By Sam Hunter and Michael Romer
Collegiate archivist Ben Lamb works in the Upper School’s Saunders Family Library three days a week. He says that roughly half of his time is devoted to general library work, and the other half he uses to work in the archive. The Julia A. Williams Study and Archive is located in the librarians’ office and is full of Collegiate history. Lamb’s job is fairly open-ended; he is tasked with “sorting all of the items” into a working system. The archive is filled with 100 years’ worth of key chains, yearbooks, clothing, paintings, models of the school, trophies, and countless other items; the job is a difficult one.
Record keeping at Collegiate involves mostly filing records and artifact management. The items are stored on shelves that can slide left and right to conserve space. When Lamb is not organizing the items, he is busy fulfilling requests for memorabilia. There is an increase in photo requests “around Homecoming” or when the death of a noted community member occurs. He is often called upon for images to use on promotional material or for student projects. We found several artifacts of interest, ranging from sports memorabilia, to the school charter, to a rubber mask of President Jimmy Carter.
The history of Collegiate is intriguing because of the people. A record of their thoughts and what they accomplished exists in trophies, yearbooks, and Match articles. The record seems to show a community of people who strove for excellence while caring for those around them. Match articles, dating back to 1946, show students thanking teachers for their caring service and devotion to students. An institution is in part defined by its past, and the archives are Collegiate’s record of our identity. A student leaves the archives thinking about how their school has changed, and what has remained.
All photos by Michael Romer.