Here is our final guest blog post, from Alex, who worked with us this past summer during the big drive to the finish line. Alex, yours is the last word:
Hello Readers! I am an intern at the Library this summer working on materials under the Battle of Hampton Roads Grant, mostly with materials from the Irwin Berent and Ernest Peterkin Collections. I have found the experience very worthwhile and it has been an intriguing glimpse into the world of Archival and Library Science. I wanted to share with you all one of the documents that I personally found to be the most compelling while I was cataloging.
This letter, from the Irwin Berent Collection, is actually written by Berent himself to John Newton. The letter is requesting the possibility of Berent being hired as an archivist if and when there is some type of Tidewater Monitor – Merrimack Museum, Library, and Archives created. Although Berent worked under Newton, they seemed to be good friends as they shared many interests, especially the Monitor and Merrimack. As such, the letter is written in a rather informal fashion and, if you take the time to read through it, some parts are quite funny. This letter gave me the most insight into the kind of young man that Berent was and therefore helped me to get to know him better. Since I was working through a lot of material created by him, documents like this one were priceless in that they helped me to better comprehend and analyze other materials by Berent.
I found this letter in particular very easy to relate to since I am a rising senior at CNU and will soon be seeking employment. Almost two-thirds of the letter is just Berent listing his achievements, somewhat awkwardly in my opinion. I often feel the same way when promoting myself for a position or internship. Although I know that self-promotion is healthy and necessary, it is reassuring that others, such as Berent, have taken the same plunge as I will and aren’t ashamed of listing their every achievement and ability to pursue their dreams and goals.
Memo from Irwin Berent to John Newton, ca. 1980, MS0164, Irwin M. Berent Collection
Thanks, Alex. All of us wish that you and your colleagues may pursue and achieve your dreams and goals, the way that Berent did. For those of you interested in how Irwin Berent has fared in the last 34 years, please have a look at his online bio. He has been a very busy man!