Friday, April 29, 2011

Ben Rogers presentation from NID 2010

Ben Rogers, is from Baylor University.  He is the Director of Political Materials at the W.R. Poage Legislative Library at Baylor University.  

Ben Rogers - Thank you.  I appreciate you coming out so early.  I am at the Poage Legislative Library. It is a private collection in a private institution. The library was started in 1979 to preserve papers of the political process. We have papers from 12 former members of congress, several Texas legislators, judges, and numerous special collections. One of the fastest growing of our special collections is the JFK material.  And I am going to go through today and show you the different types of materials we have.

Our JFK collection began in 2004 when Dr. Robert Platt, who was a friend of Penn Jones, and also a teacher at Tarrant County Community College gave us his Penn Jones collection. And Platt even had Penn Jones come and talk to his classes at Tarrant County Community College for many years. And there are various formats. But, since we got the Penn Jones collection we have also partnered with Jack White and Gary Shaw and about 12 other people to provide materials for the collection.

This is the main web page from the JFK materials. I have copies of this out on the table for you to take with you. Most of the materials are listed under media and collections. You can expand those by clicking on the, you will see in the media material we have the newsletters, magazines, other JFK magazines which I will have to explain carefully, newspapers, and the paperless archive.  As of this year we have over 40 different JFK assassination newsletter titles, over 800  individual issues. There are 420 magazine articles from magazines such as LIFE, LOOK, and TIME.  And there are over 200 videos and 100 [audio] cassettes.  Many of these have been digitized.

Under JFK newsletters, the list is online, and you click on the title and you will go to another page and it will give you the volume number, the publisher, the address. Also on the table outside is this list of newsletters which also includes the list of issues we do not have.  So, you may be able to supplement what we have.  You don’t have to give us your newsletter, we just need a photocopy of it.  Or you could send it to us and we can photocopy it. And we have notebooks for all the newsletters and we will put the photocopy in it. So, once you click on that you get a list of the newsletters there by issue and the title of the first article. And then if you click on one of these you will get the first page of each newsletter. But due to copyright issues, and I don’t think anybody would have an issue with copyright  except our Dean, we couldn’t put every newsletter page up there, but we do want people to see what they look like.  And this is volume 1, issue 1, so a lot of times those would give you the basis for the newsletter.

Magazines are handled a similar way.  We can pull down a list of years, or click on one of the years for the magazine and that will pull up a list with the cover of each magazine and the article that is in that magazine relating to President Kennedy. This goes from 1961 to the 1990’s. As we get new magazines then we add them to the site.  All of the articles that have been photocopied are in notebooks so a researcher using the articles or the newsletters can just have the magazines we don’t have to pull out the original magazines which are in acid free envelopes in the collection.

Other JFK magazines, we got these from Jack White.  And he always refers to them as the girlie magazines.  So, I could not put the titles on the Baylor website.  But, we did photocopy and censor all of them and put them in the notebook so people could use the article. This is the type of material; in the 1970’s there were not many magazines printing articles about assassination research, so these articles were printed in things like PENTHOUSE and PLAYBOY and GALLERY, and you probably know these titles better than I would ‘cause I work at Baylor. (Laughter.) So, I no longer have those magazines, I took them back to Jack.

We also have newspapers. And we find that many people have saved newspapers from the Kennedy years.  And as you know newspapers don’t save that well. So, we have collections from at least six different people. Congressman Poage saved over 300 historical newspapers. So, a number of them dealt with the Kennedy years. Judge Hightower also liked to save historical newspapers, Penn Jones, of course, above that.  I’ll tell you about some of these other folks. The list of the newspaper is on the website, even though the newspapers are not. But, many of these are common newspapers, and once you know the name of the newspaper and the date you can go to your public library and order microfilm.  We are still working on a long list of Jack White newspapers from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The list will be online.

I wanted to say a word about the paperless archive. This is a website that has a lot of FBI, and CIA files on it. We bought the entire contents of the website on DVD and it’s available in the library. We’ve extracted some of the JFK files and listed them on our website and they will link back to the paperless archive site.  And we have photocopied every page from the site and put it in notebook.  So, if you get the DVD and open the notebook and see what types of material are on the DVD related to the website. So, if in the distant future the website  disappears as websites sometimes do we will still have the paper copies and the DVD available for research.

