Long-time ASCSA Archivist Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan has an interesting new blog— From the Archivist's Notebook —on the widely diverse and interesting items discovered while doing archival research in and about the School's large collection. We recently asked her about it.
ASCSA: What made you decide to start this blog?
NVB: I come across so many interesting stories in the course of my work in the ASCSA Archives, either when I process collections or when I assist in other people's research. In the past, I used to publish some of these stories in the school newsletter or the Gennadius Library's The New Griffon.* But there were so many more stories to write than those publications could hold. After some thinking, I decided that the only way to do what I wanted to do was through this blog. Kostis Kourelis's amazing blog (Buildings-Objects-Situations. Musings on Architecture and Archaeology) which I have been following religiously, also inspired me to adopt the blog as my medium of expression.
I like to write short stories which involve a certain amount of research, but which can be completed within a couple of weeks. Archival research really broadens one's intellectual horizons because it makes you read a lot of history and literature, delightful distractions for people like me who have a very focused field of research otherwise. I also suspected that there was an audience out there that enjoys reading stories stemming from archival research.
ASCSA: Will others be contributing to it?
NVB: Yes, I have invited people who are involved in archival research at ASCSA, folks like Jack Davis, Kostis Kourelis, and a few others, as well as my fellow ASCSA archivists (Eleftheria Daleziou, Leda Costaki, and Alexis Malliaris).
ASCSA: What can we look forward to in future stories?
NVB: Unlike other blogs which have a casual tone and are published almost on a daily basis, "From the Archivist's Notebook" will appear once a month (on the 1st), occasionally twice (then also on the 15th) if there is a guest contribution. My intention is not to flood my followers' e-mails with daily "announcements" —it doesn't take much to run a good thing into the ground, as my son says! As for future stories, Jack Davis is my guest author for the September blog. His story entitled "Barbarians at the Gate" examines the history of exams at the American School. Future blogs will include stories about a fascinating exhibit in Marseilles that concerns the recent history of the Mediterranean, “Le Noir et le Bleu,” to which the Gennadius Library contributed material from the Odysseus Elytis papers, and a series of profiles about past (and perhaps forgotten) presidents of the Board of Trustees of the American School, men such as Frederick Crawford and Edwin Webster. Kostis Kourelis, who is also the scheduled speaker for the Annual Archives Lecture on March 11, 2014 in Athens, will be writing about some unknown aspects of Annette Notaras Stevens' life, the wife of architect and ASCSA director Gorham P. Stevens.
My bigger plan is to collect and publish the blog entries as a group of contributions to the history of the American School.
In the meantime, you can follow along with Natalia's discoveries in her blog here.
* Note: Natalia's research on John Gennadius and his efforts to repatriate some of the Elgin marbles in the early 1930s will appear in the next issue of The New Griffon.