_____________________Kansas City Area Archivists______________________

KCAA --- The Dusty Shelf --- 2000

Eastern Kansas -------------------- Vol. 18, Inclusive -------------------- Western Missouri


The Legacies of Elliott J. Sheeks

Elliott J. Deboe was eighteen, and on the cusp of adulthood, when she heard Rev. Louisa Woosley preach in a Kentucky revival. The moment transfixed her. It was 1890, and Woosley, a Cumberland Presbyterian, was opening doors throughout the Upper South for women to preach. Elliott Deboe took it all in, little realizing that within seven years she, too, would step behind the pulpit and assume the role of a gospel preacher. And herein hangs two tales: one from American religious history, and one from the archives.

Elliott Deboe was the second of nine children born to Kentucky farmers. She joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the church of her mother, at age eleven. In 1891 she married Edwin H. Sheeks, an affluent businessman some years her senior. She traveled with him for two years before they settled in Memphis, joined one of the city’s more fashionable churches, and settled into a conventional domestic life. But other forces already set in motion would alter their lives.

Elliott and Edwin Sheeks were soon drawn into the orbit of another Memphis resident, Robert Lee Harris, a youthful and engaging revivalist. Harris was a classic religious dissenter. As a youth in Texas, he gravitated to the Free Methodist Church, a predominantly Yankee sect sprung from the soil of abolitionism, thus anathema to most white Southerners. Harris also became aligned with a radical wing of Free Methodism that accepted women as preachers and sought their right to ordination. Though ordained to the ministry at the hands of B. T. Roberts, the Free Methodist founder, Harris eventually hoped to widen his sphere of influence and transferred his membership to the culturally dominant Methodist Episcopal Church, South. But he was irrevocably marked by his Free Methodist years and never fit easily into the M.E.C., South. When Elliot and Edwin Sheeks first met him, Harris was already on a collision course with Southern Methodist leadership.

In the summer of 1894, Harris announced that he could no longer belong to a church with bishops and formed an independent Wesleyan-holiness congregation in Milan, Tennessee, known as the New Testament Church of Christ. Edwin Sheeks with some reluctance, and Elliot Sheeks with some enthusiasm, joined the new church as charter members.

But Harris was a dying man. Tuberculosis claimed his life in November. His church should have withered away but extraordinary lay people -- mainly women -- assumed new roles as pastors and evangelists. His widow, Mary Lee Harris, emerged within a year as an active revivalist and a planter of new congregations. Milan businessman Balie Mitchum and his wife, Donie, became lay preachers. And Elliott Sheeks acknowledged a growing sense of divine purpose and preached her first sermon while assisting Mrs. Harris in a revival in Monette, Ark. A swelling network of churches led to the first general council in 1899, at which Mary Lee Harris, Elliott J. Sheeks, and George Hammond were ordained to the ministry.

Mrs. Harris’s primary focus was in western Texas, where she planted churches, married cowboy Henry Cagle, and organized the denomination’s Texas Council. Elliott Sheeks assisted the Mitchums in Tennessee at first, then struck out to plant churches in Arkansas, where the bulk of the Eastern Council’s congregations were located by 1905. Mrs. E. A. Masterman became Elliott Sheeks’s traveling companion and song evangelist as the latter itinerated from her home in Memphis to keep her pastoral appointments.

Often E. J. Sheeks was the pastor of more than one church at a time. In 1904, for instance, she was the pastor of three congregations in Tennessee -- located at Hillville, Luray, and Beech Bluff--and a fourth located in Stony Point, Arkansas. In her annual report to the Eastern Council at the close of the year, Mrs. Sheeks noted that she had preached 182 sermons, and "traveled 7600 miles in gospel work." She commented: "the churches of which I am pastor are all in good spiritual condition. There are good Sunday Schools and the prayer meetings run winter and summer." She also voiced her agreement with a decision taken that year merging the New Testament Church of Christ with another Southern body to form the Holiness Church of Christ.

She likewise performed yeoman service as secretary from 1899 to 1908 of the Eastern Council, taking and preserving the official minutes of the council’s annual meetings, receiving and filing annual reports from each minister and congregation, maintaining the official roster of ministers, and signing ordination credentials. As secretary, she was the council’s second ranking officer, and her willingness to assume the duty each year provided stability, since the council’s presidency changed nearly every year.

She also served as a fraternal delegate to the First General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene held in 1907 in Chicago. Shortly after returning from that event, her glowing report of that assembly to the Eastern Council ended in her motion, unanimously approved, to unite with the Nazarenes. That decision, and a similar one by the Texas Council, paved the way for the Holiness Church of Christ to merge with the Church of the Nazarene one year later at Pilot Point, Texas, north of Dallas.

