When past files bring present teachings to the Keene State College Mason Library,  students and faculty are given the opportunity to get their hands on original documents of pure history donated by the original owners of the work.

The college’s main repository for historical records date back to 1909 and collect all the way up to the present, Archivist and Assistant Professor Rodney Obien said. Neatly stocked are research manuscripts of all kinds, “From past presidents, academic departments, social history, old yearbooks, Equinox articles, social justice, Civil Rights movement, women’s movement, children literature, modern poetry, and Holocaust collection,” Obien stated in an interview.

Obien stressed that they only collect special archives that will fit the students’ interest and majors and that they will use this information to their advantage. The most recent donation of documents came from journalist Bill Seaman.

According to the KSC website, Seaman is an award-winning journalist and was a former correspondent and bureau chief of the Middle East desk for ABC News.

The papers donated to KSC consist of original news reports, books, and memorabilia that document Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and the Middle East dating from 1967-1991. This information also mentions that the Seaman collection will be the most welcomed resources for students and faculty in the History, Journalism, and Holocaust & Genocide Studies programs.

“Bill has an interesting collection of journalism,” Obien said.

“I just got finished organizing them. On November sixth at two p.m., journalist Bill Seaman will speak here at the library to celebrate the gift of donations. He gave us posters to which are unique Israeli armed forces and a lot of other material that he has collected will be on display that day,” Obien mentioned.

Obien said students can read his notes and  interviews on the first Palestine uprising, and insiders point of views that you cannot get elsewhere.

Overall, the documents are mostly his reports, transcripts, and files for ABC News.

Photo Illustration by Brian Cantore/ Photo Editor: The Keene State College archives are located in the first floor of the Mason Library. Katie Marinoff, KSC student and Mason Library staff member, looks at the documents.

Photo Illustration by Brian Cantore/ Photo Editor: The Keene State College archives are located in the first floor of the Mason Library. Katie Marinoff, KSC student and Mason Library staff member, looks at the documents.

Obien said he really acknowledges and appreciates being able to see Seaman’s thought process and editing methods in the story. He said you can see all Seaman’s note taking and editing methods.

He added that the Seaman collection can connect to the Holocaust studies because of his many years of research in the Middle East and Israel. He mentioned professors such as Dr. Chad Nye have interest in the history of media collection.

Nicole Provensal, a KSC student, works at a student desk in the Mason Library. Provensal said she’d never been in the Archives and Special Collections room but said she mostly see people who are older making appointments to go in there, not necessarily students.

“It isn’t easy access, you need to make an appointment to get in,” she added.

Obien agreed with Provensal’s statement. “If people want to get in, it is best to make an appointment. The room is generally open to aspire students from ten a.m.-noon and  one p.m. to four p.m. Monday through Friday as well.”

Provensal also said she’s never been into the Archive and Special collections room.

Unlike that, sophomore student Adam Beaton said he got to tour the room with his class.  “I went my freshman year. I think freshmen and seniors probably use it their advantage the most because freshmen are just exploring and seniors have big research projects,” Beaton said.

Both students said they had never heard of Bill Seaman but find his collection interesting and the overall purpose of the Archive and Special Collections room to be helpful. Provensal included that she’d like more natural history collections to be see in the room.

“I think it’s really cool we have something like that on campus,” Beaton closed with.

There is no formal advertising done for the department itself Obien said.  “I personally approach faculty, especially the ones I know personally and work with them to bring ideas to their class,” Obien said.

He again stated it is helpful and useful for students doing class research. These documents however cannot be rented or checked out like other library books, but students are more than welcome to use the room and come in and research, Obien said. He said he’d like to see more classes engage with the papers that they have. Obien included that he was hired in 2009 and his main goal is to acquire achievable material for students to use in research. Along with Obien, in the department of archives is Irene McGarrity who is the Assistant Archivist, and some student assistant help.


Bethany Ricciardi can be contacted at bricciardi@keene-equinox.com

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