If you remember from last week’s post, Evening at the Archives will be held later this week at 7pm on Thursday, October 18th. During the event, James McCommons will be talking about George Shiras III, a conservationist from the early 20thcentury who was in correspondence with President Theodore Roosevelt.
Well, have I got a story for you!
In the summer of 2011, not long after we received the Shiras collection, James McCommons requested photocopies of most of the collection’s correspondence files. While the collection is not as vast as some that we have copied for other patrons, many of the letters are old and somewhat irregular, thus requiring more time to scan without damaging the document. As I made my way through a folder, in the mindless rhythm of repetition, I came across a letter which had been improperly preserved.
The envelope was still folded around the opened letter, and after sitting in a file for 20 years or more, the glue from the envelope flap had sealed itself onto the front of the letter. Cursing whatever person had initially accessioned it, I carefully set about separating the envelope from the letter, trying not to damage either. Eventually I had the two separated, and as I glanced down at my handy-work I made a shocking discovery. All along, Theodore Roosevelt’s signature had been on the letter!
I quickly went back through the papers I had already copied and realize that all of the letters in that folder were either to or from the President. Some of the letters were of a professional nature, while other hinted at a sort of friendship between Shiras and Roosevelt. If you want to know more about their correspondence, come to Evening at the Archives, or visit the office to view the letters for yourself! If you can make it this Thursday, email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
Prepared by Olivia Ernst.