Next ABA on November 10th!

We hope you will join us for the next meeting of Archivists Being Awesome, which will be held on Thursday, November 10th at the Heritage Center at the Union League of Philadelphia.

Please read on for details about our speakers and important notes about the event. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to direct them to:

The event will be held in the beautiful Sando Room in the Heritage Center at the Union League of Philadelphia, 140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia. The entrance for the Heritage Center is located at the street level double doors, in between the double staircase that leads up to the formal entrance for the Union League. There is a doorbell to the left of the entrance if needed.


4pm – 4:45pm Tour of the Union League (Dress code required – see below)

5pm – 5:30pm Pizza, refreshments, and mingling (Sando Room)

5:30 – 6:30pm Presentations (Sando Room)

6:30pm – 7pm Q&A (Sando Room)

Tour of the Union League

A tour of the Union League has graciously been offered for the first 25 attendees who arrive by 4pm and are willing to adhere to the Union League’s dress code.

Dress Code

The Union League enforces a dress code for the “League House,” which will be required for any attendees who wish to take the 4pm tour. Details on the dress code can be found here:

Attendees who are coming at 5pm for the regular meeting taking place in the Sando Room, do NOT need to adhere to the dress code.


We are very pleased to have four speakers who will each be speaking about current or recently completed internships.

Emily Sabol – I will discuss my experience of processing the Torresdale-Frankford Golf Club records, a collection now housed at the Union League since the League acquired the golf club. The collection raises issues of institutional mergers and creating an archive collection and institutional history when there is minimal/no archived records.

Chelsea Reed – I will be discussing my work as a research assistant and digital library intern for the American Philosophical Society, specifically digitizing the William Parker Foulke papers and developing a website for APS’s Eastern State Penitentiary/prison reform materials. This talk will be about my introduction into digital humanities work and my findings within the Foulke papers.

Jennifer Nieling – I plan to talk about my experience mounting costumes for the “Second Skin” exhibition at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, more specifically special considerations given to mounting costumes and some tricks of the trade, and also some general handling and care of costumes and textiles.

Jo Dutilloy – I will be presenting on my internship with the Library Company of Philadelphia through Tri-Co Digital Humanities in 2014 and how that has affected my interests and career goals up to now. I’ll explain the research and work I was doing about the Amy Matilda Cassey Friendship Album and the library’s other Friendship Albums and then how that prompted my interest in Philadelphia history as well as in making connections with the archivist community of Philadelphia.

Ken Cleary, DVAG Vice-Chair and ABA coordinator

Details for 6/23 ABA at ESP


Detailed information on ABA’s upcoming special event at Eastern State Penitentiary is now available by clicking on the following link:

Please pay attention to the information on tickets for this limited space event, which will become available this Saturday, May 28th, at Noon.

If tickets sell out, you can add your name and contact info to a waiting list here:

Questions or comments?

Send us email or connect with us on social media:

Your DVAG Programming Committee,

Ken Cleary (At-Large Member and ABA Coordinator)
Hillary S. Kativa (Vice-Chair)
Kelsey Duinkerken (At-Large Member)

Save The Date: ABA Special Event on June 23

Archivists Being Awesome is excited to announce a special event that will feature guided tours, hands-on history activities, and mixing and mingling with refreshments served in Al Capone’s cell. Similar to the USS Olympia last year, this event will require a RSVP and will have a cap on the number of participants. Additional details will be announced in the coming weeks, including a heads up on when and how registration will take place. For now, please mark your calendars!

Date: Thursday, June 23, 2016

Where: Eastern State Penitentiary

Time: 5:30pm to 7:30pm

ABA at Philadelphia History Museum 4/19

Please join Archivists Being Awesome at our next meeting on April 19th. As usual, we have an awesome lineup of your colleagues who want to share what they have been up to lately! Pizza and refreshments will be served.

Date: Tuesday, April 19th

Where: The Philadelphia History Museum, 15 S 7th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Time: 5pm to 7pm


Kelsey Duinkerken – “Women Wanted: Finding and Promoting Women in Archival Collections.”

This talk covers the absence of women in the history, historiography, and archive of Thomas Jefferson University, the search for them, and the resulting oral history project that sought to preserve the stories of the first women to attend Jefferson’s medical college and graduate school.

Scott Ziegler – “Open Data at the APS (and Beyond)”

Scott will be talking about open data: what it is and why he loves it. He’ll then talk about current projects at the American Philosophical Society Library to create open datasets to share with the world. Knowing Scott, he’ll probably then try to convince everyone to use the open data to build maps, charts, and other visualization tools.

Bryan Dickerson – “Digital imaging and its role in a community’s re-building after Hurricane Sandy.”

Hurricane Sandy damaged or destroyed upwards of a third of our community’s residences and businesses, especially those on our barrier island section. Since Sandy, our digitized land use records have been used extensively by this government, property owners and insurance adjusters in the community’s post-Sandy recovery.

Christiana Dobrzynski Grippe and Matt Shoemaker – exact title TBD

Our speakers will offer a joint presentation based on the talk they will be giving at MARAC, titled “The Duchamp Research Portal: Moving an Idea to Proof of Concept” that looks at the issues involved with working on a digital humanities project.


Connect with us on social media!


Your DVAG Programming Committee,

Ken Cleary (At-Large Member and ABA Coordinator)
Hillary S. Kativa (Vice-Chair)
Kelsey Duinkerken (At-Large Member)

Save the Date – April 19th

Date: Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Where: The Philadelphia History Museum

Time: 5pm to 7pm

Additional details will be announced in the coming weeks.

