Processing of the Joseph L. Arnold papers has continued for another year! As I have worked with the collection it has continued to change and grow. When I started in the fall of 2015, Dr. Arnold’s draft manuscript of History of Baltimore, 1729-1920 was available online with introductions by Dr. Elizabeth M. Nix of the University of Baltimore providing additional context and information about scholarship on the topics that have been published since 2004. While this marks great progress for the collection and is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to research Baltimore, we want the manuscript to be a more flexible and interactive resource. In order to make this a reality, I spent my first few months in Special Collections using TEI-XML to encode the existing manuscript draft. It was an invaluable learning experience. Hopefully a new version of the the manuscript that is even more useful for researchers will be available in the upcoming years!
Dr. Arnold’s widow, Mary Jane, has continued to be involved in the process to ensure that her husband’s work is available to future researchers. Over the year she has brought a steady flow of additional materials that I have worked to add to the existing collection. Two of the largest additions are the London materials and the teaching materials. Series IV contains bibliographic materials, full-length articles, pages of Dr. Arnold’s notes, and some lecture material on the history of London from its days as part of the Roman Empire through the end of the 20th Century. He used these sources for comparative urban history research for the Baltimore manuscript and for course material. These materials came to us with hardly any organization, so I followed in the footsteps of previous graduate assistants Auni Gelles and Shae Adams and created organization along subject categories similar to those in the Baltimore subject files found in Series III. I also added a handful of additional newspaper articles, pamphlets, chapters from books, articles, and Dr. Arnold’s hand-written notes to those existing Baltimore subject files in Series III. And Mary Jane just dropped off another couple of boxes of materials this morning, so the collection is still growing!
Over the course of this academic year, it has been absolutely fascinating to peer into the research process of one of the UMBC History Department greats. I feel like I got to know Dr. Arnold as I worked through his papers. I was amazed by all the small clippings, book jackets, and handwritten notes he used to keep track of new sources and existing scholarship. It is so easy to imagine him constantly reading, consciously researching even in the little moments throughout his day. It has been a privilege to be a part of documenting his research and his writing process and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this wonderful labor of love.
Thank you, Katherine!