center archivists Heather J. Stecklein and M. Nathalie Wheaton contributed to the December 2011-January 2012 issue of Against the Grain: Linking Publishers, Vendors and Librarians (Volume 23, Number 6). The theme for the issue is “Trends in Health Sciences and Biomedical Sciences Information Provision.” Their article, “Mutual Advocacy: Developing Shared Outreach Programs with Institutional Partners,” encourages librarians and archivists to collaborate with other departments within their institution and take advantage of opportunities to participate in their events, publications, and committees. They provide examples from their own experiences at Rush University Medical Center. The archivists’ goal is to extend the Rush Archives’ visibility on campus and approach everyone on campus as a potential user or donor. Check out the article online, a password may be required:

    The article also featured profiles on both authors. The Against the Grain website recently selected Wheaton as its “Star of the Week.”

    Have you changed jobs, published an article, or presented at a conference? The CAA Outreach Subcommittee would like to spread the good news in next month’s Member News. We invite members to share their honors, appointments, and promotions. Please submit your information to; subject line “CAA Member News.”

  • 02 Mar 2012 10:00 AM | Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts

    Michael Arbagi recently published “The Catholic Church and the Preservation of Mesoamerican Archives: An Assessment” in Archival Issues (Volume 33, Number 2). The article examines the role of the Catholic Church in the destruction and eventual recreation of manuscripts, oral histories, and other records of the indigenous civilizations of Mesoamerica.

    Valerie Harris, Associate Special Collections Librarian and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), published an article in The American Archivist  (Volume 74, Number 2). “Politically Charged Records: A Case Study with Recommendations for Providing Access to a Challenging Collection” examines how the Special Collections Department implemented new collections management policies and procedures in the wake of a public relations crisis during the 2008 presidential election season. The article was co-authored with Kathryn Stine and adapted from a presentation at the MAC Annual Meeting in 2009. Check out the article online, a password may be required:

    Elizabeth Myers, Director of the Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola University, has been appointed adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. Myers will teach LIS 775: Archival Administration and Services this summer.

    Scott Pitol has joined the University of Illinois at Chicago as the University Archivist and Assistant Professor. He was previously the Corporate Archivist at The Pampered Chef, Inc.

    Congratulations to Michael, Valerie, Elizabeth, and Scott!

    Have you been promoted, published an article, or presented at a conference? The CAA Outreach Subcommittee wants to applaud professional honors and accomplishments in Member News. Please submit your information to; subject line “CAA Member News.”

  • 09 Feb 2012 10:00 AM | Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts

    Collection and Archive Out of Storage

    The Park Forest Local History Collection and Archive is out of remote storage, after five years of captivity in PODS!! The Park Forest Historical Society and Park Forest Public Library are working together to lease a space for the archive and the Society office and Digital Lab in the Church of St. Mary Catholic Church, 227 Monee Road on the southern edge of Park Forest, Illinois. The Village of Park Forest has contributed through a grant to the Society.

    Part of the collection, inlcuding 270 subject files, catalogued books on Park Forest and reports by the Village of Park Forest are housed at the Library at 400 Lakewood Blvd. As the collection in St. Mary’s gets better situated, more materials may be transferred from the Library. The Society is still storing some materials in another nearby church, as well.

    For an account of the move, with photos, read our latest newsletter on the website, accessible from the home page.  Free at last!

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