Guest Post: The Ronald Raven Annual Award, Fall 2014

The Ronald Raven Annual Award provides a tuition stipend and semester-long internship in the Wayne State University Archives to three Wayne State University graduate students each year. The details of the award are located on the Reuther Library Scholarships page. Applications for the Winter 2015 semester are due January 2, 2015.

Meghan McGowan was the fifth recipient of the Ronald Raven Annual Award, completing her University Archives internship in December 2014. The following is a summary of the internship in her own words.

In a field where gaining hands-on experience is most critical, I was privileged to receive the Ronald Raven Annual Award in the fall of 2014. I began the semester as a graduate of Wayne State University’s undergraduate history program and a graduate student in Wayne State’s MLIS program with a concentration in archival administration. I am now finishing this internship as a joint History MA student with a focus on urban cities in post-1945 America and as a MLIS student, as this internship was a refreshing reminder of my passion for studying Detroit history.

Wayne State University has been in the fortunate position of being involved in the greater Detroit community throughout its existence. This means that the material housed in the Wayne State University Archives is not only university history, but is also rich in the historical significance of the university and its location in Midtown.

One collection that I processed that demonstrates the partnership between Wayne State University and the greater community is the Walker and Gertrude Cisler Library Records, 1964-1971. Although this library was housed within the Charles Grosberg Religious Center on Wayne State University’s campus, the library sponsored conferences that benefited the community as a whole, such as the Areas of Hope in a Divided World Conference. Detroit has been a city steeped in a history of urban decline and revitalization and I was thankful to process a collection that embodies a small portion of that history.

Another such collection, and perhaps my most challenging collection, is the Joe L. Norris Papers, 1930-1952. Norris, a history professor at Wayne State University, collected quite a bit of political ephemera from Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s. It was fascinating to read the political messages being propagated in such a key historical time period.

It has been a pleasure working with Wayne State University records and papers and learning more about the history of my alma mater and my city. During my time at the Reuther Library, I processed a number of collections containing university materials and I assisted University Archivist Casey Westerman in records management tasks. I began this internship with a limited grasp of the art of archival processing, and at the end of the semester I've learned enhanced skill in processing and knowledge about Wayne State University and the larger field of archival administration. I have valued the chance to work with such a reputable institution with material so closely linked to my own research interests. I am grateful that Ronald Raven generously provided this opportunity, and I am honored by the support of Mr. Raven, Casey, and the Reuther staff.