Diving into the Archive


The atrium at the Bobst Library

It’s been a long time since I’ve done archival research in a library that wasn’t the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Earlier this week, I ventured to the Tamiment Library and Robert Wagner Labor Archives. These archives are housed in the Bobst Library at New York University. The Tamiment Library holds one of the best archival collections related to the American Labor Movement in the US.

Being in a beautiful space helps me feel inspired to dive in, and the Bobst Library is gorgeous.

I suspect that many historians and rhetoricians feel the same energy that I do when new sources provide a fresh take on your research topic. While I’ve done plenty of research about Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a female leader of the American Communist Party, getting to view her personal papers was something altogether new. I got to see, in her own beautiful handwriting, her personal daybooks and planners from years of her life. This intimate picture of her life provides me with a lot to chew on as I think about the future direction of this project.


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