Rachel Ann Brune Papers
Today was Arts & Crafts day! I focused on the 3 smallish green hardcover books that Ms. Brune used as notebooks. These books were full of post-it notes and one had some random papers inserted inside the book. In order to retain provenance, it was decided that I would put those in a separate folder, marking which book they were from. However, from the covers, the books are identical. So, first job was to come up with a way to differentiate the books in a logical order and in pencil, mark them "Book 1", "Book 2", and "Book 3".
This was a bit slow going. While there are dates in the books, they are of the day and month, not year. In one, I find a reference to a model 2008 automobile which puts these at being among the most recent of the items in the collection. Something else quickly became apparent: these books are not what we thought they were. Most of the papers reference or are of her Journalism career in and out of the Army. A quick scan of these books showed them to be notes and there's plenty of contact numbers and dates for various events and meetings. Reading them more closely and the notes are more akin to class taking and seem more related to the part of her career as an MP officer. Once I did find some references to the years of 2009 and 2010, I was positive these books were indeed after all of her Journalist writings. One of my first assignments was typing up the pre-interview information concerning her which included the various bases she was stationed at, her dates of deployment, and in what capacity she served. I checked it because I was remembering a detail from that confusing list and was rewarded that this did coincide with what I was remembering, her time in officer's school that was immediately preceding her last deployment.
It is interesting that considering how much we got from her concerning her earlier deployments, from the newspapers she contributed to and all the letters from families and friends, there is comparatively little from this period. There correspondence reduces to a trickle past 2006 with only a single card from 2010. If not for these books, I would have completely forgotten there was another chapter to her career, one that is barely covered apart from what is found in these pages.
A big part of the day was going through and making copies of the post-it notes on "acid free" paper. I tried for the most part to copy the notes as they were on the page. In some cases, she overlapped notes or just plain put notes on top of other notes. One page had almost 12 notes stacked on top of each other. I should point out that the post-it notes varied in size from about the standard small squares to about 3 inches by 5 inches. In those cases, I arranged them in a group to copy on a standard size.
After copying, it was fun with scissors as I trimmed the pages down in order to fit in the books.
I was then shown how to create custom folder/boxes for the books. My background in working in Pre-press at the newspaper came in handy at this point. I was already familiar and comfortable with working with the tools of rulers and xacto knives. By the end of the day, two of the three boxes were created.