By Theresa Berger
It has been a little over a year since I began interning at the Hoover Archives, and each day has been just as memorable as the first. From clippings written by Cecil Dorrian, one of the first American female news correspondents to report from the front lines in France in 1914, to the personal papers of James C. Miller, a top Reagan economic adviser, the collections I’ve processed never cease to give this twentieth century history buff a story or two to excitedly text friends about or share at family gatherings.
As a graduate student in Library & Information Science concentrating in Archival Studies, I constantly read about the balance between promoting widespread access to archival materials and ensuring the preservation of those materials for years to come. Interning at Hoover has not only provided invaluable hands-on experience in maintaining that careful balance, but has also put hundreds of pages of grad-school readings into practice (the latter of which is always a good thing). From learning how to describe short stories written by author and U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Brand Whitlock as more than just “miscellaneous” printed matter, to identifying the most important characteristics and “metadata” worth noting for images on the Hoover Digital Collections website, the access and preservation skills I’ve gained through my internship are the perfect complement to hours of classroom theory and discussion. Perhaps even more important, they are the types of skills that employers will look for on a résumé in the very near future.
Of course, it is not just the materials that make interning at Hoover so rewarding. Each day in the reading room is an opportunity to meet researchers from around the world representing a variety of historical disciplines. It is also a chance to learn from some of the most supportive and knowledgeable staff in the business. From coffee dates with curators to spirited staff potlucks, conversation about and exposure to the myriad ways one can be involved in the archival profession are never in short supply. The connections I’ve made with fellow interns and the encouragement I’ve received from my supervisors leave me both humbled by the opportunity to be at Hoover and excited to see where my professional journey next takes me.