Archives Leadership Institute – Berea, Kentucky

– by Libby Coyner, Archivist 


The Archives Leadership 2016 Cohort

It’s been nearly a month since I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Archives Leadership Institute in Berea, Kentucky, and I wanted to jot down a few thoughts about the magical week. The experience gave me lots of great stuff to bring home to my own institution, but on a personal level, I wanted to share how wonderful it was to enjoy a few days in a lovely setting, getting to learn from my colleagues across the country, and to be reminded of how very fortunate I find myself as part of this larger archives community.


The fearless leaders – organizers and mentors at ALI: Daniel Noonan, Rachel Vagts, Geof Huth. Terry Baxter, Tanya Zanish-Belcher. Beth Myers, Brenda Gunn

First off, I want to say thanks to the organizers of Archives Leadership Institute – I know that coordinating a schedule that action-packed is no small feat! On top of that, they made the week accessible to everyone thanks to a grant funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) – I was a recipient of a very generous scholarship that enabled me to attend. ALI receives at least twice as many applications as can attend, so I recognize what an honor it was to have been selected. (I believe I was the lone representation from a state archives).


Our lovely view every morning!

After several canceled flights, missed shuttles, and sleeping on the floor at the airport, I left Phoenix 6 hours late and arrived in Lexington, Kentucky. Berea is a much smaller town about an hour’s drive away, and I was treated to beautiful green rolling hills along the way. Following the Phoenix heat, it was nice to arrive to cooler weather, though I did gain new appreciation for the term “it’s a dry heat” – that humidity! Berea is a town of under 15,000 folks, and is home to Berea College. Berea is a private liberal arts school that uses a unique model of accepting only students with financial need, and offers education free of charge, but with work-trade. Many students work in artisan workshops creating traditional Appalachian crafts, and it is a central goal of the school to keep these crafts alive – broom-making, ceramics, woodworking, and weaving.


Berea College Campus

The ALI schedule was an ambitious one, with days beginning at 7:30 a.m. and lasting until 8 p.m. or later. It was packed with all kinds of fantastic workshops, including assessing our own leadership strengths, working through archives ethical case studies, learning some tricks of project management, advocating for our institutions, and helping one another polish up the practicum projects we had submitted as part of our application process. (My practicum focuses on an archivist swap, so that archivists in Arizona can travel to each other’s institutions for extended periods of time to learn new skills from colleagues).


The beginning stages of my handbroom

A highlight of the visit was a workshop on broom-making, one of the traditional Appalachian crafts taught at Berea College. We had the opportunity to visit the Broomcraft Shop, get a tour of the different types of brooms they create there, and finally, we had the chance to weave our own brooms to take home. As I mentioned, a core mission of Berea College is to keep traditional Appalachian crafts alive, and their students learn skills in broom-making, wood-working, weaving, and potting.


All smiles after lunch with bell hooks!

Of course, sometimes the highlights of a trip may be the serendipitous, unplanned aspects. For me, this was the surprise lunch we were able to have with author, activist, and identity politics thinker bell hooks, who I’ve been reading since I was a teenager. We had the opportunity to enjoy a meal with her, and travel to her center right there in Berea to discuss her life, her work, and her visions for the future. We wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it weren’t for the incomparable Rachel Vagts, Head of Special Collections at Berea College. We learned that Rachel and bell became friends because of a mutual love of popcorn and thrift stores, but their friendship has blossomed into a relationship between bell and the college, and her papers are now deposited in the Berea College Special Collections and Archives.

Rachel’s work speaks to a wonderful quality I see in many archivists – the ability to deal with the most personal details of people’s lives with a sweet professionalism – the recognition that who we are individually is what enables us to connect with the communities whose records we preserve. I’m beyond grateful to have had the chance to attend, and am so happy to call my colleagues my friends!


Introducing the Arizona State Knowledge Center!

KCArchivesAnnouncing the new web based portal for exploring the archive collections at the State Archives of Arizona, the Arizona State Knowledge Center

Do you want to find out which marriage records for Gila County are housed at the state archives?  Just ASK.  Want to find out which records the State Archives has on the Wyatt Earp inquest? Just ASK!  If you’re interested in information about the Alternative Fuel Program, just ASK.

By going to the Arizona State Knowledge Center Catalog  you can research what archival material is housed at the State Archives.  You can either type into the Search Collections tab a search term or terms, check out our Core Collections, or simply browse all of our collections through the Browse by collection tab.