The 1908 merger resulted in much of the old Eastern Council becoming the new Arkansas District, which Elliott Sheeks continued serving as district secretary and pastor of various churches until 1915. She was a persistent advocate for establishing a home for pregnant unwed girls, which eventually opened in Texarkana as a joint project of the Arkansas and Dallas Districts. In 1915 she and her husband moved to Greenville, Texas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in theology at a small Nazarene college. She continued to pastor congregations in Texas and served as Dallas District secretary from 1915 until 1923.

In 1925 she embarked on a new career: professor of religion at Bresee College in Hutchinson, Kansas. There she taught Christian missions, church history, and general introductory Bible courses. She also earned a second bachelor’s degree at nearby Sterling College, a Presbyterian school. She taught at Bresee College until it merged in 1939 with present-day Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma. Edwin Sheeks died in Hutchinson in 1935. Elliott died there eleven years later and was buried back near her hometown of Marion, Kentucky.

Elliot J. Sheeks

A portrait of Elliott J. Sheeks made in the early years of her ministry.  Nazarene Archives

Elliott Sheeks was one of those persons an archivist can love: she had a sense of history and she was a "keeper" of historical materials.  During most of her years at Bresee College, her president and religion faculty colleague was S. T. Ludwig, father of Martha Keys (U.S. congresswoman from Kansas) and Lee Hart (wife of former U.S. Senator Gary Hart). Ludwig’s trusty administrative assistant was R. R. Hodges, and when Ludwig became the Church of the Nazarene’s general secretary in 1948, he brought Hodges with him to Kansas City to manage his office. At some point, one of these men (probably Hodges, though its not clear) became custodian of Elliott Sheeks’ papers and records, which were placed, in due course, in the Nazarene Archives, over which Ludwig was the responsible officer and Hodges was manager.

Unfortunately, her collection’s integrity was not maintained. The church did not employ a trained archivist until 1979, and by then the materials that Elliott Sheeks had collected had been disbursed among hundreds of alphabetical subject files, none linked explicitly to her by an inventory or other finding aid.

The journal, for instance, in which she had recorded hundreds of pages of Eastern Council minutes, was placed with materials from other sources pertaining to the New Testament Church of Christ. Her extensive set of Bresee College materials—including yearbooks, catalogues, bulletins, programs, and student body photographs—were integrated with materials from the college donated by others. Her own subject file included only a few pictures and five term papers. Any idea that she had collected and passed on a collection of diverse and significant materials was lost.

E. J. Sheeks had autographed many of the materials that she had owned or created, however. After an inventory system was created for the archives in 1979, it became possible to reconstruct the main outline of her collection, beginning with the process of integrating the historical materials accumulated over a half-century into the new inventory system. And her collection continues to grow by a few pieces each year, sometimes through new accessions from those once associated with Bresee College, and sometimes through discovering materials in existing collections that should be cross-listed in the inventory of her collection.

And so it should be. A pioneer in her own right, Rev. Elliott J. Sheeks was a new kind of Southern woman whose achievements should not be forgotten.

Stan Ingersol
Nazarene Archives

Some paragraphs contain text written originally for the article "Unconventional Woman: The Ministry of Elliott J. Sheeks" published in Holiness Today (September 1999) and incorporated into this article with permission from the publisher.

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The Corner Chair
Eric Eugene Page, Senior Co-Chair

I am pleased to be a part of Kansas City Area Archivists and participate as Senior Co-Chair. Last summer I became the Site Curator at the Grinter Place State Historic Site in Kansas City, Kansas. The historic site is one of fifteen administered by the Kansas State Historical Society. Previously, I worked at the Unity Archives at Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, Missouri.

I have many mentors in this organization. Marilyn Burlingame at the University Archives, University of Missouri--Kansas City was the first to instruct me in archival principles when I was a college work-study student fourteen years ago! Many other members of this organization continue to encourage me in my work.

KCAA includes individuals and institutions from Missouri and Kansas. We are a diverse group with members working in a variety of local and regional institutions. More than half of us work in local, state and federal government agencies. A smaller group works in educational and religious institutions. Some also work in private historical societies, businesses, and associations. All of us are committed to preserving and making available historical records.

KCAA members will understand the knowledge we hold as individuals and the strength we hold as an organization. We are individuals with enormous potential. Each KCAA member has background and skills unique to them. Your archives may be a single entity or part of a larger organization. You are an expert about the collections you maintain, the collections you would like to acquire and about how your organization works. You may know some facets of archival work very well and others not so well. Remember that you can give guidance to new colleagues, as well encourage your current colleagues.

When we come together, we have the opportunity to share the ways we meet challenges, succeed at marketing, acquire collections and work within institutional frameworks. KCAA members together promote our institutions, improve professional standards, pursue cooperation with other disciplines, coordinate and encourage discussion about acquisitions, encourage professional standards and professional memberships. Remember to share your ideas and knowledge! We can learn much from each other.

Special thanks to the staff at the Harry S Truman National Historic Site for a memorable meeting and tour of the storage facility in September. Likewise, special thanks to the staff of the Johnson County Museum of History in Shawnee, Kansas, which hosted our December meeting. KCAA is an active organization with ongoing programs and we have an exciting half-year still ahead before our annual dinner in June.

