Cathleen Miller

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

This Author's Posts

The longer I work processing manuscript collections, the more I realize that it is not the big events in these materials that get me excited, but the texture and circumstances of people's lives and how they integrated monumental events into their everyday.  I love sifting through old receipts to see what people were buying, what they ate, and how much they spent.  I like to read their letters to each other about major events, and see how those events impacted them.  I enjoy looking at these collections to get a sense of the people who created them, and when I don't get that s

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On this day in 1890, hundreds of Lakota people were massacred at Wounded Knee creek in South Dakota by the 7th Cavalry of the United States military, commanded by General Miles and Brigadier General John Rutter Brooke, whose papers I recently processed.  Brooke is rarely associated with Wounded Knee in the way that General Miles is, but Brooke worked on the ground from the Pine Ridge Agency, and fed Miles much of the information upon which his policy was based.

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Today, I virtually had the processing room to myself since everyone else is out for the holiday.  This is a rare occasion, and one that I usually take advantage of by playing music and sometimes singing out loud.  (And you thought archivists were serious, proper folks who never raise their voices above a whisper except to scold you when you pick up your pen!)


Spurred by a spate of positive comments about, first, the Chew blog and now Fondly, Pennsylvania, I have been thinking a lot about how readers use the information they gather from following our blog offerings.

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This week, I am working on finishing up the John Rutter Brooke Papers, the first collection I am processing as part of the Digital Center for Americana.

J.R. Brooke

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This summer, I spent some time going through the Edwin Forrest Home Records to identify items for digitization.  This collection documents the Home, its operation, its residents, and its dissolution.

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Following the success of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Chew Family Papers blog, which chronicled the processing of one of our largest collections of family papers, we have decided to share with you a broader behind-the-scenes view of our archives and conservation departments.   Our staff are working on a wide variety of projects--installing and putting into operation our new digital camera; metadata cleanup in MANX (our manusc