Visit to The Morgan Library

The Morgan Library was only the second archival experience I had ever had—and it was quite exciting.  The building itself was beautiful and it seemed a peaceful place to do research.  The glass ceiling and indoor trees in the lobby, the double-tier of bookshelves in the reading room, all of it brought me so much joy!

I appreciated the presentation’s focus on the investigative nature of archive work.  In my own research I find that the most interesting part—even if it does lead me down an irrelevant path.  I like the idea of looking at multiple versions of the same artifact trying to figure out why this or that thing is missing or incorrect.  I was particularly interested in the Paris Review collection of artifacts.  I plan to go back to look at their interview with Jack Kerouac to see how the actual recorded interview went and what the original versions of the print interview looked like.  The changes between the versions could reveal a lot about Kerouac’s personality and reaction to media personalities.

Though likely unintended, the highlight of trip for me was talking to the librarian about her career path.  I’ve always wondered how the different archivists and librarians I’ve met in academia got to where they are.  It seems like most come from different careers before they start their Masters of Library Science.  As I near the end of my time in grad school I find myself wondering what I should do next.  I wonder if I would be ready for the glamour of an archive…