Library Special Collections Plans Brown Bag, Invites Donations of Presidential Debate Materials
October 16, 2008
Miss. – With the first 2008 presidential debate already another chapter in the storied history of the University of Mississippi, plans are under way in the J.D. Williams Library to create a lasting collection of material to help preserve a tangible part of that landmark event.
To augment this effort, the library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections plans to host a Brown Bag Lunch program Oct. 23, inviting people from the Lafayette-Oxford-University community to gather and reflect on the debate and to bring with them donations of debate-related material for the Presidential Debate Collection.
“History Lives in Mississippi: Creating the Presidential Debate Collection” is the event’s theme, because it commemorates American Archives Month and is the onset of the collection process for memorabilia, documents, and any material pertaining to the presidential debate, said Leigh McWhite, political papers archivist and assistant professor.
The program, which is free and open to the public, begins at noon in the Faulkner Room of Archives and Special Collections on the library’s third floor. Attendees are invited to bring their lunch and enjoy the program featuring three speakers who are to relate their roles in creating and preserving the university’s history.
They are Andy Mullins, executive assistant to the chancellor, explaining the application process that resulted in the debate being hosted at UM; David Sansing, professor emeritus of history, placing the debate in the context of the university’s history; and Andy Harper, special assistant to the chancellor for media relations, playing film clips that chronicle the debate.
“We have decided to conduct a number of Brown Bags to highlight the political material in our collections during the debate,” McWhite said. “From the beginning, the administration has been concerned about keeping a record of this historical affair, so we are asking anyone who was involved in planning or the participation of debate activities to donate material such as files, clippings, recordings, ephemera, photos and newspaper articles for the collection.”
The archives department is also accepting material from other sources, including debate-related academic programs and courses, brown bag and other programs, student debate activities, academic debate contests, Grove functions, panel discussions, agendas and minutes, printed e-mails, article clippings – anything that’s been produced as a result of the debate. All donations will be added to the Presidential Debate Collection and sheltered in the archives.
“After the donations are organized and preserved, archives will process the material and make it available to researchers as quickly as possible,” McWhite said. “I like to impress upon audience members how history continues to happen and that archives plays a role in preserving those records, including recent events. People can contribute by passing along their material.”