November 30, 2010
We’re continuing our series here on the Theodore Roosevelt blog to highlight our volunteers and what they bring to our digital library project. Our next volunteer to spotlight is Kay from Dickinson, North Dakota.
Kay is Professor Emeritus in the departments of Education and Psychology here at Dickinson State University. She retired in 1999 along with her late husband Fred who was the chair and professor in the department of Mathematics. They have six children and 15 grandchildren. Kay and her husband enjoyed camping, traveling, hiking and skiing.
What motivated you to become a volunteer for the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library?
I am interested in Theodore Roosevelt. The more I find out about him, the more fascinated I become.
What has been your favorite part of volunteering?
I enjoy working with several of the other volunteers. It is fun to swap interesting tidbits of info. It is also very helpful to share tips on searching for related information or puzzling out the meaning of a document.
What has been the most challenging part of volunteering?
It is sometimes hard to navigate the software. The new software is easier. Before, sometimes I’d work for a couple of hours on the metadata only to have it “lock up and lose everything.”
Tell us a little about your favorite “discovery” while cataloging.
It was interesting to read about all the hoop-la surrounding the christening of Emperor William’s (Kaiser Wilhelm II) yacht at Shooters Island in 1902. Several of us happened to have related documents pertaining to this event at the same time so could discuss what we were finding out. Alice was the one who actually christened the yacht, the Meteor. This was pretty exciting for her at the age of 17 or 18. She received a golden bracelet from Prince Henry of Prussia.
An excerpt from a letter from Wallace Downey to William Emlen Roosevelt, dated May 31, 1902, explaining the wine controversy surrounding the christening of the Kaiser's new yacht. From the Theodore Roosevelt Papers, Library of Congress Manuscript division
What do you think a potential volunteer needs to have to know or join in the fun?
A volunteer should have an interest in Theodore Roosevelt and a desire to read and learn more. Some computer knowledge is essential and the willingness to learn more is important. The information we received in the introductory class was very worthwhile and helpful. We also need to be able to ask questions to make sure we are doing things correctly and accurately.