The National Archives and Records Administration will host the March 9, 2000 meeting at the new Records Center in Lee’s Summit, Mo. Encourage your colleagues and join us!

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KCAA Listserve Update

UMKC, the host of the KCAA Listserve, has changed all of its listservs over to a new, more robust system. The new system gives subscribers more flexibility and control. Those who were on the old system must re-subscribe, and KCAA members who have never yet subscribed might also want to take this opportunity to join the list. One of the purposes of this list is to communicate information among KCAA members easily and quickly. To subscribe or re-subscribe, send a message to:


Leave the subject line blank. In the body of the text put only the following message:


You will receive a message asking you to confirm your subscription and then a welcome message. It will inform you, for example, that you may use the "NOMAIL" command to temporarily stop receiving messages - an ability we lacked under to old system. Messages posted to the list should be sent to: KCAA@umkc.edu 

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Proceeds from the KCAA auction, held in conjunction with the annual dinner, totaled $278.50. Many thanks to all who contributed so generously to this auction in support of KCAA’s Minority Internship Fund. Mary Hawkins, Treasurer

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Announcing KCAA’s New Publication

Keeping Your Past

Kansas City Area Archivists announces the publication of the new revised edition of "Keeping Your Past: A Basic Guide to Preserving Your Family Papers and Photographs."

This guide was published to introduce people to the basic "do's and don'ts" of preservation of family documents. The 22 page illustrated booklet gives useful guidelines to preserving papers and photographs. Included is information on the types and causes of document damage, how this damage can be prevented and what can be done if documents have already been damaged. Also included is a list of books for further reading, and information on how to contact a preservation expert if you need more assistance than the booklet can provide.

Ordering Information

Cost of the booklet is $8.00 for members of KCAA and $12.00 for nonmembers. To order this booklet, send your request along with a check or money order made payable to "KCAA" to:

Kansas City Area Archivists
Western Historical Manuscript Collection
302 Newcomb Hall-University of Missouri-Kansas City
5100 Rockhill Road,
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

Booklets can also be ordered via email by contacting:

swiontekb@umkc.edu or burlingamem@umkc.edu

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Changin’ Times/Stan Ingersol

In just a couple more issues, I’ll be singing my swan song as Dusty Shelf editor. I’ve enjoyed the experience, for the most part, and preparing each issue has been rewarding in several ways. Perhaps the most important reward is this: putting together a newsletter for a professional society is an education in itself. In fact, it is like a personal seminar. And I value what I’ve learned through this process.

But as Gene Decker told me ten years ago, a good newsletter can be the life’s blood of an organization. And that is especially true when so many of our members are not able regularly to attend our quarterly meetings. That is why it is time for a new editor. I’ve never been too good with deadlines, and for the past two years it has become an increasing challenge to get the newsletter out.

Beginning in the fall, we will need a new editor, or a team of co-editors. That person or team will be able to put their own stamp on the Dusty Shelf. Are you hearing the call?

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MidAmerican Archives
News of KCAA People & Repositories

Johnson County Archives
The Johnson County Archives has welcomed a new member to its staff, replacing Teresa Anderson who left after nine years to work in the family business. The new addition is Sara Ogilvie, who graduated from William Jewell College and gained experience by working on the registrar’s historical papers for that institution. She also had extensive records management experience with the Barnes and Noble bookstore chain. Sara’s primary area of responsibility will involve records management issues and coordination of efforts among the 35 county departments.

Recent additions to the collection have included a wide variety of public school records that were previously held by the Register of Deeds office. Many of these include detailed listings of student and parent names, ages, and grades as well as extensive information on teacher qualifications and examinations. Also included in these records are the original plat maps for all school properties. These primarily cover the period from 1915 to 1959.

Kansas State Historical Society
In April the Kansas State Historical Society received a substantial donation of Carry Nation materials. Dianne Kelly, a great-great niece of the famous prohibition crusader, who lives in Martinez, California, donated the collection of artifacts and paper materials. The steamer trunk holding the cache of materials was discovered in the upstairs of a carriage house owned by Kelly’s great aunt Callie Moore Blum, who lived in Kansas City, Ks. Dianne Kelly and her husband Jerald have treasured the materials, but they felt the fragile items needed to be preserved and stored in a secure and stable environment.

Among the items donated are letters written to and by Nation, including several written while in jail, sheet music, books, Bibles, pamphlets, photographs, newspaper clippings and miscellanea. This new acquisition complements and fills in gaps in the Society’s existing collections. These materials are available to researchers and can be viewed in the reference room at the Center for Historical Research. Two photographs from the donation are featured this month in an exhibit "In The Spotlight" which can be viewed at the museum.