Your search will bring up finding guides that describe the collection, and in many cases provide a file by file list of what is in each collection.  Once you know what collections you are interested in viewing you can stop by the Polly Rosenbaum State Archives and History Building at 1901 W. Madison, Phoenix, Arizona during regular business hours and talk to an archivist about viewing the material in the collections.


“Kitteh can research teh Game & Fish Commission from home!”

Where the heck is Mineville, Arizona?!

Thanks to Archivist Laura Palma-Blandford for this one! 

One of the great things about working at the State Archives is there’s always something to surprise and befuddle you.  We received several Cochise County Justice Court dockets from the Tombstone Courthouse State Park.  I was reviewing one of the dockets to determine its dates when I found an usual case titled “Town of Mineville, Rhiolite County, Arizona vs. Manuel Hernandez and confederates”.  Mineville?   Rhiolite County?  Had I uncovered a previous unknown location in Arizona?

Full pageIf the weird location wasn’t enough, a quick analysis revealed other signs that someone created a fake case.  The previous pages in the docket book are clean and in good shape.  Our conservator concluded that the person had rubbed dirt on the pages to possibly make them look “historical”.  Also, docket books generally do not include verbatim testimony and clerks refrained from using exclamation points.  The legitimate records date from 1901 but the fake case claimed Rhiolite County was in the State of Arizona suggesting that this was done after 1912.

closeupInstances like these are one of the reasons why government archives are adamant about maintaining chain of custody on records being transferred from the creating agency to the archive.  The Arizona State Archives needs to be able to verify that records haven’t left government custody and been altered.  Since the chain of custody was broken and the docket book altered, the entire record has been compromised and a court of law could refuse to take it as evidence.

I do not think this was done with malicious intent but I think it serves as a good reminder of why records should be recognized as having enduring value, even the mundane ones from 1901.

African-American Schools and Desegregation in Arizona

February is Black History Month, and we’re highlighting the history of desegregation of schools in Arizona. Since the territorial period, members of Arizona’s African-American community have fought segregation of schools, but the state observed varying degrees of optional or compulsory segregation from 1909 until 1953.


Photograph of a Works Progress Administration program at Carver High School library in Phoenix (Ariz.), ca. 1935. RG 89, Arizona Board of Public Welfare.

The Territory of Arizona officially codified racial segregation of schools in 1909, when they passed HB #101. When the first segregated school opened in 1910, African American parents led by Samuel Bayless hired former Governor Joseph Kibbey to seek an injunction against the school board on the grounds that forcing their children to walk across railroad tracks to school was an unnecessary burden, and that the school would be inferior. Unfortunately, this challenge failed, and by the time Arizona became a state in 1912, segregation remained mandated.


HB #101 from 1909 “To prescribe and enforce rules not inconsistent with law or those prescribed by the Territorial Board of Education for their own government and the government of schools; and when they deem it advisable, they may segregate pupils of the African from pupils of the White races, and to that end are empowered to provide all accommodations made necessary by such segregation.” RG 6, Secretary of the Territory.

The first segregated school in Phoenix was Phoenix Elementary’s Frederick Douglass Elementary School at 520 E. Madison, and was later renamed Booker T. Washington Elementary (1921). In 1926, the district built the Phoenix Union Colored High School, which would later become George Washington Carver High School, at 415 E. Grant. It operated until desegregation. In Tucson, the Dunbar School (established 1912) was the first and onlysegregated school, and closed when segregation ended in Arizona. Today, it serves as an African-American Museum and Cultural Center.


In 1951, Hayzel Daniels (attorney, and one of the first African American legislators in Arizona) introduced a bill allowing schools to choose to desegregate. In 1952, voters defeated a bill that would have mandated desegregation. Finally, in “Phillips vs. Phoenix Union High School District.” Judge Fred Stuckmeyer declared “half a century of intolerance is enough,” and ruled segregation to be unconstitutional. PyleLetter2PyleLetter

By the time the U.S. Supreme Courts handed down the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, the ruling that declared “separate but equal” education to be unconstitutional, Arizona had already desegregated.


Though the schools are long gone, the buildings and sites remain important symbols of the struggle for desegregation and Civil Rights in our state. Stop by the reading room and see some of our original documents and published materials related to the history of African-American schools and desegregation in Arizona!

