Leadership Alliance Interns: Conducting Archival Research

Read more about the Leadership Alliance internship program here.


Camille Barnes discusses the items she found in her research

Camille Barnes:

My experience conducting archival research has been such an awarding experience. At the beginning of this journey I did not know a thing about research or how to even conduct research the proper way. Being able to spend my summer in the archives has taught me a lot about the work that goes into researching. I’ve also learned how preserving the work of others is important. Keeping records and files allows researchers to truly dig in and explore in a deeper level. When conducting research one of the tools that you can use to help you narrow down what you’re looking for is a finding aid. While doing my research I used the finding aid a couple of times to help me narrow down for what I was looking for. A big part of my research was looking through collections and personnel files. One of the personnel files I went through was Anne Cooke. Going through her file made me want to fully focus my research on her. Within her file there were handwritten correspondences between her and the president of Spelman during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. While doing my research on Anne Cooke I did struggle with finding a lot of information about her. I knew that she was impactful and played a significant role during her time at Spelman, there just was not enough physical proof to prove my point. The best thing about doing my research on Anne Cooke was I felt like I was telling her story by finding out things about her and her contributions to Spelman College. While I researched her it felt like her work got taken for granted and she was overlooked, seeing that most black women usually are. Though I was left with very little about her, I took what I had and what I knew to tell a more complete story about Anne Cooke.

Keighla Pope:

My experience conducting archival research has been great. I think that it was a little easier because the topic was so broad. I looked through a lot of material about Spelman’s drama and dance department, then I narrowed down and chose what topic I would focus on. It was cool going through things students and staff wrote. Knowing that the material I looked at were things used by Spelman students since 1920 really made me realize how important archives are and how every school needs an archive. Since this is my first time conducting archival research, this was also my first time using a finding aid. Before using a finding aid I thought that it was really hard and difficult to use. For my specific research topic using the finding aid was not that hard. I learned that you have to play around with what words you decide to use depending on the time period. I also learned that sometimes searching by year can be easier. During my time I feel like I made a very interesting discovery of someone who deserves recognition. Anne Cooke was an English professor who made Spelman’s theatre and dance department what it is today. I believe that without archives and researchers that there would be plenty of things in history that are just forgotten and not appreciated such as Anne Cooke’s legacy. I have really enjoyed my time here in the archives. I have learned so much about Spelman and I hope to one day work in other archives to learn more interesting things.

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Keighla Pope discusses her research process



Leadership Alliance interns: Visiting Archives in Atlanta

Read more about the Leadership Alliance internship program here.

Camille Barnes:

Before starting this program I did not know anything about Archives. I really was not sure what they were. An archive is an accumulation of historical records or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization’s lifetime, and are kept to show the function of that person or organization. Having the opportunity to go and visit other archives and museums have been a very rewarding experience. Each archive is different from one another. My favorite thing about archives are how they are able to access and keep records of the many historic things that have taken place in history. I find it fascinating to be able to see things from the past. When visiting the AUC Woodruff Archives I was very impressed with the size of their archive. It amazed me to see that every box had something in it, about someone, or something. Just about any history with Atlanta you’re likely to find something about it in the archive. It’s the same thing with Spelman’s archive. Any information about the school, a person who attended here, or something that took place at the school, nine times out of ten you will be able to find it in the archive. It truly is an awarding experience to have access to so many valuable records and collections.

Camille and Keighla-AUC Student Activism Exihbit

Camille and Keighla visiting the Exhibitions Hall exhibit at the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library

Keighla Pope:

Visiting the archives throughout Atlanta was an eye opener. I did not know anything about archives before coming to Atlanta. Learning everything that goes into caring for the items in the archives and what things go into certain archives helped me gain not only an understanding but, an appreciation for the archives and the people who work in them. Visiting the Spelman archives was an introduction to how archives work. I learned that there is a reading room for researchers, a room for processing material given, and the stacks where the material is stored. I learned that archives are kept cold and the material is kept in acid-free folders and boxes so that they can last as long as possible. I also learned that there are different types of archives. I have only visited academic archives, however there are corporate archives, community archives, and more. After being introduced to Spelman’s archives I went to the AUC Woodruff Archives. It operated exactly like the Spelman archives but was much bigger. The Woodruff archives was a little more personal to me because it had more things about African American history throughout the AUC and Atlanta. The last archive I visited was the Auburn Avenue Research Library. This archive has reading and listening rooms and bigger collections from African Americans throughout Atlanta. The Auburn Avenue Research Library Archives was more personal to me than history classes and even museums. It is a different feeling when you are able to hold your history in your hands and be face to face. Visiting these archives showed me the importance of keeping history and the importance of learning about my history.