The next main section on our website is collections. You will see here the names of 15 people who have given a significant number of materials to the collection so far, and I wanted to just run through with you some of this material.  As I said earlier Penn Jones was the first collection we had related to JFK.  And he has his own web page cause it’s very extensive. We probably spent 4 years processing the papers of Penn Jones.  As some of you may know he was a Captain in the Army in World War II.  He purchased the Midlothian Mirror believing that the best way to have freedom of the press was to own the press, which he did. And then in 1963 he became involved in assassination research. He published 4 books. And then he won the Eli Parish Lovejoy award and he also published The Continuing Inquiry for nine years. If you are interested in “Forgive My Grief” you can contact me and the Penn Jones estate may still have copies of those. We can direct you to them. And I have that information on the handout out on the table.  

The finding aide is online and each blue part you click on you will get a list of what’s in the collection. There’s correspondence, there’s government materials, general materials, media, personal, and none of the above which means it could be Robert Kennedy, or MLK, or something else related to Penn Jones research.

This is the correspondence, there are over 200 people he corresponded with.  The letters are; this is alphabetically on the web site. So, you can see exactly who he corresponded with and what year.

The government materials, what he kept on the CIA is listed. These are articles. There are things related to FBI research, the House Select Committee, and various subjects he dealt with and the Warren Commission.

The articles under general materials are published by date. And the books include a number of manuscripts, and you’ll recognize some of the manuscripts, and you’ll recognize some of the names, and then some of the articles.  And some of these were never published in printed form, but Penn Jones managed to have a manuscript on a number of these [topics]. So, we are not showing you the whole web site, but one page, and you can go there and see what’s available.

There are also a number of publications, we took all of the magazines and newsletters from Jack White, Penn Jones, J. Gary Shaw and whoever else gave them to us and put them in the first list I’ve shown you. So we also have bound newspapers, and subject files.

Under media we have as you said, videos, cassette tapes, reel to reel.  A lot of these have been digitized for different people, and if you see something particular that you want and we haven’t digitized it we can still go back and digitize these types of materials.

Now this is just a snapshot of a slide page. There are different things here you can select.  There is a slide of the pictures of the witnesses.  There are slides of Penn Jones.  This is a picture you will recognize from Dealey Plaza.

And then we also have about 300 cards from the Mary Ferrell collection.  All of the cards are transcribed on the Mary Ferrell site. And we didn’t know that at the time we did this probably.  The cards we have are listed.  And what we did was scan the card. Some of them are front and back. So, all of those are scanned that we have so you will see what the actual card looked like. So, you can see how meticulous Mary was in putting this together in her typing.

The Continuing Inquiry is also listed on the newsletter site. The headline for each is listed over here, and you can click on one, and this is volume one, number one, you get the first page.  So, if you see something you like we can send that to you.

Jack White was a good friend of Penn Jones and he published The Continuing Inquiry for a couple of years in the 1980’s. He lives in Ft. Worth. He met with Penn rather frequently.  All of his papers will be deposited at UT Arlington. But, we are borrowing them and copying them. Jack White does not want to file his papers. His correspondence came in an envelope thrown into the box, 30 years of correspondence.  We took all the letters out, put them in acid free folders, made lists, made files, and then duplicated everything so that we could take the originals back. So, on his website, particularly, there are hundreds and hundreds,... the whole alphabet, every alphabet letter has a page of names, and this is not all the A’s this is just a screen shot of the first page.

The videos, we digitized 178 videos to DVD and because there are so many of them. We also included a title index so that you could quickly find something you’re looking for and the video title for it but then we also did a keyword index.

So, if you’re looking for something on the 30th anniversary you can see that it’s on those two videos.

He also has on cassette, some of these we’ve digitized and some we haven’t, but you will see they are interviews and different things on the data set.  They go back to the 70’s and 80’s.

