Madison’s Experience as a Hall-Hoag Intern

Hello! My name is Madison and I have been working with the Hall-Hoag Collection since mid-September as an intern from Simmons School of Library and Information Science. I was initially drawn to the project because of this blog, so I’m really excited to contribute to it!

Since the start of my internship, I’ve been working with the oversized materials, which are all of the items that don’t fit into standard-size archival storage boxes. While sorting through these boxes, I came across lots of different kinds of items, including tons of newspapers, event posters, protest banners and signs, phonograph records, and the occasional reel of film. Before I started the project, the items in the boxes were in folders, but they were not in any kind of order. First, I went through each box and recorded every item into a spreadsheet. Then, I sorted all of the items in my spreadsheet in alphabetical order by organization name. Finally, I re-sorted the boxes so that every item reflected this order.

This was a big project, but I loved it! Taking inventory of each box gave me the opportunity to look at every single oversize item in the collection and decide what the best way to organize them would be. This was all new territory for me, and I loved learning how to format everything in a way that was understandable and useful.

After I was done organizing all of the boxes, Jordan taught me how to do some basic digitization! This final step of my project involved scanning some of the photos in the collection and using Photoshop to enhance them so that they’re as clear as possible. While some of these photos had captions or handwritten notes that specified where and when they were from, some of them did not and remain unidentified. Here are the results!

Labeled "MIT 10/9/69" on the back, with the name "Robin Hahnel," "Pete Bohmer," and "Allan Silverstone" handwritten along the bottom, presumably identifying some of the subjects.

Labeled “MIT 10/9/69” on the back, with the names “Robin Hahnel,” “Pete Bohmer,” and “Allan Silverstone” handwritten along the bottom, presumably identifying some of the subjects.

 

 

The caption on this photo explains that the man holding the sign is Josef Mlot-Mroz, a Polish anti-communist activist. Here, he is being ejected from a church for disrupting a memorial service.

The caption on this photo explains that the man holding the sign is Josef Mlot-Mroz, a Polish anti-communist activist. Here, he is being ejected from a church for disrupting a memorial service.

 

Handwritten notes on the back of this photo suggest that this photo depicts Josef Mlot Mroz staging a counter-protest outside of a Boston hospital. Along the right-hand side of the photo, protesters from Medical Professionals for Peace in Vietnam look on as Mlot Mroz burns a Russian flag.

Handwritten notes on the back of this photo suggest that this photo depicts Josef Mlot-Mroz staging a counter-protest outside of a Boston hospital. Along the right-hand side of the photo, protesters from Medical Professionals for Peace in Vietnam look on as Mlot-Mroz burns a Russian flag.

 

Since I am very much a beginner when it comes to Photoshop, I chose to keep it simple and adjust the contrast and brightness on each photo until all of the signs were as legible as possible. The second photo, depicting Mlot-Mroz’s ejection from the church, had some fading that only affected one half of the photo. I chose to blend the line down the middle of the image so that this contrast would be less visible. While all of the photos have some small amount of visible damage, they are still in great condition, which really helped make the scanning and editing process much smoother than it would have been with very damaged photos.

As my time with the Hall-Hoag Collection comes to an end, I’m so grateful to Jordan and everyone else who I’ve met since I started this internship. I’d never attempted photo editing or archival organization before, so this has been an amazing and informative experience for me. Since I want to be an archivist myself someday, learning how to make decisions about the organization of a collection was invaluable to me. I had a wonderful time working with this collection, and I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned here and apply it to my future career!