The personal effects in the trunk ranged from articles of clothing to a watch presented to Nation in Scotland to false teeth. Items sold by her to raise funds for activities were included, such as the hatchet pins and a water carafe with a message from "Carry A. Nation, Your Loving Home Defender." Some of the objects will find their way into the "What’s New at the Museum" exhibit case, perhaps early in 2000. The possibility of including artifacts in an exhibit discussing Kansas and prohibition is under consideration.

The Kansas State Historical Society has just posted the Kansas Electronic Records Management Guidelines to the Web at http://www.kshs.org/archives/ermguide.htm The document is intended to help state agencies determine how best to create, capture, manage, preserve and provide access to their electronic records. The first draft was written by Dr. Margaret Hedstrom, through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The draft we have just posted to the Web, which has been updated to reflect a number of changes in the state IT environment and feedback from state agencies, is the product of a current NHPRC funded project. Any questions, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS) is engaged in an 18-month project, funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), which aims to facilitate implementation of the recently created Kansas Electronic Records Management Guidelines (available at http://www.kshs.org/archives/ermguide.htm and also the result of an NHPRC project). The project involves a number of KSHS staff, and Cal Lee, a full-time Electronic Records Project Archivist. The project involves applied research at a number of specific agencies to determine how the guidelines can best be implemented and whether or not any changes to the guidelines are warranted. There are three major components to the project: records scheduling, system implementation, and state architecture development. The first component addresses how existing and future retention schedules may be applied to electronic materials. The second component deals with ways to ensure that records get captured and retained by information systems, when appropriate. The final component involves participation in the current initiative to develop the Kansas Statewide Technology Architecture. If you would like other details, call Cal Lee at 785-272-8681, ext. 280, or email him at clee@kshs.org.

A federal grant of $224,076 has been given jointly to the Kansas State Historical Society and the University of Kansas by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The gift will be used to place on the Internet nearly 1,000 documents reflecting the Kansas’ territorial era and to write curriculum for middle and high school students that coincides with the documents available online. KSHS holds letters from such memorable figures of the period as abolitionist John Brown, leader of a band who murdered five proslavery settlers at Pottawatomie Creek, during the Missouri-Kansas border war. Other items include newspaper articles, photographs, letters, maps, diaries, government documents, images of museum artifacts, and photos and videos of historic sites.

Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas
See the following URL for a new web exhibition from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. It can also be reached from our home page by following the link to Exhibitions. This is our 25th anniversary exhibition catalogue, corrected and re-issued on the web in connection with VIVAT LIBER, this coming weekend’s symposium. http://www.ukans.edu/~spencer/exhibits/25th/25th.html .

Missouri State Archives
Two new collections are now available for researching and writing Kansas City’s history. Together the collections represent an irreplaceable core of information for documenting the city’s fundamental social history. The first collection was resurrected and brought to the light of day when records from the Kansas City Human Relations Commission were processed and arranged for microfilming at the Missouri Information Center in Jefferson City. These documents outline the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Kansas City during the 1950’s, 60’s and early 1970’s. They were discovered in the Records Management Department of Kansas City Hall by Sandy Gentry, an employee of the department, and her immediate supervisor, Charles Reese. The Office of the Secretary of State returned the documents to Kansas City on September 14. Archivist Carolyn Larsen had prepared them for microfilming and developed an extensive finding aid. Among the many boxes of records, one can find such headings as "Sit-in’s", radical groups, police-community relations, bombings, and cases of discrimination heard by the special board of the Human Relations Commission. Throughout the entire series of documents, it becomes clear that the City Fathers and their appointed executive secretary were far-seeing individuals. They researched, studied and prepared for meeting the problems of the time and acted upon them rather than having to react in a tardy fashion. The original documents are in the archives of City Hall, but microfilm copies can be reviewed or purchased through the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City.

Becky Carlson, Certified Archivist, and Carolyn Larsen, fellow archivist, recently completed another significant records project nearby. It came about when Executive Vice-President of the Kansas City Urban League, Laura Ruffin, requested help with her organization’s archive. The records complemented the research needs of patrons at the State Archives and plans were made to develop the collection. Carlson and Larsen completed the work of arranging, processing and compiling finding aids in March 1999. The records were microfilmed this summer. This collection covers the 1920’s through the 1990’s and contains a fine photographic section; information on Urban League conferences, programs and projects; an extensive newspaper-clipping file; biographies of the Kansas City and National Urban League executives; publications; minutes; and staff documents. The original documents reside in their home at the Kansas City Urban League, 1710 The Paseo and can be seen there by appointment with the custodian of the documents, Randy Carter. Copies of the microfilm are available from the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City.

Kansas City Museum
The Kansas City Museum’s archives were closed throughout October for the move to Union Station and Science City. This initial move is to a temporary space, and construction workers will continue to build a permanent space for the archives and other museum collections. Kansas City Museum archivist Denise Morrison can be reached at the following address: Denise Morrison, Science City at Union Station, 30 West Pershing Rd., Kansas City, MO.