** ABA Needs YOU! **

Do you know someone who has done an interesting project that you think we’d all like to hear about?

Have you recently done a presentation or plan to give one at an upcoming conference?

Are you tackling a new challenge or have a topic you’d really like to get feedback from your colleagues on?

If any of this applies, than you or someone you know should come forward and speak at ABA. There is still space available for 1 or 2 additional speakers at our April meetup, as well as our meetup in November.

Details on Nov 4th meeting of ABA!


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Our upcoming meeting of Archivists Being Awesome features four speakers who each have great stories to share!

Want to hear how the “Gettysburg Lectern” used by Abraham Lincoln made its way to Independence Mall for Pope Francis to make his papal address? Would you like to learn some practical tips and tricks for using Tumblr as an archival outreach tool? Want to discover how a six year project to digitize and catalog over 3,100 hours of Native American audio recordings has developed relationships with Native communities? And how awesome will it be to hear from an “embedded archivist” who is helping to demystify archives to university students?

Please join us!

Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015.


5:30 – 6:00pm – pizza, refreshments, mingling.
6:00 – 7:00pm – talks.
7:00 – 7:30pm – Q&A and wrap up.

Where: American Philosophical Society Library, 105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 (In the library “boardroom”)

Read on for more information on each speaker and their topic:


“I was charged with arranging the loan between the Abraham Lincoln Foundation and the World Meeting of Families for the Gettysburg Lectern—the lectern used by Lincoln to deliver the Gettysburg Address and used by Pope Francis in front of Independence Hall for his speech about religious freedom and equality. It was an interesting and complicated experience, where I had to coordinate with so many different organizations and individuals, but got the lectern safely to and from Independence Hall.”

Theresa M. Altieri, CA
The Foundations of The Union League of Philadelphia


“Over the past several years, Tumblr has emerged as a popular social media platform rich with collections-based content from an ever-expanding community of archives and libraries. What makes Tumblr a unique resource for special collections outreach and why should archivists add Tumblr to their social media repertoire? Inspired by her experience working on Othmeralia, the Othmer Library’s Tumblr blog, Hillary Kativa provides a brief introduction to the wonderful world of Tumblr and shares practical tips and tricks for managing a successful blog.”

Hillary Kativa
Curator of Photographic and Moving Image Collections
Othmer Library of Chemical History
Chemical Heritage Foundation


“I’ll be talking about my 6-year project at the APS digitizing and cataloging the entirety of its Native American audio collections (3100+ hours). As part of the talk, I also show a bit about how this project helped us to begin developing partnerships with the Native communities from which the material originated, bringing community members here to select additional non-audio materials for use in revitalization programs, and helping us to benefit from their knowledge of the meaning, significance, and appropriate use of this vast collection area of the APS Library.”

Brian Carpenter
Senior Archivist
Center for Native American and Indigenous Research
American Philosophical Society


“I will be talking about an English class I am working with as an embedded archivist (this is my second time doing so). The class is really intended to de-mystify the archives and make certain that the next generation of researchers is aware of how archival description happens and confident in visiting and using an archival collection. The class reads about and uses archival material throughout the semester and focuses on the value of primary sources.”

Holly Mengel
Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian
Special Collections Processing Center
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
University of Pennsylvania

USS Olympia event tomorrow!


This is a reminder that tomorrow is our event on the USS Olympia! The list of confirmed attendees can be seen by checking the Doodle poll link below. It has been updated to reflect two people who were added from the waiting list. If you see your name, you are good to go!

RSVP list:

Original event annoucement:

To recap:

Where: USS Olympia –

When: Thursday, June 4th, 5:00pm to 7:30pm

5:00pm to 5:30pm – Food and refreshments, including, pizza, salad, buffalo wings, soda and wine!

5:30pm to 7:00pm – Ship tours and talks.

7:00pm to 7:30pm – Mingling

UPDATE: June 4th Event on the USS Olympia


This morning, we hit our RSVP cap of 35 participants! I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the enthusiastic response this event has generated. I should note again that our event would not be possible if it were not for the generous hospitality of Jesse Lebovics and the Independence Seaport Museum. I also want to thank my co-sponsors for this event, Joyce Homan and Valerie-Ann Lutz, who have played a vital part in planning and promoting this event.

Please read on for some important housekeeping:

First, if you successfully responded to the Doodle poll, you have a spot reserved. If anything changes and you can no longer attend, please notify me ASAP.

Second, due to the popularity of this event, a standby list will be created for anyone who would still like to attend. A link to a survey monkey will be sent out tomorrow, May 7, at 12 noon to sign up for the standby list. If a spot opens up, it will be offered to the first person on the list and each person thereafter if more spots become available.

Save the Date: June 4th Event on the USS Olympia


I’m excited to announce that the next Archivists Being Awesome event is co-sponsored by the MARAC Pennsylvania Caucus and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, to be held on the USS Olympia at the Independence Seaport Museum.

The event will feature:

– An introduction to the museum and the Olympia, including an overview of their genealogy project to research former crew members.

– A guided tour of the Olympia, which depending on interest, could include special access to the lower decks and engine room.

– A post-tour gathering for food and socializing (probably pizza and soda). Weather permitting, this will be held outside on the fantail of the ship!

Special notes:

– The event will be free to us and take place after the site closes to the public. In exchange for this, the Independence Seaport Museum is hoping to solicit support from those of us who attend, either with research assistance or help making the information accessible.

– The event will have a cap of 35 people, so an RSVP will be mandatory. To RSVP:


When: Thursday, June 4th. 5:00pm to 7:30pm
Where: The Independence Seaport Museum @ Penns Landing on the Delaware River.