(But our beginnings never know our ends!)
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Late Spring To-Do List
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Fun with Special Collections
First day of research went okay, though I was a little embarrassed to discover that there's even less to this project than I thought there would be--the annotations I'm focusing on are considerably fewer than I'd expected. Luckily, my boy's handwriting is pretty awful, and my orthography is only adequate, so that'll stretch things out a bit.
The Special Collections director even mentioned her concern that I might not have enough to keep me occupied--but it was more in a tone of anxiety for me, rather than of accusation (why would you propose such a thin project to us? we're giving you good money!).
All of which reminded me all over again of the crazy way in which the same institutions can be so stingy (with grad student wages, for example) and so lavish (all those random grants and fellowship dollars). I realize that these funds come from different places, but it's just strange to go from feeling like a serf to feeling like an Emerging Young Scholar. Okay, so Schmancy U isn't exactly showering me with money, but the stipend is pretty nice, the librarians seem excited that I'm looking at a document that (I think) no one has touched since the collection acquired it, and they're putting all the fellows' pictures up on their webpage (!?) and arranging for us to give brown bag lunches about our projects.
Obviously, it's a case of the library having excess money in a fellowship fund that someone started once upon a time, and their needing to find ways to disburse that money--but the whole movement from indentured scholar to Bright Young Thing (and back again) just gives me whiplash. I had a summer fellowship a few years ago through INRU's rare books collection, along with about a zillion other people (I don't think the scholarship bar was set very high, is what I'm saying), and the feeling was even more intense then--they threw us a fancy welcoming dinner and gave out monthly stipends that were at least 50% more than regular, academic-year grad student stipends. Very strange
But anyway, back to Schmancy--nice campus, nice town. I'd only ever been there briefly, a couple of times back in college (it's one of INRU's rivals), and had never had the chance to see much of the campus. Quite pretty. I was surprised by the relative smallness of the main library, though--I'm guessing they must have a lot of books stored off-site, or possibly in other libraries (I didn't quite get around to digesting the campus map). The Special Collections room is also pretty small, but with good facilities and an insanely helpful staff; guess that's what happens when you're actually excited to have people using your holdings rather than put out by it (like, oh, I don't know--maybe the loudly-sighing staff at the Bodleian?).
link | posted by La Lecturess at 9:57 PM |
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