Introducing Spelman’s Leadership Alliance Interns

Last week we welcomed Spelman’s Leadership Alliance interns, Keighla and Camille. This week we’d like to introduce you to Keighla and Camille in their own words. Stay tuned for updates from our Leadership Alliance interns throughout the summer!

Camille Barnes


Hello! My name is Halee Camille Barnes I am the oldest child out of two younger siblings. I was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. I am a graduate from Southside High School where I was a member of the varsity basketball and soccer team. I was also a member of the National Beta Club, Student Council, Tiger Mentor, and reigned as Student Body President my senior year. I am currently a rising Sophomore at Claflin University where I am majoring in Criminal Justice, and hoping to obtain a minor in Psychology.

Having the opportunity to be apart of Leadership Alliance has been a wonderful experience so far. With having the opportunity to be apart of something so great I hope to learn many different things while I am here at Spelman. I am hoping to learn about the rich history here at Spelman, and learn more about the AUC. I am also eager to learn more about archival research. I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge on other Historical Black Colleges and what they have to offer for their students.

Keighla Pope


My name is Keighla Pope and I am from St. Helena Island, South Carolina. I am a rising sophomore at Claflin University. I enjoy listening to music, singing, and modeling. I am the head captain of the modeling company at Claflin University called En Veux Modeling Company. I hope to one day become the president of En Veux. When I am at home I enjoy going to church and singing on the praise team. I also enjoy spending time with my grandparents and cousins. I love everything natural hair. I learned mostly everything about my hair on YouTube. I also love makeup even though I only wear it on special occasions. I love nature and I love to film it or take pictures. My major is Mass Communications with a concentration of digital media, I grew up loving filmography and photography. I love the idea of being in front of the camera and behind it. A digital media concentration is learning more about cameras, TV production, and TV and Radio announcement. I also plan to study more in the public relations concentration to learn a little more about media advertising and sales. Here at I Spelman I hope to learn when to use different methods of research. Some things are appropriate depending on when they are needed. I think that there is a time when archival research is more beneficial than getting secondary sources. I hope that during my time spent here I learn how to make the things I find useful and how to tell if it is better to use than searching elsewhere. I also hope to learn how to choose what things with be considered more important than others. It can be so much information that seems helpful, so I hope to learn what to use and how to discard things that seem important but will not be.



GLAM Center Welcomes Leadership Alliance Spelman Interns!

This summer Spelman College Archivist, Holly Smith welcomes two undergraduate students from Clafin University to the campus for a summer fellowship where they will be introduced to the rich cultural holdings of Atlanta University Center.

The Leadership Alliance, founded at Brown University in 1992 as a partnership of 23 institutions, came together to develop underrepresented students into outstanding leaders and role models in academia, business and the public sector. Today, this consortium has grown to more than 30 institutions and private industry who have provided research and networking experiences to over 4,000 young scholars.

Camille and Keighla-AUC Student Activism Exihbit

Keighla and Camille visit the “Start Something” Exhibit at AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library

The First Year Summer Research Program enables students from institutions serving historically underrepresented groups to conduct research during the Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP). The SR-EIP program offers closely mentored research experiences in the life and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities at 20 research institutions across the country. SR-EIP Participants spend 8-10 weeks at a Leadership Alliance institution; Receive a stipend, and travel and housing expenses from the research institution; work under the guidance of a faculty or research mentor; make oral or poster presentations at the Leadership Alliance National Symposium; and gain access to ongoing resources, mentoring and professional networks to support their chosen career path.

Holly, Camille, Keighla, Derek-Auburn Ave Visit

Keighla, Camille, and Spelman Archivist Holly Smith speak with Derek Mosley, Archivist at Auburn Avenue Research Library

We are delighted to welcome Keighla Pope and Camille Barnes from Claflin University as the inaugural Summer 2019 Spelman Interns! Camille and Keighla will be conducting initial research for a digital exhibition on drama and dance at Spelman College and across the Atlanta University Center. They will be researching in archival collections at Spelman, AUC Woodruff Library’s Archives Research Center and other area institutions, writing exhibit text, and assisting with uploading items into the digital platform.

Camille and Keighla will also document their experiences through bi-weekly blog posts on the GLAM Center Portal, stay tuned to see what they discover!

Keighla and Camille-Researching in Spelman Archives

Keighla and Camille researching at Spelman Archives

GLAM Featured Collection: LGBTQ+ Pride Month

This month, the GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning’s featured collection celebrates LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer + other groups) Pride. This year’s Pride Month marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, widely considered to be the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Here at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, our Archives Research Center has been making a concerted effort to increase the amount of collections related to LGBTQ+ material in order to more accurately reflect the breadth of the African American community. For decades the LGBTQ+ community at the AUC, as they were in the rest of the country, remained silent and hidden. The Archives Research Center is committed to expanding our collections to increase LGBTQ+ representation, recognizing the value these collections provide as a scholarly resource.

