Guest Post: Julia Teran, Recipient of the Winter 2014 Raven Award

This is a guest post by Julia Teran, Wayne State University graduate student and recipient of the Ronald Raven Annual Award, which provides a scholarship and internship three times each year to History and Library students with an interest in university archives and records management.

As a young professional entering the world of archival administration, I was very pleased to be accepted as the Winter 2014 recipient of the Ronald Raven Annual Award. I have been a graduate student in the Joint MLIS/MA in History program, with a concentration in archival administration, at Wayne State University for the past three years. With just one more year until graduation, I appreciate the importance of gaining practical experience in the archival field in order to be well prepared to enter the profession. The Raven Award provided me with many new learning opportunities and valuable professional experiences that have greatly enhanced my archival skills. During the internship, I gained experience answering reference questions, shelving and retrieving boxes of collections, and processing collections according to More Product, Less Process (MPLP) guidelines. In all, I was able to process twelve collections of archives totalling 23 linear feet under the direction and guidance of the Wayne State University Archivist, Casey Westerman.

Working as an assistant to the University Archivist allowed me to learn a great deal about the history of Wayne State University, as well as Detroit history in general. I processed several collections relating to some of the colleges at WSU, including the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education, the School of Social Work, and the Law School. I also processed the records of various WSU committees and organizations. Of these collections, one of the most interesting was the Emancipation Centennial Committee Records. This collection contains the records of the committee which coordinated the events of Wayne State University’s 1963 celebration of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. The celebration began with an Inaugural Centennial Convocation on January 6, 1963, when Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wayne State University, and continued with a series of symposia and events over the course of the year.

Leslie L. Hanawalt, Wayne State University Historian.

Of all the collections I processed this semester, the largest was the Leslie L. Hanawalt Papers, the personal files and research materials of Dr. Leslie Hanawalt. In 1956, Hanawalt began research into the Wayne State University archives in preparation to write a history of the university for its centennial celebration, a project that was commissioned by President Clarence B. Hilberry. This historical research endeavor, the History of Wayne Project, took Hanawalt twelve years to complete, culminating in the publication of his 450-page book, A Place of Light: The History of Wayne State University in 1968. The History of Wayne Project earned Hanawalt the title of University Historian, and the publication of A Place of Light was the defining moment of his prestigious career at Wayne State University. It was exciting to be able to explore the records in the Hanawalt Papers that led to the creation of A Place of Light. Throughout the internship, I often used this book as a source of reference on WSU history.

It was both an honor and a pleasure to be able to work at the Walter P. Reuther Library this semester. I am deeply grateful to Mr. Raven for providing this opportunity, which has allowed me to greatly enhance my professional skills and gain valuable archival experience in an academic environment. I want to thank the entire Reuther Library staff for welcoming me this semester, and especially Casey Westerman for his guidance.