My first archival project here has been completely fascinating. The Catholic Church in India from 1880-1893? I know absolutely nothing about that! I found myself absorbed with the first few volumes, trying to get a sense of that world. The pages were browned, the edges were crumbling, some of the spines were a wreck and the smell evoked cherry-wood bookcases surrounding cups of tea and deep leather sofas. I do not think I have held a book that is 135 years old. That alone was enthralling.
Many of the pages include multiple clippings without author or publication. As a librarian and grad student, this bothered me. What was the source? Was it reliable? Yet the stories they contained were often very interesting and I found myself reading them. Then there were the larger publications of the church. These served to inform about the status of the missions and give an impression of the people and places that the missionaries were encountering. Some of these included illustrations. The captions on these were always worth reading since they gave insight into relationships and impressions.
This collection, when I got into it, seemed a bit like organized chaos. I appreciate the Finding Aid that I learned how to create for it so that hopefully people interested in the material will be able to enjoy looking through it as much as I did. On a final note, as a self-professed lover of languages I enjoyed sorting through not only English but also the French and Portuguese items included!