As digital library coordinator and archivist at the TR Center, I’ve done research at prestigious institutions like the Huntington, the New York Public Library, and the Newberry. I keep my reader’s cards from all of these institutions, both as documentation of the professional network I am building for the Center and as a reminder of the privileges I enjoy because of my work. This week I added reader’s cards from Harvard College Library and the Massachusetts Historical Society.
One of the goals of my trip was to identify possible next steps for our collaboration with Harvard. Heather Cole, Curator of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, took me down into the inner labyrinth of the Houghton Library and showed me the whole TR collection. It was a little overwhelming, but in the best possible way. The most exciting moment for me was getting to hold the pigskin edition of Don Quixote. As a reader, there’s nothing more special than holding a book that TR actually read. I also saw the large chests that TR used to transport his books on expeditions. Chests like that are something to think about for a traveling reader like me who loves to build my own library.
While at Harvard, I also got to see the current exhibit in the Theodore Roosevelt Gallery of the Pusey Library. Melanie Veteto, friend of the TR Center, created the exhibition called “The Bull Moose and the China Cabinet.” Visitors to the exhibit can see the evolution of Roosevelt and the Progressive Party’s approach to women’s suffrage. It is an ideal way to celebrate Women’s History Month, and the themes are still relevant today.
At the Massachusetts Historical Society, my highest moment of archival excitement came from three letters between Roosevelt and Mary Bowditch Forbes. Forbes and TR discuss their own ideas about women’s suffrage and Forbes explains why she’s opposed to suffrage.
I thrive on the encounter with primary sources. The TR Center looks forward to continuing to share the history and life of Theodore Roosevelt through new materials added to the digital library.
Images from the current exhibit "The Bull Moose and the China Cabinet" created by Melanie Veteto in the Theodore Roosevelt Gallery of the Pusey Library at Harvard.