Josephine Baker stands between Harold Jackman and Noble Sissle

From left to right: Harold Jackman, Josephine Baker, and Noble Sissle

Our featured collection highlights many photographs from our Countee Cullen-Harold Jackman Memorial Collection of black entertainers including Josephine Baker and Bessie Smith. The collection also contains correspondence from writer James Baldwin and a poem from Angelina Grimké. Additionally, the Archives Research Center holds a collection of BLK, a monthly magazine published from 1988 to 1994 with the motto “where the news is colored on purpose,” which covered people, events, and issues relevant to LBGT African American readers.

BLK magazine cover featuring RuPaul standing next to a seated Santa Claus with the tagline "RuPaul: Gag on the Glamour"

1993 cover of BLK Magazine featuring drag icon, RuPaul

Due to the sensitive nature of some materials, we have opted to digitize a small sampling of our collection to share online. If you’re interested in viewing more of our LGBTQ+ materials, please contact the Archives Research Center at archives@auctr.edu to make an appointment.

GLAM Collaboration Spotlight: Morehouse Art Song Project – Aaron Carter-Ényì, Ph.D.

The GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning aims to simulate teaching and learning across multiple disciplines through innovative engagement with archival material and artifacts. This month’s spotlight features Morehouse Professor Aaron Carter-Ényì, PhD and his MUS 351/352 Advanced Theory of Music students. Dr. Carter-Ényì students developed original musical compositions based on poetry written by former AUC students found in the AUC Archives Research Center, Atlanta University Printed and Published Materials.


About the Project:

This assignment first developed in Fall 2016, my first semester of teaching at Morehouse. One of the most memorable experiences of project-based learning from my undergraduate education was writing an art song using advanced harmonic vocabulary. Given autonomy for revising the curriculum for MUS 351/2 Advanced Theory of Music, I immediately decided to include a similar assignment, with a few modifications. The most important were: (1) students were encouraged to select a Black poet, in line with the Morehouse mission; (2) completed compositions would be given a public performance. The first year we focused on major poets in the public domain, from Pushkin to Langston Hughes (in 2016, several of Hughes’s poems entered the public domain). In 2017, a student requested that he base his composition on a poem by a friend which begin to change the dynamic from renowned, canonic (“great”) poets to poets of the AUC community (who may also be “great” but we won’t know if we ignore them!).

In 2018, after attending the GLAM Session hosted by Martina Dodd, I decided to add the requirement that the poetry be sourced from the AUC Archives Research Center and the students responded enthusiastically to this. Because of the extraordinary quality of the art songs composed in the Fall of 2018, I asked professional vocalists on the faculty of Morehouse (Tim Miller, tenor) and Spelman (Hanan Davis, soprano) to perform the student works. Art songs by five students were premiered to a large audience during “Students in Recital” on April 17, 2019 at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center.


Ordered Process of Student Learning Objectives and Outcomes:

  1. Select a thematic area for poetry you are interested in (e.g. romance; activism)
  2. Learn about and discuss concepts related to intellectual property issues with poetry and song composition (including “public domain” and “fair use”)
  3. Conduct archival research to find poetry in Atlanta University Center publications
  4. Apply existing knowledge of advanced harmonic techniques (e.g. tonicization, mode mixture) and art song forms (strophic, modified strophic or through-composed) in a composition based on poetry found in the AUC Archives Research Center
  5. Prepare a performance-ready score using professional engraving software (e.g. Finale or Sibelius) and responding to revisions suggested by the instructor
  6. Attend and critique rehearsals with performers, providing guidance on interpretation
  7. Select images and create a multimedia presentation to accompany the musical performance
  8. Record verbal program notes for the composition
  9. Edit a video integrating verbal program notes and the live performance

ArtSongsFlyer (pic)

Final Projects:

Click links below to watch the performances and hear each student discuss their process of selecting a poem from the AUC Archives Research Center and developing it into an art song.

Donovan Polk (b. 1997)
“Loves Reflection” by Don Gilbert

Tyler Baker (b. 1997)
“Waves” by Grady Farley

Linton McNeeley (b. 1997)
“I Climbed Too” by Fannie Franklin

Kaleb Lewis (b. 1997)
“My Sin” by the Enigma

Ridge White (b. 1998)
“Come Toast Joe Dope” by Cpt. Nathaniel Tillman Jr.

