Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Meet the Staff - Mary DePeder

Meet Mary DePeder. She is a Micrographics Imaging Operator with the Preservation and Digitization department.

How long have you worked here?

I was very recently hired! I started in January of 2019.

What are some of the things you do as a Micrographics Imaging Operator?

The bulk of my time is spent readying materials to be microfilmed. This includes capturing images of archival and library materials on our digital cameras that I then edit and process in the archive writer. This entails a significant amount of quality checking to ensure that digitized materials are as accessible as possible for public use. When not working on my productivity, I also take on special projects like my current role as a content contributor for the upcoming women’s suffrage centennial.

What is your favorite part of your job?

One of the things I really enjoy is handling original documents every day. Currently I am working on 1918 birth records which so often read like small dramas in the lives of everyday Tennesseans. There’s so much data and research to be mined from these records to help fill in our understanding of ordinary citizens and Tennessee life, so to play a small part in that process is very exciting.

What collection or resource are you excited about right now?

Besides the women’s suffrage collection which we will be highlighting extensively over the next year, I am excited about the John Sales and Christopher D. Ammons Vietnam War collections. These collections cover a period I’m very interested in which is mid to late twentieth century American history. The contents include humorous and sobering letters home and extensive photos that are formidable in widening my understanding of the long term effects of the Vietnam War both locally and abroad.

What do you wish more people knew about the State Library and Archives?

Since I am still fairly new here I have yet to stumble upon any trapdoors or secret passageways. But coming from a public library background one of the primary goals was to widen the public’s perception of what a library is and what it can do for the community and the individual. And so I will take up that same charge again with the state library and archives. One visit or click is simply not enough. Libraries and archives are not static institutions but rather they add and evolve and redirect the public’s eyes to new discoveries. So revisit because who knows what new workshop, book, or collection will be waiting for you next.

Do you have a favorite historical figure, event, or place in Tennessee history?

This is a very difficult question to answer! So I’m going to cheat a little and mention a place/historical figure(s) I have been researching lately for fun on the side. The 1970 Memphis chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is a fascinating organization because it’s complicated and messy and provides lots of room for exploring race, gender, and class conflicts within feminism’s second wave. While certainly not a perfect organization, Memphis NOW was a hotbed of intersectionality working with and against Civil Rights members, anti-feminist groups, and other NOW organizations to help transform themselves and their local communities. To me, this makes it an exciting and important piece of Tennessee history.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

No comments:

Post a Comment