Contributed by Darby Reiners and Ashley Williams.
We started to tackle the processing of the Animal Rights Network Records in August and have made a significant dent in them. The collection is massive, containing over 250 boxes, and at first seemed quite daunting. Our first step was to work with groups of material that were more identifiable in the larger collection. These smaller series may belong to a particular individual or organization (such as Farm Animal Reform Movement or Fund for Animals). Organization from series to series varies, and sometimes varies even within a series, depending on the material. The original state of the material itself ranges from items in labeled folders to items with no discernible organization that are not always identifiable at first glance. This collection definitely presents challenges, but we are meeting them head-on.
We are identifying common subjects across different groups of papers and now recognize organizations that appear multiple times throughout the collection. Who knew there could be so many organizations related to animals? The big ones are represented, like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the Humane Society of the United States. There are also organizations such as Feminists for Animal Rights and Concern for Helping Animals in Israel.
Some of the things we have found are unique, to say the least. Newspapers rolled in old paper towel tubes, clever poetry, and a white furry folder have all been uncovered. The folder made us pretty nervous at first– it was at the bottom of a box and it was not clear at all what it was when we first laid our hands on it!
We will share more items and developments as we continue to process the collection.