Rachel Brune Papers.
I started off my second day typing up the preliminary description of items in the collection of the Rachel Brune Papers and the notes taken from an oral interview. Rachel Brune was an MP and journalist in Iraq. In looking up some of the information to make sure I was getting the spelling and terminology correct, I also discovered that as a civilian she is still writing articles related to the military life and perspective. This is a big collection and I will be working on it further. But, this gives a general overview of what the collection contains and some of the biographical data to be used.
The Woodall Sisters Collection.
This is a collection that the materials had already been sorted. My job was to go through each of the folders and describe the materials that were contained. This would require to use my own judgment on how detailed a description I thought was merited on items. For example, much of the correspondence was from the sisters to family members over general matters and life, not really needing to draw attention to. However, one letter from the sister stationed overseas talked about hearing the news of President Franklin Roosevelt and how it affected those around her, which I felt deserved of mentioning specifically.
From what I can tell about the collections that I will be working on, this collection is also a bit unusual in that it concerns two people instead of one. This made going through the materials a little difficult in remembering which sister was which, especially when referred to by their married names. When it came to their photographs, I could generally not tell them apart unless they were actually in uniform or through context (the two sisters served in different capacities, one as part of the WAAC and the other as a Navy nurse).
Another part of the job, as I went through the collection, I made notes of dates and significant benchmarks of their lives in order to be made use of when the time comes to write up brief biographies to accompany it.
I also made copies of the few news clippings that were part of the collection.An interesting one was a humorous take on how a husband was being left to fend for himself in the kitchen as his wife was shipping out for the War. Different times.
Overall, this was a good collection to start with. Already separated, it gave me a good idea of how materials are generally divided and grouped. It was good practice at reviewing the items and deciding how they related to the person, the collection, the overall Women Veterans Project and keeping in mind the potential researchers and users. It had a variety of materials but still small enough to pretty much work through in one day.
I am discovering that one of the joys of the job is being able to take the time to actually look at the material and to do further research if needed. Being able to quickly scan something to see if worth reading more fully in order to figure out relevance and if it has information to be used in the biographies is a bit novel. If you're lucky, a sense of the person, a narrative of their lives builds as you go through the material. My prior jobs in publishing as well as being part of the digital lab of the book conservatory, taking the time to read or research the material is generally counter-productive, no matter how tempting a phrase or name that jumps out might prove.