On Sept. 21 in the University Center, TAMU-CC hosted their third History Harvest event in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. History Harvest is a new program implanted this year run by the Special Collections and Archives. They ask members from the Coastal Bend community to bring and donate their family memorabilia to be added to the collection. Approximately 70 documents have been donated so far this year.
Dr. Catherine Rudowsky, the Dean of Libraries at TAMU-CC, explains that History Harvest began from President Quintanilla’s desire to be involved more with the community.
“She called a task-force together of university administration and community members,” said Rudowsky, “and we brainstormed ways to make sure we’re preserving our local history and involving our community in that preservation of local history.”
Amanda Kowalski, Library Information Specialist at the Special Collections and Archives, says that when people come in with their items, staff gathers information pertaining to the who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, and why’s, and then the donator is given a digital copy of what they brought in so they don’t leave empty-handed. The item is then put in Special Collections so it can be stored in a climate-controlled environment, preserving it for future generations to see.
One of the most common documents is photographs and letters, but Rudowsky explains that it doesn’t have to be just about major events. Documents of daily, family life gives us an inside view into how people lived during those times.
“I think people underestimate the value that even their personal papers and images can bring to building an understanding of the history of a community,” said Rudowsky, “and so just helping the community realize that whether you were with Dr. Hector P. Garcia or not, it’s possible that you have something that’s very important to the history.”
People can go see the collected items in the Special Collections and Archives on campus. You do have to request to see them, and it is a closed circulation, so they do have to stay in the collections. There is also a digital repository online where you can view some of the documents.
The next History Harvest is scheduled to be sometime in November around Veteran’s Day, so the main goal then will be to collect documents pertaining to veteran history. So, if you’re from the Coastal Bend and would like to donate family documents from your grandfather that served in the military, make sure to keep an eye out for the History Harvest.