Four hundred and twenty-six-odd boxes? No problem for Lauren VanDenBerg, the new archivist for the Congressman Barney Frank Archives at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Hired in May, Lauren has been hard at work all summer processing the collection in order to eventually make it accessible to the public. This work requires putting considerable thought into how best to organize the Congressman’s papers, leaving his staff’s filing system in place as much as possible. To accomplish this, she first needed to understand how a congressional office works in conjunction with its district offices, and how Frank worked in particular. She also had to familiarize herself with the Congressman’s career and major issues that he has been known to champion. She compiled a list of the 797 bills he sponsored over his 32-year career in Congress, which will eventually provide the public with a timeline of his political career and a contextual framework for research within the papers. Mr. Frank donated his papers to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2013. The project should take approximately two years to complete.
Lauren VanDenBerg received her Master’s in Library and Information Science with a focus on Archives and Special Collections from Kent State University. During her graduate studies, she performed reference services for the photography collection at the Stephen H. Hart Library and Research Center located within the History Colorado Center. She also worked as a student archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration’s Rocky Mountain Division in Denver, Colorado. While there, she processed the historical records of the National Forest Service, the Civilian Conservation Corp, and others. Lastly, at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science she collaborated with a team of visual archivists to catalog their backlog of over 30,000 negatives in the 35mm film collection.
Prior to joining the archives staff at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Lauren worked at the Colorado State Archives as a Project Archivist. She was responsible for processing records of various State Legislature committees in preparation for digitization. That project included the records of the 1982 Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee which involved an investigation of corrupt police officials, Cadillacs, and Elvis.
To get in touch with Lauren, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, call her office at 508-999-8853, or stop by the Congressman Barney Frank Reading Room on the Claire T. Carney Library’s third floor (Room 353), next to the Veterans’ Reading Room. The room will be open every week during the semester, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.