Liberty Memorial Museum Archives
The Liberty Memorial Museum Archives has been receiving many new donations. One of the most exciting is a collection of World War One material from the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum in Glasgow, Scotland. Archivist Lynn Ward initially contacted the museum for another reason and mentioned that if they had duplicate World War One material, Liberty Memorial Museum would be interested in sharing it. The Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum responded by sending a wonderful collection of Scottish periodicals, photographs, a book, and a helmet. Liberty Memorial sponsors a nice ceremony in honor of America’s veterans each year, but Veteran’s Day 1999 was extra special: it included a special ground breaking for Liberty Memorial’s reconstruction.

Axe Library, Pittsburg State University
An outstanding collection of books and other materials related to tobacco, legacy of a two-genera-tion Pittsburg business, has been donated to Pittsburg State University's Axe Library by William R. Hagman, Jr. The total collection numbers 651 pieces.

The collection, valued at $10,000, provides a comprehensive look at tobacco and the tobacco trade throughout this century. Some of the materials were printed as early as 1866. The collection provides a balanced look at issues and information about tobacco, including histories of the use of tobacco in England and in the pre-Columbian New World. It also contains information about the use of various forms of tobacco including cigarettes, cigars, snuff, and chewing tobacco. Included in the collection are works designed for collectors of tobacco-related artifacts.

Hagman's was founded by William T. Hagman, Sr. in Pittsburg in 1918. Hagman began his venture as a grocery store and soon ventured into the manufacture of candy. After World War I, Hagman phased out the manufacturing operations and in 1921 moved to a totally wholesale and distribution company for candy serving southeast Kansas. Shortly thereafter, Hagman's Inc. was founded and, after a merger with Smith Wholesale Tobacco Company, the firm became a major distributor of tobacco, confectionary, soda fountain, and restaurant supplies for three states.

Kansas City Parks and Recreation Archives
Ann McFerrin and Sharon Siske-Crunk have new phone numbers. For Ann (and the general Archives office & inquiry number): (816) 513-7643. For Sharon Siske-Crunk (and queries relating to Architectural Drawings): (816) 513-7634. The new fax number is (816) 513-7602. Their e-mail addresses remain the same.

Western Historical Manuscripts—Kansas City
WHMC has received a significant new collection: 30 cubic feet of materials documenting the work of the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, an affiliate of the Association of Junior Leagues International. Junior League is a women’s organization that fosters volunteerism and community involvement, emphasizing educational and charitable work. The Junior League of Kansas City is one of four Junior Leagues organized in the state of Missouri.

Senior Manuscript Specialist Jennifer Parker has shifted to working half-time in order to spend more time with her child, whose happy birth was announced in an earlier Dusty Shelf.

Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
What do James Dean’s 1955 motorcycle, Orville and Wilbur Wright’s plane propeller, FDR’s fireside chat microphone, Harry Truman’s music, and an original Titanic menu have in common? They are coming to the Truman Library as part of a new exhibit, "Looking Back on the American Century." The exhibit will be available from Feb. 5 through April 15, 2000. Come see these artifacts and more, including the Red Baron’s medal, a 1915 Model T roadster, John Lennon and Elvis Presley stage suits, Amelia Earhart’s pilot license, Houdini’s handcuffs, and many other historical objects.

Major renovations to the museum are being planned, and it is scheduled to be completely closed during September, October, and November of 2000. In the meantime, the following exhibits will be open in coming months:

Check out <www.trumanlibrary.org> for more information about the Library and to see our online finding aids and oral histories!

Nazarene Archives
Two interesting recent accessions concern women in ministry. One is a copy of the official record documenting the ordination of Anna S. Hanscombe, founder in 1890 of a congregation in Malden, Massachusetts. Hanscombe was ordained to the ministry in 1892 by the Central Evangelical Holiness Association, a parent body of today’s Church of the Nazarene. These copies, sent by the pastor of the Malden Church of the Nazarene, document the process, including her election to elder’s orders by her congregation, examination by a presbytery of ordained ministers, and details of the ordination service itself. She was the first woman ordained by any parent body of the Church of the Nazarene.

Her legacy is reflected in the Lura Horton Ingler Collection, also received from New England. Lura Horton was ordained to the ministry in Chicago at the First General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene (1907). She later married fellow pastor and gospel song-writer Arthur Ingler. Her collection, donated in Autumn 1999, includes her diaries, materials relating to her ministerial career, and over a dozen photographs taken at various stages of her life from girlhood past middle age.

The Archives has begun systematic microfilming of the David Hynd Collection. Hynd and his wife were Scots who in 1925 became founders of the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital in Manzini, Swaziland. The hospital became the hub of a significant Swazi medical work that included mobile dispensaries and a leprosarium. David Hynd was pivotal in establishing the Red Cross of Swaziland and was arguably the most influential medical missionary in Nazarene history. This microfilm project is vital not only for preservation but to allow Nazarene educational institutions in Africa, Great Britain, and America share the documentary heritage of this collection, which totals over 100 three-inch letter boxes of papers and span seven decades.