Jack White made two posters, “The Evolution of Lee Harvey Oswald,” he still has copies of, we just haven’t figured out a way to distribute them.  It costs more now to buy the tube and the postage than the poster costs. And this is the “Mystery Man in Dealey Plaza” poster. And these are listed on the website. But, Jack has multiple websites himself, so our site lists his sites and a lot of them deal with 9/11.  And, so, he is very much into Ft. Worth and Ft. Worth history. This is one of his websites that he maintains himself.

Jack White loaned me these “Computer and Automation” magazines and you maybe wondering why but just like his girlie magazines they put articles in there about JFK in the 70’s when no one else was willing to publish them. So, you will see like the first one is the application of computers to the photographic evidence and that’s very early materials so we photocopied all of those and put them in a notebook and the list of what we have is online.

At some point Jack had more time than I had, he photocopied lots and lots of news articles, arranged them, topically, subcategorized them within the topic and made notebooks. So, we have 23 notebooks by subject, and these are from the 1970’s, I believe. And so we have photocopies of all of those.

Most recently we got 15 carousels of slides from Jack’s presentations from various conferences like this.  We digitized all 1200 slides on one DVD and returned the slides to him. These are just a few of the slides that we digitized and we hope by next year to have all the slides online. Here’s his [I assume he means Oswald’s] Selective Service card.

Now a person you may not be familiar with is Bob Platt, and as I said earlier, he’s the one who had the Penn Jones papers and passed them onto us.  Bob Platt was a collector of anything political. He even ran a store in Forth Worth for almost 20 years and a lot of his materials dealt with JFK, so all of these materials, he liked to collect buttons, by the way. We have a large button collection in our library also, including his presidential button collection which goes back to James Monroe, which, they were not buttons then they were medals. And he still lives in Ft. Worth and we still get, pick up stuff from him every month. His JFK materials, a lot of it was catalogued, these magazines were added to our list of magazines, his newspapers and reports are available, of particular interest if you are a stamp collector he has this memorial stamp and souvenir sheets in ten volumes. He doesn’t have the stamps but we have the albums that you could put the stamps in, and there are pictures of all the stamps. So, it’s interesting to see in 1976 there were ten volumes of stamps worldwide issued [that were] about President Kennedy.

These are some of his political materials about Kennedy and those are all listed online also. 

Then because through Jack White we also made contact with Gary Shaw in Cleburne, Texas. Some of the younger people may not know Gary who was, who is an architect, still working, he actually started his investigation in ‘64. And he was young enough that he had visited Jack Ruby’s club in ‘63. Good boys in Cleburne did not do that kind of thing so they had to go to Dallas. He also worked with Jack White on publishing “The Continuing Inquiry,” for a couple of years.  And his main research was “Cover-Up,” the book there. And then he had this Truth newsletter which is from Germany done by I’m going to pronounce the man’s name wrong, Joachem Joestens, you know him from his publications on LBJ, and things like that.  But, the newsletter was significant enough, and fragile enough, that we went ahead and scanned the entire newsletter, all the issues he had.  And they are online. And they are listed here, and you can click on any page and you will get the scanning of the page. And these are mimeographed in Germany on very poor paper. So, we went ahead an did the whole thing.

Gary also had lots of other newsletters like PROBE that we borrowed and copied. And then the first page of each edition is also online.

And then Debra says you will have the whole thing now on DVD, so that will be a good thing.  

Jim Dieugenio - Deb, I didn’t get my royalties.  (Laughter) 10 cents per click. (Laughter)

Ben Rogers - Well, that’s less than half of what we get. 

Next we have John Kelin and he went to Hood College and got these CDs transcribed from the Raymond Marcus collection, and then shared them with us, so we have a list of the tapes that we have online. And if you want to see any of those we would be glad to duplicate them and send them to you for a gift. It might be illegal to sell them, and someone might want their half, (laughter) so we’ll just say for the cost of copying and postage we will send them to you, an even exchange, someday you may send us something, because this is a combined collaborative project here.

