Modern Literary Fonds: Split by Principle

Modern Literary Fonds: Split by
Pavia Workshop
28 February 2013
Michael Forstrom
Manuscript Unit, Beinecke Library
The principle of respect des fonds is the basis of archival
arrangement and description (Describing Archives: A Content
Standard, 2004):
"The records created, assembled, accumulated, and/or
maintained and used by an organization or individual must be
kept together... in their original order, if such order exists or has
been maintained... This dictum is the natural and logical
consequence of the organic nature of archival materials" (DACS,
• Early formulation of respect des fonds, Natalis de Wailly,
"Circulaire du 16 April 1841"
• Refinement of the principle by German archivists (1881)
• Dutch Manual of Arrangement and Description of Archives
• International congress of librarians and archivists in Brussels in
• Dissemination of Dutch Manual through translation
• Developments in the U.S.
• Rediscovery of idea of fonds in 1970s-80s
• Defining the fonds in modern archives
• Provenance versus original order
• Applying original order to the fonds of individuals and to
electronic/digital records
• Principles or methodologies?
• Alternatives to the fonds: record groups, archival groups,
collections, etc.
Types of split fonds
• Split between different collecting repositories
• Split between fonds and what survives
• Split by collecting strategy or agreement
• Split between early portion of papers and creator
• Split by relocation and change in custody
• Split between portion of papers and component in private hands
• Split by provenance: papers versus artificial collection
Types of split fonds (continued)
• Split by accession(s)
• Split within institutions
• Split between personal, professional, and family papers
• Split between papers and media
• Split between papers and born-digital
• Split by reproduction
• Split between collection(s) and national interest
Description Standards
• Data content:
• Data structure
Associated Materials
Printed material received with the collection was removed for
separate cataloging and can be accessed by searching the library's
online catalog.
The Lockwood Memorial Library at the State University of New
York at Buffalo also houses Williams papers.
Associated Materials (continued)
Yale University's Beinecke Library holds a major deposit of William
Carlos Williams' papers. Among its ninety-four-box Williams collection
are three boxes of John Thirlwall's research materials for The Selected
Letters of William Carlos Williams. A second major collection of
Williams' manuscripts and correspondence is housed in the Poetry
Collection at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.
Drafts of Williams' Paterson are split between these two collections, with
materials for Books I and II at Buffalo, and materials for Books III-V at
Yale. Smaller Williams collections are held at the University of Delaware,
the University of Virginia, and Indiana University's Lilly Library.
• Description
Local/institutional finding aid databases
Regional databases
Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC)
• Projects
Location registers
Digital Humanities projects
Scholarly editing projects
• Becker, Devin and Collier Nogues. "Saving-Over, Over-Saving,
and the Future Mess of Writers' Digital Archives..." American
Archivist 75 (Fall/Winter 2012)
• Cook, Terry. "The Concept of the Archival Fonds: Theory,
Description and Provenance in the Post-Custodial Era," in Terry
Eastwood (eds.) The Archival Fonds (1992)
• Duchein, Michel. "Theoretical Principles and Practical Problems
of Respect des Fonds in Archival Science." Archivaria 16
(Summer 1983)
• Horsman, Peter. "The Last Dance of the Phoenix, or the Re-
Discovery of the Archival Fonds." Archivaria 54 (Fall 2002)
References (continued)
• Lee, Cal. "Collecting the Externalized Me: Appraisal of Materials
in the Social Web," in Cal Lee (ed.) I, Digital (2011)
• Millar, Laura. "The Death of the Fonds and the Resurrection of
Provenance: Archival Context in Space and Time." Archivaria 53
(Spring 2002)
• Schellenberg, Theodore. Modern Archives: Principles and
Techniques (1956)
• Yeo, Geoffrey. "The Conceptual Fonds and the Physical
Collection," Archivaria 73 (Spring 2012)
• Yeo, Geoffrey. "Bringing This Together: Aggregate Records in a
Digital Age," Archivaria 74 (Fall 2012)

similar documents