Tag Archives: Berry College Archives

Alumni working in Berry College Archives

PRESERVING BERRY HISTORY: From left, Tom Butler (65A), Dr. Ouida Word Dickey (50C, FFS) and Claudette West Bearden (68C) organize documents in the Berry College Archives during a previous Alumni Work Week. This spring, Dr. Dickey’s daughter, Jennifer, will lead a new effort to collect oral histories from alumni in video form.

Jennifer Dickey

Jennifer Dickey

Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C) has spent much of her professional life studying the history of her high school and college alma mater. Now, in her role as Alumni Council vice president for Berry culture and heritage, she is spearheading a new project meant to further enrich our understanding of that history by incorporating the voices of alumni who have lived it.

Dickey, who serves as Berry’s history consultant in addition to her work as a professor of history at Kennesaw State University, will be working with the Alumni Council’s Heritage Committee to capture these memories in video form through oral histories that will be housed in the Berry College Archives and eventually could be made available online.

“There has never been a systematic, sustained effort to capture the experiences and memories of Berry alumni,” Dickey explained, noting that previous initiatives have been more narrowly focused. “We really want to try to go after everybody.”

The project will launch this May, with initial interviews taking place at Alumni Weekend and Alumni Work Week. After that, it will become an ongoing effort.

“This is not just a ‘Berry is great’ tale,” Dickey stated. “We want them to talk about all of their experiences here – the good and the bad.

“I think it’s going to be a really interesting project,” she added. “Everyone’s experience here is different, but there are a lot of commonalities too.”

Current Berry students will be helping with the project. If you’d like to be involved, email Dickey at jdickey2@kennesaw.edu.

By student writer Kendall Aronson

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Ever wonder what it would be like to know Berry’s famous founder? Well, we can’t quite offer you that (unless someone out there has access to a time machine), but the Martha Berry Digital Archive provides the next best thing. This new online resource is a freely available, collaborative, community driven project featuring more than 13,000 digital images of handwritten notes, typewritten letters, photographs and other documents dating from 1885 to 1941 that make up the Martha Berry Collection in the Berry College Archives. It was conceived by Dr. Stephanie Schlitz (92C) and developed in collaboration with students, faculty and staff at Berry as well as students and staff members at Penn State University and Bloomsburg University.

Together, these items reveal the real Martha Berry while also yielding new insights into history, language, culture and other related topics, including American politics, women’s issues, agriculture, education reform and family history. The beauty of this resource is that it is ever evolving, and with your help we can learn even more!

Get involved today by visiting the MBDA website and creating an editor’s account. This will allow you to take an active role in answering simple but important questions about document dates, authors, recipients and subjects, thus improving our understanding of each item’s historical and cultural significance. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, we welcome your contributions!

Look for more on the development of the MBDA in the Summer 2013 issue of Berry magazine.

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