Other recent accessions include 31 reels of microfilmed correspondence from the World Mission Division; the diaries of Flora Brown for 1910-11, a year in which she lived in the Cape Verde Islands; and a variety of materials regarding camp meetings and gospel song-writers from historian Charles Edwin Jones.

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Archives Nation
History, Archives and the Public Interest

Jefferson Papers Released On-Line
The Library of Congress National Digital Library Program and the Manuscript Division has released the Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress on the American Memory Collections website at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mtjhtml/ The Thomas Jefferson Papers consist of approximately twenty-seven thousand items representing the largest collection of original Jefferson documents in the world. It includes correspondence, commonplace books, account books, and manuscript volumes. The online presentation of the Thomas Jefferson Papers consists of approximately eighty-three thousand images and, when completed, will allow researchers and students to explore the history of Jefferson’s thoughts on politics, slavery, religion, and other subjects; his decades-long political partnership with James Madison; and his friendships with John and Abigail Adams, William Short, and others. The first release includes the first installment of Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, and all of Series 8, the Virginia Records, 1606-1737, volumes relating to Virginia colonial history that were collected by Jefferson himself. Approximately twenty thousand images appear in this release. They were scanned from 35mm microfilm of the collection Series 1 documents offered in this first release date from 1651 through 1789 and cover Jefferson’s activities at the first and second Continental Congresses, including his drafting of the Declaration of Causes & Necessity for Taking Up Arms and the Declaration of Independence; his two terms as governor of Virginia during the American Revolution; his subsequent return to Congress, where he drafted the Ordinance of 1784 for the admittance of new western states to the Union.

Historic Sites: A Popular Cultural Activity
Last year Partners in Tourism, a collaboration of 8 national associations and 4 federal agencies, commissioned the Travel Industry Association of America to add a series of questions to its August 1998 National Travel Survey. The results of the survey emphasized the important role that heritage sites and museums play in travelers’ decisions about the length of their trips. Forty-six percent of the 199.8 million U.S. adult travelers included a cultural, arts, heritage, or historic activity while on a trip of 50 miles or more during the past year. Visiting a historic community or building was the most popular cultural activity listed in the survey. The survey found that of the 92.4 million travelers who included cultural activities in their trips, 31 percent visited historic buildings, 24 percent visited museums, 15 percent visited art galleries, and 14 percent went to see live theater productions. The organizations and federal agencies participating in Partners in Tourism are: American Association of Museums, Americans for the Arts, Federation of State Humanities Councils, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Association for African-American Heritage Preservation, National Center for Heritage Development, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. (Page Putnam Miller, NCC Washington Update, April 28, 1999)

John Harlan Honored
John Harlan, founder of the archives list was given the J. Franklin Jameson award during the annual SAA conference in Pittsburgh. This award honors an individual, institution or organization not directly involved in archival work that promotes greate public awareness, appreciation or support of archival activities or programs. The citation reads, in part, as follows:

John B. Harlan and his late mother, Donna Harlan, formed the Archives and Archivists Electronic Mailing list in 1989. Mailing lists were a relatively new phenomenon then. Few archivists had connections to the Internet. It was far from clear that electronic communications might change the way we conduct business. John and Donna Harlan knew, however, that easy communications about archives could be a transforming event.

That John, a non-archivist, took on this task of inestimable value to the archival profession is remarkable. That he continued to shepherd it through good times and bad, even more so. As the list grew in size and volume, three different homes had to be found for the list. It would have been easy, even understandable, for John to walk away from this project-but he never did. Each time he found a solution to keep the list alive.

The value of the Archives and Archivists list lies in its ability to bring together people of different training, background and national experience, some of whom only share only a passing interest in archives. The list has become an invaluable tool for the promotion of greater public awareness, appreciation and support of archival activities or programs. Over thirty web sites have linked to the web page for the Archives and Archivists list. The discussion group remains the initial introduction to the field for many non-archivist.

August Suelflow Dies
The Rev. Dr. August R. Suelflow, director emeritus of Concordia Historical Institute, died in his sleep Saturday morning, 28 August 1999, at his home in St. Louis. Suelflow was regarded as the dean of American religion archivists and wrote the SAA manual Religious Archives: An Introduction (1980).

