Organizing Unique Collections at the SAHS Research Library

The completed Mary Hafeman Collection!

The completed Mary Hafeman Collection!

by Stephanie Underhill

During my internship at the Saint Augustine Historical Society, I have been primarily doing minimal processing of incoming collections. Firstly, I worked with the Mary Hafeman Collection, MC 132. This is a collection concerning the professional golfer Mary Hafeman who was the director of the Ponce De Leon Golf Course and Resort. I divided the documents into two categories. One concentrated on Mary Hafeman’s life and the other on the Ponce Golf Course and Resort. After that, I ordered them both chronologically. It was challenging since Mary was the director of the facility, her history started to intertwine with the Ponce’s history. Establishing a clean line between the two categories was hard but necessary. The collection contained photographs which were photocopied for the collection so the originals could be moved to the photography collection in the Historical Society. The collection demonstrated the importance of the golf course and why it could not be saved from demolition in 2003. The collection was primarily documents, but it also had a minutes book that covered the monthly meeting and the finances from the 20th Century. I organized and labeled folders for all the documents and I created a finding aid that was added to the collection.

The neatly boxed blueprints.

The neatly boxed blueprints.

Next I worked with collection MC 129, which was the Craig Thomson Architectural papers. This collection was all blueprints and layouts of renovations that occurred in Saint Augustine between the 1970s and 1999. To consolidate this project as a collective group, was challenging. I had to remove the staples from every document in order to help preserve the papers. Which was a tedious task, but easily done.  When unrolling the documents for the first time, I never knew what I was going to find. I unrolled on document and discover a 3-inch-long, dead grasshopper! It startled me, but that was the worst of the surprises. It was excited to open a role and discover renovations and restoration work that had been done on landmark buildings like the Hotel Alcazar, in the city.  The hardest part of this collection was to decide how to organize it. The plans were made by three different organizations that were all an extension of Craig Thomson, covering diverse projects. An additional problem was that the projects numbers were misleading, and some even had no information. Finding a logical way to organize took rearranging the collection over and over again. I eventually organized it by company, then project number which ultimately made the collection organize chronologically. It made me realize that dates are not the only method of chronological order. The development or progression of a company can be chronological as well. I organized and placed the plans into tubes, and created a finding aid for the collection.

Ketterlinus Class of 1941

Ketterlinus Class of 1941

The last collection and the current collection I am working with fall into the MC16 collections. These are significantly smaller collections than what I have been working with. The first one was a collection of papers and keepsakes from Ketterlinus Class of 1941 and there class reunions. The collection was organized chronologically and the photos where photocopied and moved to the photo collection. I am currently working with the Susan Best Collection. It is a collection of papers regarding properties in the Saint Augustine area dating, earliest, from the 1820s. It is a unique collection and creating the finding aid for this collection is hard because every document has so much information that needs to be included in the finding aid. It is an important collection, which I am only being to discover the depths of. After I complete this collection I will be move on to learning how to upload files to the Historic Society’s database. This internship has provided me with lots of hands on knowledge, while being able to further explore the history of Saint Augustine.


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