12 January 2012

Update from the Archive Day 4

The archive today was fun. Karen Kukil had Plath's Royal typewriter out for someone else to photograph, so she and I started typing on it. We were comparing the way it typed against some of the documents Plath created on it, circa 1953 when she obtained it. Plath was quite proficient and efficient on the typewriter...I am not. In the process of working with it, I typed the first sentence from Plath's 19 June 1953 journal fragment, which was typed in New York City during her guest editorship at Mademoiselle. It is probable that Plath typed that fragment while at the offices of Mademoiselle, but it could be that it was typed in her hotel room (room 1511) at the Barbizon Hotel. This line I typed was "All right, so the headlines blare that the two of them..." (see Appendix 4, page 541 of The Unabridged Journals).


Click here for the url. There are some outtakes and false starts, so those might be posted online shortly...

For the rest of the morning I worked with Plath's personal papers, including her address book, her 1962 Calendar, and other items. I had looked at these before, but as ever, there were some items contained in this series of documents that took on a new significance. As a result, I was able to add a couple of books to Plath's library on LibraryThing based on evidence that she used them.

In the afternoon, for the Plath editing course, we went to meet with the reference librarian and got to work with online resources to identify people, places, etc. (there were some print options, too). And then we went to the College Archives to work with records from Smith Colleges amazing history. This included the course and student directories to identify courses Plath took and people that she may have mentioned in her letters. As I had nerded out and done the majority of my annotations previously, I spent most of my time browsing old issues of The Sophian and Smith College Associated News (SCAN)! A vast, amazing resources to identify news and names and issues going on around the campus and town during Plath's years as both an undergraduate and professor.

6 comments :

billy said...

Nice Info...

Melanie Smith said...

I am so jealous, so so jealous Peter. In the nicest possible way of course.

Peter K Steinberg said...

Melanie, I'm glad to make you jealous! Actually, I've been going to Smith regularly for something like 13 years and 7 months and 21 days (but who is counting?) and in all that time I had never typed on the typewriter. I had seen it, photographed it, etc. But never had I typed on it.

pks

Kristina Zimbakova said...

Peter, this typing video is stunning. All these updates are a terrific escape into a magic world. I know you want to remain a 'boring' librarian :-) ;-) but you would make an absolutely unique teacher!

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...

Lots of fun!

Being a *wee* bit older than you, I grew up on a typewriter--but not on a manual. I do have some hardcore poet friends today (young, even!) who like the masochism of an old manual typewriter, for some reason. They do make some good sounds.

Peter K Steinberg said...

JGB - I grew up with a typewriter too, though by the time I really was doing papers I think we had moved up to a word processor. Anyway....

Kristina! I like being an archivist/librarian but I'm not so certain I could teach. I'm too sexy, it would be distracting.

pks

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