John Armstrong began working with us last year. He came from Hawaii and brought his Oswald research notebooks. We scanned six notebooks in one day last year, over 6,000 pages. And you will see there are four sections so far to his work. Some of the taped interviews we actually put on Youtube.  And these are people he interviewed who knew Lee Harvey Oswald.  Someone wrote us a couple of weeks ago that the parts were mixed up online.  Well, what happens is if you go to our website they are in order, if you go to Youtube they list them over here they are not guaranteed to be in order. So, if you just pick one, it may not be the next one. You can go back to our website and see them in order. And one thing, I don’t usually do it that much but if you click on this little button you will get all the information that is on this page. And John wrote all of this information for us, and also he did all of the interviews. John has 72 research notebooks and they are 5 inches each. And we have a scanner that will do 2400 pages an hour.  Unfortunately, the notebooks are too big for the scanner so we had to take all of this stuff out of the notebooks, put them in little notebooks, scan it, and then put it back in the big notebooks.  And he’s coming Monday with ten more boxes of notebooks. So, it’s going to be a busy week.  But he was very meticulous you can see he has these tabs in each notebook further subdividing the material.  And we have one notebook online so far.  If y’all go to our webpage you pick this, box 1 notebook 5, it takes you to this page, which looks like a dead end to me, if not to you.  You have to know, and this is not circled, I think I picked the wrong page, you have to know to “access this item,” and then a box comes up, you have to download the entire .pdf, which is big, but it has the entire notebook and you can click on any of these tabs here and it will take you to that part of the notebook.  This particular notebook is Lee Harvey Oswald growing up and by year, year one, year two.

Some of you remember Mae Brussell.  She lived in California and had a radio talk show.  We bought all the radio programs from her website.  So, they are available in our library. We found that the website list is hard to maneuver. So, we retyped the list, or maybe we reformatted the list, and so anything listed here we have the DVD for.  And this is her website and it says over 700 hours of her broadcasts available. So, we have all of those also.

Now there are some people who give materials to our collection that no one had ever heard of and Don Grisham was one of those. He was, he is a school teacher in Waco. He just walked in off the street one day and said I have these Dallas Police reports of Lee Harvey Oswald, would you like to copy them? So, we said sure. So, we have copied all of these police reports and they are catalogued and they are in the library. [This sounds a lot like the “Files of Evidence,” microfilm set.] We also have these photographs so we copied all of those too. And a lot of those are online, but these are physical copies. If anything ever happens to the digital copy one thing we are trying to do is preserve a paper copy.

Joan Jasek is a very elderly lady in Waco but she has this book, “The Statement of Father Oscar Huber who administered the last rites of the Church to President John F. Kennedy in 1963.” Her husband was a bookbinder, and publisher, and a friend of Father Huber.  And he took this statement from Father Huber about how he was contacted, went to the hospital, administered the rites, talked to Mrs. Kennedy, and he bound them in this magnificent leather volume.  And along with the volume is a list of pictures and other material that the Jasek family has.  They would like to sell this material. I would like for someone to buy it and put it in the library.  This is Father Huber’s letter telling about his response, to how he went to the hospital. His was the closest church.  So, they just called the parish there.  And it’s a three or four page letter describing his experiences there.  He also had the invitation to the dinner in Austin. And those materials are in our library. We just do not physically own them. 

Larry Breen is another school teacher who came in one day and said I have all of these books and papers would you like to have them. And they all deal with Kennedy.  And so we have them in the library, magazines, newspapers, tabloids, political materials arranged there. 

Ernest Lackovic actually lived in Maine, or somewhere, I think in Maine, and he saw that we had a website on Kennedy and he contacted us and said I have all of this material my grandfather saved what can I do with it. So, we now have his grandfather’s material, not only on JFK but the Pope’s visit [and] several other subjects are covered in the Lackovic materials.

The only thing we have on Marguerite Oswald is her book “The Aftermath of an Execution,” but we thought it was so unique and the photographs [in it] were so unique we put all of them on our website. The Marguerite Oswald papers as such are at TCU so we contacted them and we also have a copy of the finding aide for her papers in our library as well as [the finding aide] the Waggoner Carr’s papers, which are at Texas Tech,  So, as we find papers that are deposited in places we call them and ask them for copies of those finding aides.

