From our intern, Emily Alesia Poteat

Hi all! My name is Emily Alesia Poteat, and I am an intern at The Rosenbach in the curatorial department as part of Villanova University’s Albert Lepage Center for History in Public Interest internship program. I am thrilled to take part in this internship program, as it offers students like myself the opportunity to develop skills and gain experience working on historical projects. At Villanova University I am Master’s in History candidate with a concentration in Public History. My secondary focus for my degree is temporally focused on 19th to 20th century United States and European history; further, I am particularly interested in questions of identity building, intellectual history, and political histories. Since completing my thesis on Henry L. Stimson and his machinations on the end of World War II, my research has turned to Joseph McGarrity and his efforts for the Irish republican movement at the beginning of World War II. I am particularly delighted to work with The Rosenbach this Summer under the supervision of Jobi Zink the institution’s Registrar, as I have a deep passion for special collections and working with rare materials. Following the completion of my Master’s in History at Villanova, I am planning to apply to Master’s in Library Science programs this Fall with a concentration in archives and special collections. So, The Rosenbach is a wonderful fit.

With The Rosenbach’s curatorial department I am working on two projects. For the first project I am transcribing 19th century American letters, and these letters are riveting to work through. From the diverse penmanship of the different historical figures to the elegant Spencerian script I have encountered these are fascinating to work through. I have a particular passion for transcription, as at Villanova University I just completed my joint graduate assistantship with their Distinctive Collections and Irish Studies Department. This well-prepared me to work through The Rosenbach’s letters, as I was responsible for transcribing rare manuscripts pertaining to Irish republicanism and Irish Americans. So far in my transcription work I have encountered a variety of topics. Most prominently these letters have touched on gendered relationships, travel, and personal affections. I am looking forward to continuing working through these in the coming weeks.

My second project with The Rosenbach is exhibition preparation for an upcoming exhibition concerning prominent American historical figures (more to come soon!). For this project I created a spreadsheet to send off with objects to appraisers. This spreadsheet is important as it provides all the essential information on each object. For instance, authors, artists, creations dates, and the like are included in this spreadsheet. Also, as a part of this project I am transcribing and researching each document. These transcriptions allow an amazing glimpse into the ideations of some of the United States’ most prominent historical figures. In undertaking exhibition research for this project, I am uncovering the good and bad alike for each of these figures, and this is allowing for a more truthful and well-rounded history to be constructed on these figures and their actions in their lifetimes.

I am excited to continue working on these projects in the coming week and I hope to have exciting updates soon on what I uncover in my transcriptions and research!