How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail?

While I’m a busy bee today, improving each shining hour, I’ll leave you with an interesting series of posts by Notorious Girl, Ph.D., who took some time out from her work in Exotic Research City to write a little primer on A Day in the Archives, Part I and Part II.  These might be especially useful for graduate students considering with trepidation their first trip to the archives for seminar paper or dissertation research.  Notorious reports that she’s planning a Part III, after a little fun break with a pal from back home.  Dance at Prone to Laughter posted a response with a little mystery document from her collection–click on the photo to enlarge, and don’t read the comments until after you’ve puzzled through it! 

As you all know, Historiann insists on archival research.  Don’t let me catch any of you submitting dissertation chapters that don’t include archival work, friends!  And an archivist named Jacob who blogs at Jacobpedia has already jumped into the old Sister Agnes thread–his blog is worth checking out.

0 thoughts on “How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail?

  1. The Alice link was a lot of fun–thanks! Isaac Watts, author of the “busy bee” original parodied in “How doth the little crocodile,” is described in The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse as having made “a free adaptation of the Psalms… remarkable chiefly for the substitution of ‘Britain” for ‘Israel,’ which links the poet with those retired Anglo-Indian colonels in Cheltenham of our own day who prove conclusively that we are the Lost Tribes.” (Victoria Sackville-West said that “The Stuffed Owl” “belongs in every home,” and it’s hard to disagree.)


  2. How about some poorly focused microfilm of negative photostats of semi-literate eighteenth-century Virginian handwriting with lots of bleed through from the other side? Now that’s fun archival research!


  3. JJO–How did you know what I was doing after Monday’s lecture, before I send my fellowship application off to Colonial Williamsburg?


  4. I just assumed that’s what everybody does after lecture on Mondays!

    While I think most Americanists, even colonialists, would lose a game of “my documents are worse than yours” pretty badly to those in other fields, those negative photostats are no fun at all. When I showed copies to a grad research seminar, the looks of dismay were almost funny. And having to refocus the microfilm to read different parts of the page just adds to the fun.


  5. True enough, JJO, but the answer to a bad day at the archive is MORE days at the archive(s). There’s nothing worse than stumbling out of a research tank into the fading light when you’ve been skunked by the sources, but the opposite is also true. When the shots start falling (again), it’s pure bliss.


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