EPHS Volunteers Take Steps to Organize
and Build Up Archives
introduction to the EPHS came shortly after my husband and I bought our bungalow on Lemoyne St. nearly two years ago. In the midst of
trying to strip away past renovations, I was very excited to learn that the Echo Park Historical Society existed and that the community was active
in preservation issues.
I read a notice that the EPHS was looking for a volunteer archivist I knew that this was a project well suited for me. As an art historian I have spent a lot of time cataloguing and organizing collections,
working with fragile objects, and doing research. I love history and our neighborhood
and also thought that taking on the archives would be a great way for me to learn more about Echo Park.
first measure of business was to figure out how to enter and organize the data. A
group of volunteers met at the home of Mary Garrison to start the relatively simple and fun task of working on the newspaper
archives. The work consists of reading photocopies of old articles and gleaning basic information for the database.
from this meeting led me to devise a simple database system to get us started on cataloguing not only the newspaper archive,
but also the photograph and object collections. Every item would need a unique
number, along with an array of information to classify it.
realized that it would be of great benefit to the community if we were able to make at least some of our records accessible
online. Our first obstacle was to have a database that would work on both Windows
and Mac platforms to accommodate all of our volunteers. Our next challenge was
facing the reality that we did not have the expertise to get the online database up and running.
So, with the help of volunteers, we have found a volunteer web developer, Charles Hornberger, who has kindly offered
to assist us in getting our information online.
of us then met to look over some of the photo archives. This will be a particularly interesting
portion of the project as it depends on solid knowledge of the Echo Park area and its history.
I expect that this will be a team effort type of cataloguing, and I hope to hold some group sessions in the near future.
our long-term goal will be preservation of the collection. It will be our most difficult task. The cost of acid-free materials
can be prohibitive, especially with the volume of material that
we have. Also, without a centralized office and storage area it will be difficult
to standardize the housing and care of the collection. We will be working with
preservation issues in mind, and we hope eventually to find a centralized home for the collection.
this point in time we have not even scratched the surface in terms of entering data into the formal archive databases. However,
we have taken many steps to figure out how to tackle this significant project.
we are up and running we will put a call out for more volunteers so please keep us in mind.