Save Time, Organize!

By: Dominique Fuqua (BMRC Processing Intern)

During my time processing the Dempsey Travis collection at Roosevelt University with my partner T.J., I have learned that organization can go a long way when working toward a deadline.  The paperwork that Mr. Travis had accumulated over the years in regards to his realty businesses and writing were well-organized before processing took place, causing processing to be effortless when it came to managing time. Every box that was previously labeled before processing contained the content that was labeled on the box. If more collections were organized in a similar fashion, processors would have less time organizing and more time constructing well-detailed finding aid that can service researchers more.  

However, my processing experience with the Margaret Burroughs collection at DuSable Museum did not preserve time like the Dempsey Travis collection did based on organization. When processing the Margaret Burroughs collection, a vast majority of information was in disarray. Every stitch of information that was gathered had to be categorized based on what it conveyed about Burroughs. For example, if there was a personal invitation addressed to Burroughs for a certain event, it would have been categorized in the “events” subseries under the “personal” series. Not to mention there was material stored in Burroughs’ collection that did not pertain to her. This situation was evident in the Dempsey Travis collection as well; nonetheless, irrelevant material was small in comparison to that of the Burroughs collection. Although, the Burroughs collection carried more difficulty with its organization than the Travis collection, it introduced me to ways that I could sort out unorganized information based on its context and significance to a collection.