Mary Love Smith was a lady in California who listened to the House Select Committee [on Assassinations] broadcasts on the radio and pushed that cassette record button every time.  And she recorded the hearings on cassette and mailed them to Penn Jones with her hand written notes about what she thought about the hearing.  All of the tapes are listed on our website and the notes on the assassination, Ken, transcribed all of her notes about each tape, also on the website.

Paul Hoch contacted us, many of you know through email about his papers, seems his wife wants the room back (laughter)  Some of you have the same problem. So all the CDs, [ “CDs” mean Warren Commission Documents] I think, are also on the Mary Ferrell site, and you can see all of them, that is a digital copy, but his friends urged him to maintain the paper copy rather than recycling it. So, he mailed us the boxes with the CDs. And also in the box was David Lifton’s available but not published files. Are those on Mary Ferrell also? [He’s asking some assistant.] Okay, so those are here, the paper copy. And you can see those.

Some of you may know Roy Schaeffer. He lives in Dayton, Ohio. And he sent us his unpublished manuscripts on his JFK research. He was particularly interested in the limousine. But, he wrote these other things on the single bullet, and Dealey Plaza, things of that nature. He also sent us 150 videos. Everytime that the evening news came on he would push that record button, because you never know what is going to be on the evening news that’s helpful, until it’s too late, and you forgot to record it. He had 7 tapes on 9/11. So we have transcribed all of those to DVD [This guy keeps saying “transcribed,” when he means “transferred.”] He also mailed us a Panasonic machine to transfer them.

Many of you may be familiar with Paranoia, but they also published JFK materials from time to time. They [Paranoia] have stopped publishing their paper edition so Joan d’Arc contacted us and sent us a complete list of copies of all of the magazines and a duplicate set of the magazines that contain JFK materials. So, we don’t have all of this on the website but these are the ones we have before she contacted us. But, the list is online, and the magazines, and they will make you dizzy to watch the covers. They are interesting magazines.  And now they are going to be an annual hard book publication instead of a monthly publication. And these are other sources of information.

And, of course, JFK Lancer has been very good in giving us materials, all of the Assassination Chronicles are online, the first page put there on the website, a complete list.  And the list has been on our website for a number of years now but Debra has made sure that the JFK Lancer site has all of them and she’s made sure that we have all of them. This is some of the CD’s that we got through Debra. And then this is the list of the microfilm that Larry Hancock did and gave to us and we were able to fill in a lot of blanks in our newsletter list because of this microfilm.  And this is the microfilm for “Dateline,” [as in “Dateline Dallas,” the newsletter from the JFK Assassination Information Center] and this is actually a copy off the microfilm that we did not have a hard copy copy of.

On our JFK links page we have arranged things by topic rather than just a list of links. So, you will see JFK Lancer listed there separately. But if you wanted Vince Palamara you will see we have 5 sites for him instead of just an alphabetical list. And we can add to that, or you may see something there that you want off the list so just contact us there.  We can add to the list or take things off. And, of course, websites disappear so all the links may not work they may not work on any given day.  And this is one of the older sites, I believe.

On our book list we have created a special catalogue of JFK just for all the JFK books because we are a special library we can do that. So, they are not shelved with all the other books. And you can go to our web site and type in “JFK materials” in the search engine and it will bring up the list of 400 and something of the books that we currently have. We bought another 10 or 12 books last week to add to this. So, as new things come out we try and buy them for the collection. But, there are a lot of older things that we missed out on that we have to fill in the gaps with. Recently, I went to see Penn Jones the III, Michael Jones, son of Penn Jones, is here today.
Glad to meet you. They have a number of copies of the original “Farewell America,” 1968 edition. So, they donated those to the library along with copies of “Forgive My Grief,” and some other books.  So, everything is catalogued under JFK.

We currently have a JFK 50 exhibit in the library, primary, election, inauguration.  We made this collage I think its four feet wide by six feet tall. I wanted to do a collage of just drawings of President Kennedy during his administration. And that’s there.  And then this is the information we have about the 50th anniversary. This is a seven foot tall panel there in the exhibit.  And this is also on posters.  We have a four feet tall by six feet tall.

So, that is the basic information about our collection.  I do want you to know that outside is the red page handout, on the back of that is a list of everything in our collection, the congressional collection, and the political collections, and everything like that, and that this is the list of the newsletters  and in yellow are the newsletters we do not have.

