The staff of the Archives and Special Collections (ASC) are excited to launch Open Stacks as a way to share with the public the dynamic and diverse content found in our collections. With this digital platform, we also hope to connect more meaningfully with our users, highlight the varied work we perform, and share important research tips. In short, we hope to open up the stacks of ASC to our readers. You will enjoy posts from ASC staff members along with guest posts by interns, student employees, and maybe a visiting researcher or two. We plan to publish at least weekly, with fresh content coming at you each Tuesday.
ASC collects both archival and published material all the while promoting academic inquiry into the history, culture, peoples, and resources of New Mexico, the American Southwest, and the US-Mexico borderlands region. Our holdings come in all published forms, genres, and formats; and predominately are in the English language with some European and Native American languages present. The collection dates from the 1500s through the present, with the bulk of the holdings created after 1900. Future posts will provide insight into how to access the ASC collections remotely and how to select and order reproductions of our holdings. Additionally, we will explain the work of the different units within the department:
- Rio Grande Historical Collections
- Special Collections
- Political Collections
- Hobson-Huntsinger University Archives
As the Open Stacks grows in content, we would encourage you to explore the site by using the available search options by keyword, date, or category tags. The category tags will guide you to posts written on similar themes, uncovering content that might also be of interest. These tags will build over time as we publish more posts and make readers aware of recent donations, upcoming events, updates on long-term projects, and newly available search tools, to name just a few of our expected blog categories.
Some may wonder why ASC would start a blog now, especially given the current situation with the COVID-19 global pandemic? While ASC staff have discussed starting a blog over the last year, we feel that this effort will allow us to support our users and stay in contact with them, wherever they may be. With social distancing in place and many isolating at home, the digital environment still offers us a chance to share our interest and research in the Land of Enchantment.
When we look back to the last quarantine to strike Las Cruces, the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, we can find in the archival record eerily similar experiences and thoughts expressed by those associated with New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts as we at NMSU might be feeling 100 years later. In the 1919 student yearbook, available at the Library’s Digital Collections, the academic calendar notes the numerous 14-day quarantines, instances of ill students being transferred to El Paso for medical care, and restrictions on travel to and from Las Cruces (see pages 103-120). As the October 7th entry expressed, “This Spanish influenza is certainly no joke.”
Pandemics are, indeed, no joke. Not in 1918, nor in 2020. Take care, stay connected, and Go Aggies!