Recorded Sound Collections Discussion List Formed
The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) has launched an Internet discussion list. The list will be forum for discussing issues involving recorded sound research, history, innovations, preservation, archiving, copyrights and access, and announcements about ARSC activities and publications. Messages posted to the list will be archived permanently. The list is hosted by The Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. The list manager is Esther Gillie (esth@mail.rochester.edu), Sound Recording Archivist for the Eastman School of Music, and assistants are Larry Appelbaum (lapp@loc.gov) of the Library of Congress and David Seubert (seubert@library.ucsb.edu) of the University of California, Santa Barbara. For more information about ARSC visit the ARSC web page at http://www.arsc-audio.org/ or contact the listowners at the above email addresses. To subscribe, send an e-mail to: majordomo@cc.rochester.edu Leave the "Subject:" blank. In the first line of the body of the message, type in: subscribe arsclist . Then send the message. You will soon receive an automated reply back from the majordomo with a code to authenticate your subscription request. Follow the directions in the message properly and send back the authorization command in a second e-mail to: majordomo@cc.rochester.edu. You will then be subscribed to the list. (Association for Recorded Sound Collections, PO Box 543, Annapolis, MD 21404-0543, http://www.arsc-audio.org/

Conference Identifies 21st Century History Challenges
The Library of Congress Conference, "Frontiers of the Mind in the 21st Century," included a session on June 15 dealing with historical scholarship. Historian Jonathan Spence of Yale University, one of the presenters, identified seven issues that will affect where the discipline will be moving in the next century. These were: the ambiguity of what is a historical source, will sources include videos and t-shirts; the fragmentation of sources with access difficulties as well as overload problems; bias and closure of debate on some subjects that are seemingly placed off limits; the relationship with other disciplines; interaction with new technologies which brings both problems and possibilities; public history, what is it and who does it; and world history, is it possible.

New Websites

Websites with information pertaining to preserving electronic records:

Websites Promoting History and Heritage of Photographs:

Strategic Plans

Some Recent Additions to American Memory
"First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920," documents 19th century Southern culture. It contains diaries, autobiographies, memoirs, travel accounts, and ex-slave narratives. Some sources are from relatively inaccessible populations--women, African Americans, enlisted men, laborers, and Native Americans--drawn from original materials in the UNC-Chapel Hill libraries. Access this at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/ncuhtml/. The larger digital collection of which these are a part, Documenting the American South, is at: http://metalab.unc.edu/docsouth/index.html

"Small-Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Robert Dennis Collection, 1850-1920" contains 12,000 photographs of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut from the 1850s to the 1910s, from New York Public Library collections. The images depict buildings, street scenes, and natural landscapes. "Small-Town America" can be found at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/nyplhtml/

"The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920" is a selection of manuscripts, texts, and images in the Ohio Historical Society’s collections. These sources illuminate the story of slavery and freedom, segregation and integration, religion and politics, migrations and restrictions, harmony and discord, and struggles and successes. It includes roughly 15,000 articles about African Americans scanned from Ohio newspapers. At: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/ohshtml/

"Words and Deeds in American History" celebrates the centennial of the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Division and its ongoing mandate to protect and providing access to the primary resource material that documents the American people. The first addition to the Words and Deeds collection is a Civil War Photograph Album from the James Wadsworth Family Papers. This album of two hundred, autographed cartes de visite (miniature portraits used as calling cards) is believed to have been compiled by John Hay, Abraham Lincoln’s personal secretary and later a noted political figure. The work of twenty photographers or photographic firms is represented, including Mathew B. Brady, Alexander Gardner, and Black and Case Photographic Studios. The second addition to the "Words and Deeds" collection is a draft of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s The Woman’s Bible. "Words and Deeds in American History" is found at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mcchtml/

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Employment, Fellowships, Grants 

The Missouri Historical Society has an immediate opening for an Associate Curator of Architecture in the Archives Department to administer the institution's growing collection of architectural records, and to assist the Archivist in all aspects of the management of the Archives, including reference. The successful candidate will serve on the Curatorial Collections Committee and will participate in exhibit development, conservation, and policy formulation for the Archives. The position requires a knowledge of history and historical method as well as knowledge of architectural history and architectural graphics standards. Some knowledge of architectural professional practices, urban planning and history will be helpful.

MA in history, art, architecture, architectural history or related field. Three to five years experience in an architecture archives, special collections department or manuscript collection of a university, public library or historical society, or equivalent. Familiarity with standard archival processing and reference service as related to manuscript material. Strong organizational skills, excellent oral and written communication skills, computer literacy mandatory. Able to utilize IBM compatible computers for word processing and database collections management. Familiarity with bibliographic utilities, especially the US-MARC VM and US-MARC AMC formats, desirable. Ability to handle large, heavy and fragile materials; ability to reach shelves; ability to traverse grate floor, utilize stairs or booklifts. Must be able to work Saturdays on a rotating basis. Must be able to work with minimal day-to-day supervision.

Excellent benefits. Salary commensurate with experience and educational background. Please submit cover letter and resume with list of references to Human Resources, Missouri Historical Society, P.O. Box 11940, St. Louis, MO 63112-0040.

The State Archives and Records Program, a work unit within the State Historical Society of Iowa, looks to hire a professional archivist. Duties will include:

Qualifications: M.A. in history or related field with at least six semester hours of archives education credits (or a combination of education and experience to meet minimum criteria for classification) and two years full-time equivalent experience. Experience with large collections of business records and archives automation highly desired. This is a full-time, temporary (estimated to be 2.5 years) position with a appropriate benefits through the State of Iowa's Professional Employer Organization, Merit Resources, Inc. Starting salary: $35,000 plus Merit Resources, Inc. benefits package. To apply, send a letter of application, list of references and a current resume to Archivist Search, State Archives and Records Program, 600 East Locust, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Application deadline: March 1, 1999.

