Happy May Day! Working on the Dartigue Collection

Sifting through e-mail, I see that May 1, 2014 marks a significant second anniversary:  the beginning of collaborative work with John Dartigue, son of Maurice and Esther, on the Maurice Dartigue Collection and its sub collections, Additional Writings by and about Maurice Dartigue; and Writings by and about Esther Dartigue. It was on May 1, 2012 that I promised to address corrections to the “biography” of John’s father, former Minister of Education, Agriculture, and Labor in Haiti; Senior Specialist in Education at the United Nations; and UNESCO Chief of many divisions (among other posts)  — not realizing the birth of a truly special project that built upon the work of the PocketMasters, our staff conducting the digitization of the library’s archives. Coincidentally, May Day is celebrated throughout the world not only as the beginning of Spring, but an international day honoring workers.

French language skills came into action, as did scrupulous editing and archiving, with scans, narrative descriptions, and mini inventories documenting the contributions of Maurice Dartigue,  “un éducateur visionnaire” and “un Haïtien exceptional”, and his wife, Esther, a leader in in the field of early childhood education. Maurice Dartigue received the Teachers College Medal for Distinguished Service in the field of Education in 1954, the first year it was awarded. Esther (born Reithoffer) earned her master’s in rural education at Teachers College, where she met her husband, Haitian-born Maurice Dartigue.

When he had spare time from writing his first book, Forging Ahead: Recollections of the Life and Times of Esther Dartigue (co-authored by Esther Dartigue, and published by CreateSpace, 2013), John Dartigue, a graduate of Columbia University (M.A., politics) and long-time publicist in the movie industry, reviewed the entries in Pocketknowledge and sent changes –the most recent, a document of 29 pages, for an estimated total of 75 pages of revisions since the project began.

A couple more thoughts:

  • Archiving is a work in progress, enhanced by the collaborative nature of the process.
  • Good editing involves polishing and refining to help readers focus on major points or ideas.
  • Rare is the opportunity to work with kin who are experts, so do it when possible.
  • By socializing today, we archive for tomorrow!

* image by Hugh D’Andrade (Creative Commons)