The first month of work on the Pendlebury Archive Project can be summed up as reading, looking, checking, drafting and discussing.
I began by reading through the previous catalogue of the Pendlebury Family Papers, a file about the collection, biographical information about John, and – just for fun – ISAD(G). For non-archive people, ISAD(G) is the General International Standard for Archival Description and outlines data elements to be included in archival descriptions so that they can be shared across different platforms. Though I already knew the principles of ISAD(G) which underlie all archival description software, it’s always helpful to have a refresher.
After absorbing this information I looked over the previous catalogue with a critical eye. I assessed whether this structure made sense, or whether the collection should be reorganised. I settled on a combination. For example, the correspondence section will be restructured. Previously it was divided into “John”, “Hilda”, “John’s parents” etc. These sections had a mixture of items sent and received by John, Hilda or John’s parents. I think it makes more sense to divide the letters into who had received them, as this will reflect their provenance more clearly.
Whilst working on a proposed structure for the collection I checked files and volumes in the archive. I needed to look at items first-hand rather than relying on previous descriptions. The previous catalogue was also necessarily vague in areas (as there had been only 2 weeks to complete it) so I needed to check folders with titles such as “miscellaneous letters”.
There was also material in other related collections to check, and some of this will be added into the John Pendlebury Family Papers. This includes items such as notebooks from the British School’s Excavation Records which are in John’s handwriting. There are also other records of excavations within the John Pendlebury Family Papers which are impossible to extract, so it is best to keep these all together.
I drafted a structure for the catalogue then discussed this with Amalia Kakissis (the Archivist here at the British School). After some more drafting, discussing and redrafting I finally have a plan to work to.
Next… I will be looking at the cataloguing software and beginning to catalogue the correspondence section.