Processing Hall-Hoag: Notes from Aimie Kawai

Periodically, I will be including the experiences of students working hands on with Hall-Hoag Part II. Below is a report from Aimie Kawai who started working with the Hall-Haog collection in January of 2013. Kawai is a 3rd year student at Brown, studying history.


I came into this project as a student assistant this semester.  As a history concentrator at Brown with a particular interest in social conflicts in the past century, I had a feeling that I would find this project both engaging and beneficial.

During the two months that I have worked so far, I have been pleasantly surprised by the extent to which my initial feelings about this project were correct.  We have been wrapping up the inventory part of the project, which means I have spent much of my time digging through old boxes and sorting out the material that is relevant.  The very first box I went through was very surprising; it contained so much garbage—ice cream containers, ripped up pieces of parchment papers, and toilet paper boxes.[1]  Since then however, the boxes have been interesting in their content in a manner that is more pertinent to the project.  I’ve looked at materials from so many different movements and seen thousands of people’s individual passions and views represented in posters or organizations.  It’s fascinating how in just one afternoon of work, I can sort through contrasting opinions on abortion, communism, miscegenation, and more.

Due to the nature of my interests, this project has also been applicable to my studies here at Brown.  It has been really remarkable to pick up a pamphlet and realize that it is material from an organization I talked about in class earlier that day.  Or to be sorting through papers and pull out information on posse comitatus, which I read about for a class the week before.  It benefits both my interest in the project and in my classes, encouraging me to pay more attention so that I can find more ties and overlaps in these two aspects of my life.

It feels strange to already be wrapping up this part of the project, when I feel like I just entered the scene.  However, I’m looking forward to continuing my involvement and beginning the next phase.

– Aimie Kawai

Box Contents Hall Hoag Part II


[1] Note: All of the material shipped to Brown for Hall-Hoag Part II was packaged after Gordon Hall passed away. Based on the contents of the boxes, it seems that they shipped nearly every item in Mr. Hall’s house.