Critters of Arizona


Photograph of two dogs sitting at a piano at the Ganado Navajo Presbyterian Mission in Ganado (Ariz.), ca. 1935, MG 4 Clarence G. Salsbury

Like any good library, we have our fair share of crazy animal lovers here. Cats, dogs, geckos, guinea pigs, we have a little bit of everything. This month, we’re giving some love to the critters in our collections! It turns out that we have a little bit of everything, ranging from dogs playing the piano, random cats pictured in Arizona Highways, and event some ostriches! So next time you’re at the archives, stop by and see some of the goodies we have in the case!


Photograph/colorized postcard of ostriches on an ostrich farm, RG 99 Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, SG 12 Historical Photographs, 97-2915.jpg

Arizona has a long history of interesting critter stories. For instance, we have an ostrich farm that has been in operation for three generations, the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Farm!

And of course, who could forget Beale’s Camel Train, pre-Civil War period when the U.S. Army created the U.S. Camel Corps to experiment with using camels to pack gear through the desert. One figure in this story is Hadji Ali, more commonly known in Arizona as “Hi Jolly,” who was hired as one of the first camel drivers hired by the Army, and whose grave and memorial can be viewed in Quartzsite today.


Photograph of Mr. & Mrs. Hadji Ali (also called Hi Jolly) in Quartzsite (Ariz.)., 1880. RG 99, SG 12, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. History and Archives Historical Photographs.

IMG_5760We also have materials related to wildlife preserves here in Arizona, which are partly documented in David Brown’s 2012 history of the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, Bringing Back the Game.


Letter from Boy Scouts of America in favor of Big Horn Sheep Refuge, RG 47, Arizona Department of Game and Fish.


Bringing Back the Game: Arizona Wildlife Management, 1912-1962. David Brown. Phoenix, Ariz. : Arizona Game and Fish Dept., c2012.

Papago Park and the Case for Dumpster-Diving


A colorized map from the Proposed Plan for Papago Park, submitted by the City of Phoenix Planning Commission in 1956

Papago Park is a local treasure here in the Valley, and one that has many layers of history. Boasting many interesting geological formations, the park has served as reservation to Pima and Maricopa tribes in the 19th century, the Papago-Saguaro National Monument (designatedin 1914, but revoked in 1930), German Prisoner-of-War camp during World War II, a VA hospital, and an Army Reserve, It is home to former Governor George W.P. Hunt’s tomb, and once featured an amusement park called Legend City. We tend to think that Papago Park has some pretty important history – and apparently, so did Charles Eatherly when he dredged a box out of the trash forty years ago when he started his career at Arizona State Parks.


Proposed Plan for Papago Park, submitted by the City of Phoenix Planning Commission in 1956.

Last week, in the latest installment of treasures coming out of Arizona State Parks/State Historic Preservation Office, we were able to take in the small box of records related to the sale of Papago Park to the City of Phoenix in 1959. Records include maps, leases, correspondence, right-of-way information, etc. Welcome to the State Archives, Papago Park records. And thanks to Mr. Eatherly for recognizing these gems and saving them for all of us to enjoy! 


Conditional Certificate of Purchase of Papago Park by City of Phoenix from the Arizona State Parks Board, 1959


Letter from longtime Yuma Legislator Harold Giss to Charles Reitz of the State Parks Board regarding the sale of Papago Park to the City of Phoenix

Exciting New Records from the State Historic Preservation Office!


Map Librarian Julie Hoff surveys new records just transferred from the State Historic Preservation Office

Records often come to the State Archives through a random series of events – sometimes when someone is cleaning out a storage unit, sometimes when someone leaves office, sometimes shrouded in (gasp!) scandal! This is a story of none of these things. We received a call recently that the State Historic Preservation Office would be relocating from it’s offices in the Corporation Commission buildings to historic Evans House at 11th Avenue and Washington.


1893 Historic Evans House, new home of the State Historic Preservation Office.

We expect more materials from SHPO down the line, but for now, we went over for a transfer of county maps and architectural drawings. Among the materials transferred, we were particularly smitten with a large book of drawings of significant sites in Arizona, many of them dating from the 1930s and done during the Works Progress Administration! Here are some of our favorites.


Details of column, San Xavier del Bac Mission, dated 1940


Reredos (altarpiece) drawings, San Xavier del Bac Mission, dated 1940


Ceiling details with color schemes, San Xavier del Bac Mission, dated 1940


Elevation drawings, Mission San Jose De Tumacácori, dated 1937


Cross-sections of the sanctuary, Mission San Jose De Tumacácori, dated 1937