Senior Research Historian/Associate Editor: NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The Nebraska State Historical Society, a state agency, seeks a full-time historian/associate editor for the Research and Publications Division. The division publishes the Society's quarterly, Nebraska History, newsletters, monographs, reports, and provides editorial services for the entire agency. The duties of senior research historian/associate editor will include research for and authorship of journal articles and monographs; evaluating, editing, and coordinating publication of journal articles, book reviews, and monographs; providing editorial services to other Society divisions; and coordinating or assisting with special programming such as the Society's periodic Fort Robinson History Conference.

The successful applicant will have experience in editing journals, historical monographs, or similar publications; understanding of the publication process; excellent research, writing, and communication skills; and a minimum of a M.A. in history, museum studies, or a related humanities discipline. Experience in a public history institution a plus. Salary range, $33,913 to $41,543, plus benefits. EEO.

Request state job application from Nebraska Department of Personnel, Box 94905, Lincoln, NE 68509-4905, position # 054-00350, (www.wrk4neb.org/jobapp/ for online application). Include letter of application, resume, and three professional references with application. Closing date: April 1, 2000.

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Excerpts from a 
"Statement By the National Archives and Records Administration 
On the Loss of Electronic Copies of Certain Internal E-Mail Messages," 6 January 2000

On January 6, 2000, the Washington Post published a story about the loss last summer by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of some electronic messages. Here are the facts of the situation.

NARA operates its e-mail system in its Washington area facilities via several servers. On June 18, 1999, all electronic copies of e-mail messages on one of these servers (the "Madison" server) were lost. The loss, totaling approximately 43,000 electronic copies of e-mail messages, less than 1 percent of the agency's annual e-mail, affected approximately 5 percent of NARA's staff, whom we notified of the loss in the July 1999 issue of the NARA Staff Bulletin. The electronic messages apparently had been deleted inadvertently. The far greater problem was that we could not restore the messages to the system because of incomplete backup tapes, which were to be maintained by staff of the firm with which we contract to maintain our system.

There was no loss of any of the historical holdings held in trust by NARA. They are protected separately off-line in preservation storage. Therefore, no records of other federal agencies were affected, nor any Presidential, Congressional, or court records.

The lost electronic messages were entirely current e-mail sent to and/or from NARA's staff. We believe that little if any significant information was lost that is not otherwise documented in NARA's official recordkeeping system. This is because, in accordance with standard NARA practice pending the development of dependable electronic recordkeeping systems, we print out on paper and file for safekeeping e-mail messages warranting retention as official federal records....

Electronic records are vulnerable to risks of media deterioration and systems obsolescence as well as easy deletion. Development of effective and reliable electronic recordkeeping systems is a high priority for the management of the nation's federal records. That is why NARA is aggressively pursuing a program of action to support the development of electronic recordkeeping systems.

Posted by Nancy Allard, Policy and Planning Staff, NARA

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Eric Page (Grinter Place)
(913) 299-0373

Deborah Dandridge (Kansas Collection)
(785) 864-4274


Letha Johnson (Kansas State Historical Society)
(785) 272-8681 x515


Mary Hawkins (University of Kansas)
(913) 864-4274

Kansas City Area Archivists is a local non-profit organization serving archivists in Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri. Annual membership dues: $15 individuals, $25 institutions, $10 students, $50 sustaining institution, $100 supporting institution.

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Stan Ingersol

Production Staff

Karolyn Roberts
Samuel Simoes
Joel Thornton

Preservation Notes Editors

Nancy J. Hulston & Alan Perry

 The Dusty Shelf is published three times a year by Kansas City Area Archivists. We honor exchanges with other organizations. The Dusty Shelf is compiled and edited by staff of the Nazarene Archives and mailed by staff of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection-KC.

Materials for publication should be sent to: Stan Ingersol, Nazarene Archives, 6401 The Paseo, Kansas City, MO 64131, (816) 333-7000, or via e-mail to singersol@nazarene.org.

Memberships and address changes should be sent to: Marilyn Burlingame/Bettie Swiontek, University Archives/WHMC, 5100 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110-2499.

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March 9, 2000

NARA Records Center, Lee’s Summit, MO
2:30 P.M.

MAY 4-6, 2000

Chicago, IL

June 10, 2000

Lawrence, Kansas (Restaurant TBA)

August 28-September 3, 2000

Denver, Colorado

October 10-15, 2000

Durham, North Carolina

October 19-21, 2000

Cleveland, Ohio
Joint Meeting with Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference

November 13-19, 2000

Los Angeles, CA

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announcement: KCAA Award if Excellence

Last revised: Tuesday, November 01, 2005Return to KCAAKcaaback.gif (1616 bytes)