Recently staff during the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) started a task to digitize several of the stock registers, records publications, and monetary documents linked with all the Shingwauk Indian household class, which operated in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The materials in see this site this task ranged in date from 1883 to 1945, using the majority of the records regarding the 1905 to 1930 duration.
These accounts books might not seem like a prime candidate for digitization – visually they aren’t overly interesting and they have been used relatively little by researchers at first glance. Digitization takes considerable time and effort – so just why was the SRSC trying to digitize these specific documents?
One of many gaps that are major the SRSC’s archival documents concerning the Shingwauk household School, pertains to student life from 1905 to 1935. The Centre has a substantial amount of photographs from 1910-1920 but there is however reasonably small textual paperwork associated for this duration. The records books and connected material will be the just written records with this duration and certainly will offer understanding of the foodstuff at Shingwauk, clothes used by the pupils, farming techniques, as well as other components of daily student life.
Re-purposed Shingwauk Household School Clerk’s Fee Book.
One of many unforeseen link between this task had been coming across guide that, from the exterior, seemed to be a “Clerk’s Fee Book” (pictured above). Whenever Madison Bifano, the SRSC archival associate, had been planning the written guide for digitization she knew that this reports guide was in fact re-purposed as a student register. It contained names of students and details about their weekly attendance at Shingwauk from 1930 to 1941. The book also divides students into class groupings and lists the teachers for each class, providing additional information about school structure at Shingwauk in some sections. The student’s names captured in this guide fill a substantial space in the Shingwauk household class records and also this guide could be the only record within the SRSC’s holding which clearly lists Shingwauk pupils for the 1930s.
This guide also incorporates some secrets which staff continue to be wanting to decipher. As an example, the columns that are dated the register pages function a selection of notations including: horizontal marks, straight markings, plus symbols, and also the page ‘s’. There’s no corresponding legend to suggest just what these various notations might suggest with regards to pupil attendance. an assumption that is logical be that ‘s’ denotes ill, but staff continue to be looking at opportunities when it comes to other records.
The finding with this register has triggered lots of conversations in the SRSC workplace across the reuse of paper, multi-purpose publications, additionally the ethics of finding new archival information.
Men and women have been reusing old materials and scrap paper for hundreds of years. This reuse has usually been attached to a desire to truly save in the expenses of paper. Exemplory instance of paper conservation is seen into the practice of cross-writing or cross-hatching. Crossed letters (instance below) are papers which have been written on twice , one in the standard manner that is left-to-right a 2nd time utilizing the paper turned 90 levels and additional writing included along with the first.
James Crittenden page to their mom Clara Jones Crittenden, November 21, 1864. University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.
Paper reuse can be seen in also the re-purposing of ledgers as well as other company papers as individual or community books. For instance, Susan B. Anthony repurposed company ledger books to generate scrapbooks to document her suffrage work. Likewise, the task of Ellen Gruber Garvey inside her guide Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War towards the Harlem Renaissance points to numerous samples of federal federal government issued reports as well as other magazines being re-purposed within the 1800s as household scrapbooks.
While using the services of archival product at Algoma University, I have actually usually discovered pages of church registers re-purposed to incorporate parish history information and money books utilized as moment books for regional women’s businesses. The reuse of paper and re-purposing ledgers had been a practice that is common years.
The Ethics of Unexpected Archival Material
As archivists and historians exactly what are the ethics about using these unforeseen archival discovers? What are the results whenever you find personal or material that is confidential records that have been thought to be fairly impersonal and labelled as unrestricted?
This material is old enough that it is in the public domain — however that does not mean that making the content openly accessible is the ethical choice in the case of the Shingwauk student register information . The SRSC is lucky to operate closely with all the kids of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA), A domestic School Survivor company, that will offer assistance with the protocols that are appropriate sharing these records. This register information would be made available to Survivors and intergenerational survivors of Shingwauk, and a determination should be made about causeing the information available to the wider public.
The ethics around access and use of unexpected personally identifying archival material may be less clear for individual scholars. Exactly just What should a historian do when they run into a collection of documents that will have now been limited, damaged, or redacted? Do you realy tell the archival staff, whether or not which means you will possibly not have the ability to make use of the product for a research study? We don’t have actually the responses, but I really do think they are conversations that archivists and historians should be having.