Patricelli Internship Report
Lara Justis ‘10
During the Patricelli Internship that I completed during the summer of 2008 in Goucher’s Special Collections and Archives, I was responsible for processing the Clinton I. Winslow Collections. There are two collections; one includes Winslow’s personal papers and the other his collection of political Americana. The papers include letters, correspondence, essays, research, publications, articles, biographical information, an autobiography, and other materials from the mid-20th century documenting his career as an educator, a delegate of Maryland’s 1967 constitutional convention, and a longtime state and local political activist.
Winslow’s political Americana includes over a thousand unique and rare political pins, buttons, and ephemera such as tickets and ballots from U.S. elections dating 1840 to 1989. These items were collected by Winslow during his lifetime as cherished memorabilia, a fact that further illustrates his love and interest in politics. Other materials I processed include 3-D objects such as hats reflecting specific party support, a doorknob from official political ceremonies, a miniature crystal top-hat, and other odd rarities from elections like a Kleenex box and matches from President Nixon’s campaign.
The main objective of my internship was to process Winslow’s papers and begin a preliminary arrangement of the Americana collection (because of its size) with the goal of completing it later during the academic year. Processing Winslow’s papers involved researching items (including many that were undated and unidentified), organizing materials chronologically or by subject, arranging the materials in acid-free folders and boxes, and finally creating a finding aid to assist researchers in working with the collection. The finding aid reflects the organization of the collection and informs researchers of the subjects, dates, and types of materials in the collection. The finding aid also provides necessary information in order to create a catalog record that will make the collection searchable on the internet.
In addition to creating a general finding aid, I created a detailed inventory list complete with descriptions of the contents in each container. By creating two finding aids, researchers will be able to locate a general topic or category of interest while also having access to a comprehensive list of specific items. All materials have been arranged by archival standards and may now be utilized by students, faculty, archivists, and historians. Although time was not allotted during my internship for creating an online component to these collections, some material from the collection will eventually be digitized and listed through the Julia Rogers Library website. Through this digital documentation, Winslow’s papers and political Americana will become accessible to those not able to travel to Goucher to view the collections.
Throughout this internship, the way in which Winslow utilized various media outlets to communicate his message and inform people of his opinions, beliefs, and community activities became a prevalent theme. In both collections, but especially in Winslow’s papers, the most amazing aspect is how Winslow’s entire community is represented. Winslow used every media outlet to his advantage – he befriended newspaper and magazine editors, encouraged in-person formal interviews, offered his help and knowledge to a variety of well-known publications, and believed that active community service provided a strong moral foundation.
By processing this collection, I also found substantial correspondence from all facets of the community -- churches, schools, businesses, political organizations, and local community service groups that stated their opinions on state and local issues concerning government, elections, and Maryland constitutional reform. They included their opinions, how various decisions would impact the integrity of their organizations, and how it would affect future social involvement.
Having previously taken communications courses, The History of Photography and Intro to Communications, I had a solid working foundation for researching Winslow’s Collection. For example, in The History of Photography, we talked a lot about the evolution of cameras and the quality of photographic prints. Because Winslow’s life spanned a period of almost 90 years, it encompassed a large majority of the development of photography. In the late 1890s, while Winslow was still a child, Kodak started manufacturing cameras with film included. They also began the production of developing that film, a practice that resulted in the widespread use of photography for the average person. It is interesting to compare the quality of those early photographs from Winslow’s childhood (in specific, the photograph of him and his family standing on a riverboat) to those pictures taken later when photography had become more sophisticated. Although looking at the differences reflected by the quality of photographic prints on a slide provides some insight into the way things were, seeing images first-hand from a collection right in front of me was amazing. It was as if I was re-living history – I had the entire evolution of photographic processes and prints at my fingertips.
Another interesting aspect of this internship was how much it related to the course Introduction to Communications. Everything we talked about in class was applicable to the collection. One facet that particularly caught my eye was the inclusion of original telegrams from Western Union. I never actually knew what a telegram physically looked like until I stumbled across one in the collection. It is remarkable to think that people relied on this form of communication. To me, the idea of life without phones or internet 24 hours a day seven days a week is a very difficult concept to grasp. Telegrams were completely different – people really had to contemplate what information was worthy of reaching another person. I cannot imagine the new technological advances that happened during Winslow’s life. But the most remarkable part of it is how he prided himself in staying informed, educated, and in-touch with the latest happenings. He was not one of those people that cowered in the back of the room watching a new demonstration of technology – he was the one conducting the demonstration.
One of the more personal elements I discovered had to do with Winslow during his time as a delegate for Maryland’s 5th Constitutional Convention in 1967. Like any political office, the candidate has to run a campaign in order to be elected. Winslow’s campaign treasurer was a gentleman by the name of Brownlee Sands Corrin. The name ‘Corrin’ sounded oddly familiar, and I remembered hearing it in stories my mother told me (she is a graduate of Goucher College). Professor Corrin taught at Goucher for over thirty years and became a very close friend to Winslow. Originally teaching politics, Corrin decided to approach the college with the idea of creating a “Communications” major – something virtually non-existent at that time. After much deliberation and many tweaks to the creation of his proposed field of study, the idea of the communications major was fully embraced by the college, and Gayle Economos (who now teaches communication courses at Goucher) was the first to graduate with this degree. Talking to my mom about what I had discovered, she immediately gushed about how she loved Professor Corrin in one of her speech classes as an undergraduate. Finding out that Corrin, a prominent Baltimore figure just like Winslow, was instrumental in starting the Communications major – my major – reemphasized the impact one person can have on an entire community.
The Winslow Collection, in general, was tremendously motivating and encouraging to me as a student. Winslow worked his way from a small town to Harvard University and then on to become the oldest delegate to sign the new Constitution that he helped propose.
I feel extremely fortunate to have been chosen for this internship. Working on the creation of my first archival finding aid in the Special Collections and Archives opened up a myriad of doors to possible future careers in this field of study. I thoroughly enjoyed delving into history and deciphering a large portion of Winslow’s life’s work. I look forward to building upon the skills I learned to eventually process another collection. Goucher is fortunate to have this collection in their possession; it provides unique and valuable primary source materials for the study of civic activism, history and politics of mid-20th century Baltimore and Maryland, and of course, Goucher College – and solidifies Winslow’s position as one of the most memorable figures in the college’s history.