Monday, September 23, 2013

Christine Rogers: The Godsend That is The Stanford Archives

For our class, Stanford Safari, we had to choose a presentation topic related to Stanford. Remembering the story about the origins of the Cantor Museum and a visit to the Cantor during a class on the Egyptians, where our TA pointed out some artifacts collected by Leland Jr. himself, I decided to explore Leland Jr.’s collecting of various artifacts on his travels with his family.

Much to my chagrin, I found that virtually nothing existed on the subject on the internet, save for the oft-repeated origins of Cantor and some general statements about him traveling a lot and collecting Greek & Roman glassware, ancient coins, Egyptian artifacts, and Japanese and Chinese curios. Definitely not enough to write a 15-minute presentation on.

However, after our meeting with Daniel Hartwig, the University Archivist, and hearing about the Special Collections, I decided to see if there might be anything there that might help me, since I was bound and determined to not switch my topic. With Daniel’s help, I was able to find Leland Jr.’s papers, which proved to be the fountain of information I was hoping for. In the Special Collections Reading Room, I was able to handle and examine, up close and personal, some of Leland Jr.’s letters, his workbooks, his logbooks, and his cash accounts, among other things.

Several hours later, I emerged with enough notes and information for at least two presentations and the satisfaction of having found exactly what I was looking for after hours of research.

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