Current: Azavea, Archival Digitization Assistant for the PhillyHistory.org Project
I have at last graduated from Villanova University with my Master of Arts degree in History, concentrating on Public History and the Civil War. I greatly miss the snow and crisp cool air in Wisconsin, not to mention the cheese curds, Spotted Cow, and Papa Murphy’s pizza, but I have found a group of Green Bay Packer fans that gather for every game at a great bar called the Cooperage in the old part of the city!
My work with Azavea on the PhillyHistory.org project has taken me away from the Civil War, but I am deeply immersed in the history and culture of Philadelphia with my work. The photographers of the City Archives and Department of Records have recorded the changes, demolitions, growth, and noteworthy events of the city and I am privileged to add these images to the website daily.
One of my duties includes geocoding the locations of the images, which are viewed through the Google Maps platform. Because the majority of the photos are pre-Twenty-First Century, location identification has to be done using digitized street maps of the city that detail up to 200-year-old Philadelphia. I love the maps! But I now wish I had taken another semester of GIS with Prof. Matt Dooley! Other duties include licensing our images for use in art, murals, film, books, and websites. These images can be found world-wide in every imaginable format.
Temple University Professor Kenneth Finkel keeps all who read the PhillyHistory Blog immersed in the culture of Philadelphia’s bygone eras with his creative writing and images from the website. Collaborating with him regarding image licensing and history is an exciting perk to my job! Kenneth’s latest book Insight Philadelphia: Historical Essays *Illustrated* has helped me learn about, and immerse myself in, this great center of U.S. History. One of the essays even talks about a giant Liberty Bell in my neighborhood in South Philly!
The City of Philadelphia Archives and Department of Records has just opened to the public in a new location on Spring Garden Street, just north of Center City. It has taken eight months for the physical moving of over 300 years’ worth of fascinating, but sometimes boring records and two-dimensional artifacts, (even the trial records of H.H. Holmes!). At the corner of N 6th and Spring Garden, the new Archives shares a block-encompassing building with the award-winning Yards Brewery. After a day of research, we can go have beer and wings!
Feb. 2016 Update
Current: Earned history degree in 2016. Accepted a full scholarship to Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania, Fall 2016.
Since my Masters concentration is Public History, I am this semester taking the course Material Culture. My research project is centered around a Civil War amputation kit. My task is to analyze and research the kit in a biographical and life cycle context. The kit is housed at the Union League of Philadelphia, and it's there I will be working to do the initial analysis. I'm also hoping to be able to do an internship there this summer.
I have also applied for the Summer Research Fellowship. If I get it I will be working at the National Archives in Washington on a continuation of my Civil War research on the One Hundred Days Men. Dr. Judith Giesberg, author of Army at Home, and recently Sex and the Civil War, is my sponsor for the project and will be guiding my directed readings this summer also.
With my tuition scholarship comes the obligation to work 10 hours per week. I am using that time as research assistant for Dr. Rebecca Winer. She is an associate professor specializing in Jewish Women's and Medieval History.
Some more exciting news for me. I am now on the team working on this project: http://www.informationwanted.org/about. It's called Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery. A very exciting project headed by Dr. Judith Giesberg. We are scouring newspapers, searching for ads and linking families to ancestors. Dr. Giesberg was on NPR about a week ago [Feb. 2017] talking about the project. Next week CBS will be coming to talk with her about it and seeing how we do the work.
Past: I grew up in the paper mill community of Tomahawk, WI on a beef farm graduating from high school at 17. I successfully raised three children as a single parent and graduated from Northcentral Technical College in Wausau twice. My two degrees were Information Processing Specialist and Certified Medical Assistant.
In 2012 I was admitted to UWRF as a transfer student from Saint Paul College seeking my degree in History.
How UWRF helped to prepare me: While taking classes from Dr. Leichtle, he pointed me to the McNair Scholars program where he knew I would be able to delve deeper into research and the writing of interesting subjects. Kurt offered to be my mentor for my research project, and with his guidance and encouragement I was able to pursue the subject of the One Hundred Days Men of the Civil War. The McNair Scholars Program awarded me a research grant, with which I was able to travel as I gathered information, and with a travel grant through the SURSCA office, i was able to present my work at NCUR 2015 in Cheney Washington. With an invitation to submit my paper from Dr. Leichtle I presented it again at the Phi Alpha Theta/ Missouri Valley History Conference in Omaha, NE. With a generous grant from McNair Scholars, I presented an extended project delving into the women's contribution during the 100 days enlistments at the 23 Annual McNair Scholars Symposium at the University of California-Berkeley in 2015.
It is only through the generosity of time and spirit of Dr. Leichtle that I was able to see the fulfillment of my unstated dream of research and writing. I don't know what he saw in me, but I will always be deeply grateful for the seeds he planted in my heart that allowed me to reach further than I ever imagine. I grew up in a community and social class that did not use the words "college" and "goals." I dared to dream upon enrolling at UWRF, and Dr. Leichtle helped me to break out of shell.
The result of all this is that I will be graduating with my history degree at the age of 52. Even more exciting, I have accepted a full scholarship to Villanova University this Fall.