Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes in Special Collections? Well, follow me into the Processing Room for a peak at our collections as we preserve, organize, and describe them for researchers – I mean, really, who doesn’t love a backstage pass?
Hello again processing enthusiasts!
Just a quick update on our progress with the J. Hillis Miller papers and gee wiz would you look at our progress!
After some intense weeks of sorting, we’ve gotten straight down to business identifying, foldering, and labeling some of the most important documents in the Miller papers.
First, we spent a little time getting to know Professor Miller through the material that will make up the biographical series of his collection, and, let me tell you, it’s not all curricula vitae. One of the great things about working with personal papers is getting to see all the bits of ephemera that make up a long and interesting career. It’s always a joy to find little things that, while they may not always illuminate the intellectual life of the collection’s creator, certainly provide greater insight into the person behind the twenty-nine tomes of literary criticism.
And speaking of those twenty-nine tomes, and many, many more essays, reviews, and lectures, we are elbow deep in them, and most likely will be for the next few weeks. The taming of what will eventually become the writings and publications series is well underway – in fact, gentle readers, my assistant is hard at work putting chapter drafts of Miller’s first book Charles Dickens: The World of His Novels in order as I type these words (ah, to be management). So far in this section of Miller’s papers, my favorite things I’ve found are the stream-of-consciousness notes that he took when working on a project. While Sara and I have started to affectionately refer to these diary style musings as “captain’s logs,” they do a marvelous job of revealing the inner complexity of well-crafted intellectual work.
Well, that’s all I have for you this month my intrepid archives explorers! Check back for more on the Miller Papers next month, and don’t be shy if you have any general questions about processing, I’d love to hear from you!