History of the Wiregrass Archives at Troy University Dothan Campus
Researchers long have decried the lack of a significant archival repository to serve the Wiregrass region of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. In 1999, Troy State University Dothan President Michael Malone set in motion the Wiregrass Archives by negotiating the deposit of the congressional records of Rep. Terry Everett (AL-2) and by designating space for a repository in the R. Terry Everett Hall on the TUD campus.
Library Director Julia Smith and an advisory committee secured a $142,000 grant to fund the archives through the federal government’s Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This money has provided start-up consultation, physical plant, computers, printers and the archival supplies needed to process, make accessible and preserve the various collections that document both the Wiregrass region and Troy University Dothan. Also, the money was used to fund a portion of the salary needed to hire a professional archivist to manage the facility. Library Assistant Tina Bernath attended a two-week workshop in archival management provided by the Georgia Institute of Archivists and conducted the beginning work of the project until the arrival of Dr. Martin T. Olliff as archivist in January 2002.
The Wiregrass Archives MISSION STATEMENT
- Historic Manuscripts: From non-university sources, the Wiregrass Archives will address records and manuscripts that document the history and culture of the Wiregrass.
- University Archives: The Wiregrass Archives will address records created or received by Troy University Dothan Campus (and its predecessors) and its employees.
- Coordinate Information: Recognizing that no single repository can collect all appropriate records and manuscript, the Wiregrass Archives will identify other such collections in other repositories and coordinate access to them.
To accomplish its three-part mission, the Wiregrass Archives will follow the best practices of archival administration, as well as the guidelines established by its published collecting policy and the Public Universities Functional Analysis and Records Disposition Authority published by the State of Alabama.
The Wiregrass Archives COLLECTING POLICY
Historic manuscripts: The Wiregrass Archives collects records that document the following areas throughout the Wiregrass Region:
Economic life: Includes records of entire industries and individual businesses engaged in agriculture, timber and naval stores, retail and wholesale marketing, healthcare and manufacturing. Also includes records of trade and commerce associations.
Government and politics: Includes records of governing bodies at all levels, individual politicians and organizations that engage in political activities.
Non-governmental civic life: Includes records of civic clubs, fraternal organizations, service clubs and churches.
Folkways and high culture: Includes records that document vernacular culture (such a activities noted in Wiregrass Country by Jerrilyn McGregory) as well as high art, theater and literature. Of particular importance are records of visual, graphic and performing artists, along with Wiregrass Writers.
Impact of the military on the region: Records not otherwise secured by law that document the presence of various military bases and personnel in the Wiregrass and their impact on the region.
Research findings: Records scholars and researchers have compiled on history and life in the Wiregrass.
Individual lives of community leaders and ordinary citizens: Personal papers, diaries, letters, business records, memoirs and oral histories from individuals and families who have lived in the Wiregrass.
Troy University Dothan Campus Archives: The Wiregrass Archives provides records management consulting to the divisions of Troy University Dothan Campus and collects/preserves/makes accessible campus records of enduring value. It does so as guided by the State of Alabama RDA for Public Colleges and Universities.
Coordinate information: The Wiregrass Archives recognizes that its staff cannot adequately provide the proper research environment by unilaterally collecting historical manuscripts. The Wiregrass Archives also recognizes that research about the Wiregrass is hindered if area manuscript repositories and archives compete for collections or ignore one another. Consequently, the Wiregrass Archives actively promotes cooperation and information sharing among repositories.