Last month, Princeton University in New Jersey held its inaugural Archives Research and Collaborative (ARCH) program on campus. Fourteen students from five historically Black colleges and universities spent five days on the Princeton campus with the goal of interesting them in careers in archives research. Students from Howard University, Lincoln University, Texas Southern University, Tougaloo College, and Tuskegee University participated in the program.
Students received a behind-the-scenes look at how archival material is processed and preserved, as well as access to some of the university’s collections. In addition, the students heard presentations and participated in discussions with the Princeton University library staff and visiting colleagues from the participating HBCUs.
“Archives play a crucial role in our understanding of history, which includes the importance of diversity within that history,” said Anne Jarvis, the Robert H. Taylor 1930 University Librarian at Princeton. “Working together with colleagues from historically Black colleges and universities on this program has meant that we are providing students with practical ways in which they can work on their archives back at their home institutions. If the work appeals to students, they may then consider pursuing archival work after graduation and thus help to diversify the profession.”
The program is an outgrowth of the Princeton and Slavery Project, a research effort begun in 2013 to explore the University’s involvement with the institution of slavery. “Research during that project brought a focus on the university’s archives and how the narrative history of slavery in Princeton has been shaped by which materials archivists choose to preserve,” said Dan Linke, university archivist and curator of public policy papers.
A video about the project may be viewed below.