The Inspired Archivist

Theresa Gamble

Monday Jun 14th, 2021

When I decided to change employers and change jobs, I had two criteria that had to be met - my next adventure had to be either much simpler, or much more interesting.

Becoming a steward of hundreds of thousands of documents, photographs, images, and words that tell the story of ERIE’s history is not so simple.

But, this job so far exceeded expectations for interesting work and elevated it to inspiring work, that I forgot all about simple.

How to begin writing a required weekly blog? Searching an archive database is helpful, but “flipping box lids” to see what is under them is way more fun.

Claire Varrieur, the interim Director of Archives, directed me to a solid list of collections. BTW-a big part of this job is keeping really good lists. 

This list has 467 collections - plenty of material. So for simplicity sake, I started this blog series “The Inspired Archivist” with Collection 1 -- The Edith Buck Papers, and will commit to finding an inspiring fact or image from each collection on the list.

As it turns out, the papers are not about Edith Buck, but about the Battles Family, her family. A collection can be named for the individual or institution that collected the materials.

Edith Buck may have been born in 1934, according to a sketch of a family tree in the collection and is a descendant of six generations of the prominent Battles family who contributed significantly to the growth of Girard Township over the past centuries.

Here are some inspiring images from the collection she donated in 1997.

Edith Austin Battles, Edith Buck’s grandmother, c. 1906.
From Introduction to Astronomy for Young Gentleman and Ladies, published in 1815, owned and signed by Asa Battles, Edith Buck’s Great-Great Grandfather, in 1845
Postcard with message From Hazel Kibler, namesake of the to Mrs. Hiram Barber, Edith Buck’s mother, 1967.
The postcard sentiment is “Thank you so much for sending me chapter one of Battles History…we feel they made Girard history in donating so much to our town”.