So, what we are trying to do is give a place for people to archive their research materials, what they feel comfortable with, to make them available.  If you have something you don’t want to make available yet that’s also possible.  We want to work with the researchers, and for the next generation of researchers to have this research material available. We are also talking to Gordon Winslow in Florida about his material. So we are still talking to a number of people who have materials. They need an archive to put their things in for researchers to use them.

We have also made a set of JFK bookmarks that are available on the back table. and our new card for JFK materials is back there as well as our brochure about the library. And the information about “Forgive My Grief.”

So, are there any questions? Yes, sir, I actually cannot see you-

Q. - Two questions, what was “Farewell America?” And it’s interesting, how does your university come up to do all of this, I mean, why not Ohio State, or Michigan, or Yale, or Princeton, how did you guys get started doing this?

Ben Rogers - Because of Bob Platt, he has political materials, and he came to our library, and he visited us.  He’s 80 years old and he needed a home for his political materials. And then he approached us one day and he said how would you like the papers of Penn Jones? And, of course, ignorant me, I’m from South Carolina, so he educated me.  I said, well, that sounds like a good idea.  It’s political material.  It doesn’t have a home, it needs a home. We will process it.  We will put it in acid free folders.  We will put it online.  And then once that started being online we brought in Jack White and Gary Shaw. Then as people saw what we had, and saw that we were willing to make it available, we are willing to digitize things and keep it going to the next format, we have the resources to do that, we want to provide, and we saw that there was not another place doing this, the Sixth Floor Museum is there but it’s more selective in what they can take, the Dallas Public Library does not have a dedicated archive for this type of material, there is a place in Washington, I think, an assassination collection there, it really doesn’t take this type of material, so we found that there needs to be a home for this type of research, and nobody at Baylor has told me no.


Q. - Ben, Robert Morrow, from Austin, Texas, and I want to thank you so much on behalf of the JFK assassination research community for creating this collection, making it available, turning it into an incredible resource. I really hope that it keeps reaching critical mass, and as more researchers find out about what you’re doing that more and more people will trust you, give you materials, give you information, I just want to thank you.

Ben Rogers - Well, thank you. (Applause)

Q. - Okay, and “Farewell America,” what was that again?

Ben Rogers - (Deferring to the audience) Oh, who would be the best person to speak about that?

Jim DiEugenio - I’m going to be talking about “Farewell America.”

Ben Rogers - Oh, well, there you go.  Is it next?

Jim DiEugenio - Yep, right after you. And you can drop off the royalty check before you go.


Ben Rogers - Yes, sir.

Q. - Ben, do you know where I can get those, I have a JFK assassination mini museum in Lake Elsinore California, and they have all of those reprints at The Sixth Floor and I can’t, they don’t tell you where to buy them from the source, and I’ve checked all the internet sites and they all sell them retail, but where do I get the reprints, like they have, The Sixth Floor, wholesale, from the dealers, where do youi get those?

[Now this is a JFK researcher.  He thinks he’s being articulate, but this is the definition of being inarticulate.  What is he talking about? What is he asking about? Newspapers? Magazines? Posters? Audiotapes? CDs? DVDs? I’m guessing, but I think he means the newspaper reprints. But he didn’t say the word newspaper or any other word to help someone understand what he is asking about.]

Ben Rogers - Umm, do I know that? Everything has an original source... 

Q. - Yeah, I mean from the manufacturers, but everybody that selling them on the internet is selling them through a middleman.  Any idea?

[No, no one has any idea what you’re talking about. And it’s asked of the wrong person. Rodgers doesn’t run a retail store.]   

Ben Rogers - Well, cause we don’t buy things we depend on people’s good graces.

Q. - (Same person asking the question) Okay, well how about this one, the paperless archive, who is the original source for that?

Rogers - It’s just a website I found. And they are always selling that material. So, I said this looks like a good deal. It’s all on political material. It’s reasonably priced. I think for $200 dollars I bought the entire DVD set. I think it’s now $300.  But, I thought that was good service down the road. ‘Cause we’re archiving for the future.  You never know what people will need or will want to see 50 years from now, and the lady’s who work in our library were questioning why we keep, not particularly JFK materials, but why we keep anything, because, I said, you never know when someone will need it.

