‘Ask an Archivist Day’ Recap

Category: Heritage

Noraleen Duvall Young

Alpha Chi, Purdue

Back on October 1, Theta participated in #AskAnArchivist day via social media, kicking off American Archives Month. I received many great questions throughout the day, and had fun answering them. I want especially to thank all those who submitted questions. In case you missed the day, the questions, or the answers, here is a re-cap of several of the questions:

I have always wondered what college degrees were awarded to our Founders? (Leah Eaton Logan)

Bettie Locke, Alice Allen, and Hannah Fitch graduated from Indiana Asbury (DePauw), and Bettie Tipton graduated from the Millersburg Female College in Kentucky. Bettie Locke and Alice Allen graduated in 1871, and Hannah Fitch in 1873, all with an A.B., “bachelor of arts” degree. We know that Bettie Tipton graduated from Millersburg in 1871, and wore her badge at the ceremony, but we do not know about the degree.

Is it hard to get rid of things when you run out of room? Or do you not run out? (Erika Biddix)

The current collection space is very full, but some recently added space will allow me to reorganize to allow for growth. Like most archives, Theta’s archive has a collection policy to determine what is included and what is not in the collection. By working with potential donors, I often can reduce what is donated just by eliminating extra copies of materials already in the collection. If during discussions with donors it is determined the material does not fit within our own collection guidelines, I will try to help them find an appropriate home for the materials, often a local historical society or even their college archives. One thing helping is that more recently created materials are in digital format only, but these files bring up new questions of long-term storage and accessibility. I have established a Theta “digital archive” to preserve those materials.

What is the most unusual/unique item in the Theta collection?
(April Cunningham Kline)

This handmade early 20th century handkerchief and lace collar envelope is the most unique item! It's embroidered with badges from many different Greek groups, including Theta.

Is there something that you feel is "missing" from the archives? As in, something you wish you had but don't? (Betsy Harootyan and Stacey Martin)

While the official records of the Fraternity make up the significant portion of the collection, it is the artifacts, images, and stories that help us make those records come alive. They reflect our members who embody what it means to be a Theta either during their college experience and/or as an alumna. The archive is interested in materials that document the whole Theta experience. Right now, we are interested in the 1930s and 1940s. Theta is also interested in helping members save items in the current “digital age” so those materials will be available for a future archivist to share.

How many Thetas have been Rhodes Scholars? (Vicky Benedict)

Women only became eligible to be Rhodes Scholars in 1977, with a few visiting scholar awards given beginning in 1968. At this time, we only know of three Thetas: Jennifer Lai, (2011), Stephanie Lin (2012), both of Zeta Mu/MIT, and Georgie Boge Geraghty, Beta Lambda/William & Mary (1990). If anyone knows of other Thetas, please let us know!

Again, thanks to all of you who followed the archive that day. Remember, the archive is always here to answer your questions! Just contact us at archives@kappaalphatheta.org.