Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Secret Lives of Interns: Spotlight on Archives

So...lately I've been working on processing and creating a finding aid for a collection, specifically the Brandeis University National Women's Committee - Baltimore Chapter. One of my tasks, to familiarize myself with the collection, is to read the 8-9 scrapbooks kept by the committee to document every newspaper and every event the committee ever was a part of.

“Founded in 1948, the same year as Brandeis University, the National Committee provides financial support for Brandeis and its Libraries. The National Committee is the largest friends-of-a-library group in the world with 30,000 members nationwide. A volunteer fundraising organization, BNC has contributed over $117 million to Brandeis University, while utilizing the resources of the university to provide unique education programs for its members.” ( Check out this great article highlighting the BNC: !

The Baltimore Chapter was set up in 1950, two years after the BUNWC was begun, and it is still active today (they have a website:!

The Baltimore Chapter really did a lot of good things for BU. On June 17th, 1951, Brandeis built an athletic field dedicated to Abraham Marcus, a Baltimore business man and philanthropist. Furthermore, in 1955, the Baltimore Chapter established the Richard Marcus Memorial Fund, in honor of the same family.

The Baltimore Chapter was also the first to start a study group, to promote higher education and further learning among its members. This study group later inspired The Brandeis Study Group, a national series, which began in 1959.

Some of the interesting things I've come across thus far:

In 1954, Eleanor Roosevelt (aka the widow of a pretty famous president) spoke at the fourth annual meeting of the Baltimore Chapter. Who wouldn't like a little one-on-one time with that lady?

In 1955, Brandeis University built three chapels on their campus, to accommodate ALL students, even though BU is a predominantly Jewish crowd. The three chapels were Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. I found this idea really progressive, especially in the 1950s. The university got a lot of criticism from the community because of their decision to build these chapels, from what I read in the news articles. However, they stood by their decision and really embraced the idea that all should be welcome at an academic institution, no matter what your faith. I even read in an article that if we believe that we all come from "One Father", why shouldn't BU embrace and make all religions feel welcome? Awesome idea and kudos to Brandeis for being so progressive. (photos by Mike Lovett/Brandeis University)

Lastly, although this has nothing to do with the National Women's Committee, I came across an article today that a Brandeis University professor in 1963 crystallized a cancer virus and determined its chemical components - the FIRST to do so! I believe the professor's name was Dr. William T. Murakami...kudos to him as well!

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