And just last week a professor in Israel wrote me and said I see you have such and such a magazine listed on your website from Congressman Ed Gosset from 1946.  He said you are the only people who have that magazine, and I need  an article out of it about immigration and displaced persons in Palestine. So we were able to scan it, make a .pdf of it and send it to him. Well, we kept it for all of these years waiting for someone to need it. So, the same is true with the JFK research.  If we don’t archive the material now people down the road people are going to be repeating the research process, and trying to find the same information, and it’s going to be much harder for them that far down the road to access the sources we have available now.  And that’s really what the Mary website is about as well, archiving resources that people are going to need down the line.

Q. - One other question.

Ben Rogers - Yes sir?

Q. - Obviously, this has taken a lot of work, it costs money, how do you validate all of that, I mean through your superiors, or trustees, or whatever? I was just curious.  Do people make specific donations for this, or how does it all work?

Ben Rogers - I can only wish. Mr. Schaefer in Ohio did send us a check to cover processing and things like that, but no one else ever has.  We have what is called the Standing Committee, which are friends of the library group, and people sort of join that at the $25, $50, and $100 level and we use that for our extra projects.  It cost us maybe $400 some dollars to digitize the 1,2000 Jack White slides. You know we searched around till we found someone who could do it for 20 cents, and we could mail them the carousels, and they could do it all and mail it back.  We have a very sophisticated digital lab in the main library.  The scanner there will do 2,400 pages an hour  We also have a scanner that will do things up to 6 feet by 10 feet long.  They have another scanner that will do two sides of a book at the same time very fast.  So, we plug into that. We have a digital media studio that we can blow up posters, like the ones I make on Kennedy.  And that’s available to us at no cost. We are a small library.  We have a small budget.  But I have a reputation for getting things done at the best price possible.  And I hired a student worker.  We have ten student workers, they do all the transfer of videos to DVD.  And so we are glad for you to join the standing committee and join the enterprise ‘cause it is expensive work, something like the Penn Jones collection probably cost us $50,000 to process, just paying the student workers to do it. If we had had a professional it would have been $50,000 a year.

Yes, sir?

Malcolm Blunt - Yeah, I’m from the U.K. and over the years I’ve bought two large collections from U.S. researchers and I have my own research, and when I try to get this stuff into U.K. universities I get hit with no guarantees, you know, they reserve the right to split up, and get rid of part of the collection if they decide to do that and there really is no guarantee of continuity. Where is your guarantee of continuity?

Ben Rogers -  Well, I don’t think that in the 20 years I’ve been there we ever threw anything away. (Laughter)  I’m actually working on trying to secure what is currently a classroom and turn that into a JFK research area and put all of these materials into one room.  They are now just in our regular archive stacks.  But, I would really like a room dedicated to that.  And I know the problem you’re talking about because Baylor has a collection called the Keston collection which was at Oxford and deals with religious persecution in Russia during the Communist regime.  And the man gave it to Oxford, and Oxford decided they wanted to split it up, and do this, and that, and the other, and Baylor said no, we will keep it together.  So, we actually have two Russian ladies now working on cataloguing that collection at Baylor. So we recognize that things that are together need to stay together.

Malcolm Blunt - So, after you retire there is continuity through there and it will continue?

Ben Rogers - Oh yes, political material is archived.  It’s what we do that’s all we do.  And what we collect we keep.

Malcom Blunt - And the direction will remain the same? Like, you have very flexible parameters, you collect almost anything.

Ben Rodgers - As long as it’s somewhere related to the political process and certainly the Kennedy assassination is related to the political process.

Malcolm - Okay.

Ben Rogers - Our JFK, I mean our 9/11 collection is somewhat extensive because that really is a political issue. So, we saved the 9/11 newspapers, originals, from 24 cities. And digitized them on our website. We buy all the  books related to terrorism and 9/11. So, we know that eventually students will want to research that.

Malcolm Blunt - Thanks a lot.


No comments:

Post a Comment