Archival Stacks in the Basement of the UB Learning Commons at Maryland & Mt. Royal

Archival Stacks in the Basement of the UB Learning Commons at Maryland & Mt. RoyalWednesday’s ride took me down the hill to Mount Vernon for a late lunch and a whole lot of water to fight the headache that doing taxes causes. Don’t get me wrong–I love paying taxes because I love subsidized public goods like roads, transportation, safety nets (even if the stuff I want doesn’t get the money I’d give it), but It doesn’t take much time with those forms to realize that the rich don’t pay taxes at anywhere near the rates middle class people do (think home ownership, car ownership, the money to pay someone to find all the loopholes), and that’s the sort of thing that makes my whole head and neck ache. And that meant every pothole or wrinkle in the road made me feel like someone was stabbing me in the neck with an ice pick. Ouch. I’d still rather be on my bike, though, and some food and sparkle water and I was good as new. I next rode over to the headquarters of the National Women’s Studies Association for their first Baltimore-area networking reception. It was a lovely hour or so spent with colleagues, most of whom I’ve never met before, and it was also a good reminder that networking means meeting people who are mostly like you, and there’s only so much new conversation you can have. Samuel Delaney’s right about this, and he’s right that putting yourself in contact zones–the bus is the one on my mind lately–allows you to make inter-class connections that networking largely forecloses. So we talked about the things I expected: where we live, where we went to school, what annoys us about our various institutions, which was fine, but my mind was elsewhere; spring break’s a hard time for me to get it up for this kind of talk. I left my bike locked up there to walk to my next meeting, of the LGBT history committee, to discuss a whole bunch of exciting stuff. The best part, though, was this tour of the archives at University of Baltimore. The GLCCB archives are housed here now, thanks to the hard work of a few hardy volunteers and University archivist Ben Blake, and every box is filled with secrets, SECRETS, I tell you! I’m not a researcher who spends much time at places like this, but I got vibratingly-excited about what was in those boxes, especially the ones marked “posters” and “pictures.” This is a picture of row after row of archives, and I don’t have any idea what collections they were, but I knew I wanted to peek in them all. I left thinking that archivists are total heroes, and I’ve got to get back to just rummage through everything, pencils only, obvs. I rode back up the hill to home, happy that the wind had died down just enough, still radiant about this thing called spring break.

One thought on “Archival Stacks in the Basement of the UB Learning Commons at Maryland & Mt. Royal

  1. This archive admin (of digital data from space telescopes that is available to the public) thanks you for loving archives. We digitized tons of data and docs from pre-internut days and put it online, in addition to the live digital stuff coming down. I look at all those boxes and think “given the resources, that too could be online and metadata’ed and”…

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