Sullivan Scholar works in the St. Mary’s Archive over the summer

Guest Blog Post (1 of 3) written by 
Taylor Schafer, SMCM ‘2015, Sullivan Scholar, Summer 2014

Hello archive followers! My name is Taylor Schafer. I am a rising senior and I have been interning in the SMCM Archives all summer. This is the first of three Blog posts.

The Archives is located in the basement of Calvert Hall and houses collections of artifacts, newspapers, photographs, letters, and publications relating to both St. Mary’s College and St. Mary’s County history. One of the main areas where College and County history interact is the SlackWater Oral History Collection. My task this summer was to add to this resource by conducting and transcribing interviews of local residents and community leaders, alumni, and longstanding faculty or staff who all have had an impact or were a witness to certain time in local history. In addition, I have been working on my St. Mary’s Senior Project (SMP) this summer, which involves conducting interviews with alumni, faculty, and staff. My project topic focuses around students traditions through the years and the 7 Wonders of St. Mary’s. The interviews I have been doing are helping to piece together the social history of St. Mary’s, which I hope to help publish with my completed SMP.Oral History Transcription

My main responsibilities this summer have included brainstorming and reaching out to potential interviewees, preparing for interviews, conducting interviews, transcribing interviews, following up with interviewees if needed, and organizing transcribed interviews for the SlackWater website and preserving the audio files. I have conducted some interviews on campus and have also travelled as far as Prince George County for others. Over the past nine weeks, I have transcribed over 220 pages of interviews, conducted ten interviews, some of which include with former College president Joe Urgo, Jayson Williams ‘03, Trinity Episcopal Church Rector John Ball, and Executive Director of Three Oaks Center Lanny Lancaster. I have had several learning opportunities this summer in the Archives besides learning how to conduct oral history interviews.

Of course, working in the archives, I’ve learned a large amount of content about St. Mary’s history as well. There’s so much history housed in the Archives that most community members do not realize. For instance, did you know that a 1900 graduate, Emily Louise Clayton Bishop, studied sculpture with Auguste Rodin and has artwork in several museums? How about that famous sculptor Hans Schuler designed and sculpted the Freedom of Conscience statue in 1935, and his son, Hans Schuler Jr., carved the College seal in 1970? There is so much fascinating St. Mary’s history to be uncovered in regards to the College and region. My work in the archives this summer has helped me not only realize that but also contribute to that material.

Next week I will write a Blog Post about memory and oral history interviews.  The following week I will touch upon the interviews with former presidents Joe Urgo and Jane Marget (Maggie) O’Brien, and transcripts of these interviews will be made available to the public.

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