Artstor Workshop Recap

On May 8th, the GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning held our final faculty development workshop of the spring semester. Representatives from Artstor were on hand to provide an overview of this excellent resource available at the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library. Artstor is a digital library with millions of interdisciplinary images from the world’s museums, libraries, archives, scholars, and artists that makes it easy to share, research, curate, and teach with visual materials.


AUC Reference Librarian Jordan Moore shows workshop attendees how to find the Artstor database from the library’s homepage.

Artstor is an excellent resource that can provide users with copyright-cleared images to use in papers, lectures, and in conference presentations. In addition to artwork, Artstor images can be used in support of a number of academic disciplines including African American studies, Native American studies, and religious studies. Attendees of the workshop not only viewed a live demonstration on how to use Artstor, but also a demonstration of one of Artstor’s newest tools, Copyright Checkpoint, which assists users in determining the copyright status of images from their own collections.


AUC faculty discuss how they incorporate images into their teaching.

Be sure to stay tuned to our blog to see what the GLAM Center will be working on over the summer break. We’ll be back with more faculty development workshops and exhibits this fall!

GLAM Center Featured Collection: Atlanta University Center Commencement Ceremonies Throughout the Years

Graduation season is upon us and the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library’s GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning is taking the month of May to celebrate our #AUCgrads past and present!


Spelman Commencement 1979, image courtesy of Spelman College Archives

This month’s featured collection on the GLAM portal highlights images from AUC Woodruff’s Archives Research Center collections and the Spelman College Archives. In addition to photos from the Atlanta University, Morris Brown, and ITC photograph collections, our featured collection also has fantastic images from former Morehouse president Hugh M. Gloster’s photographs collection; ITC’s Isaac R. Clark Memorial Collection and James H. Costen collection, and former Clark College president Vivian Wilson Henderson’s papers.


Professors in the Audience at the I.T.C. Graduation Ceremony, 1979, James H. Costen collection

With images from AUC commencements spanning from around 1900 to 2005, you can find such notable figures at AUC commencements including former Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson, President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and Oprah Winfrey. Most importantly, these images celebrate the achievements of AUC students, past and present.


Maynard Jackson, Benjamin Hooks, Dr. Hugh Gloster, and James Baldwin at Commencement, circa 1976, Hugh M. Gloster photographs

All commencement season long, we hope that our current 2019 graduates and AUC alumni share their commencement memories with us on Facebook and Twitter at @AUCWoodruffLib and on Instagram at @auc_woodruff using the hashtag #AUCgrads. 

“Incorporating Archives Into the Curriculum” Workshop Recap

On April 24th, the GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning hosted its penultimate faculty development workshop of the spring semester at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.  Presented by the Archives Research Center’s Public Services Archivist, Tiffany Atwater Lee, “Incorporating Archives Into the Curriculum: Dos and Don’ts of Planning and Scheduling Archival Classroom Sessions” provided attendees with an overview of the instruction services available from the Archives Research Center and strategies to plan for best incorporating archival materials into their classrooms.


Lee began her presentation with an overview of AUC Woodruff’s Archives Research Center and its available resources before discussing how best to incorporate archives into instruction. The Archives Research Center’s instruction philosophy is built around the concept that primary source engagement builds critical thinking and information literacy skills, which can make students more engaged learners and better-informed citizens. Visiting the archives is a high impact educational practice, like first-year seminars or service learning opportunities, which research has demonstrated has a significant impact on student success. Lee then discussed how Archives and GLAM Center staff can work with professors to incorporate the use of primary source materials into assignments. The workshop culminated with faculty brainstorming ways to include archival materials in their instruction and filling out an archives instruction plan.


If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can work with the Archives Research Center, email archives@auctr.edu. Be sure not to miss our final workshop of the spring semester on using the image database ARTstor with AUC Reference Librarian Jordan Moore on Wednesday, May 8th at 11 AM in room 215 of the Woodruff Library!

Spelman Gallery Tour Faculty Workshop Recap

On April 4th, The GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning hosted a faculty development workshop at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.  Anne Collins Smith, Curator of Collections, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, led a gallery tour of her exhibition Presence: Mediations on the Spelman College Collection, a selection of the Spelman College’s newest gifts and latest acquisitions. Presence features work by Mequitta Ahuja, Firelei Báez, Nandipha Mntambo, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Deborah Roberts, Berni Searle, Carrie Mae Weems, Billie Zangewa, and many other critically acclaimed women artists. Smith spoke to the group of professors and librarians about her curatorial process for selecting the exhibited works of art while also providing a more in-depth understanding of iona rozeal brown’s “a3blackface #65,” Fabiola Jean-Louis’s  “Madame Beauvoir’s Painting,” and Vanessa German’s “Delia on the Plane.”


Anne Collins Smith discusses her exhibition with AUC faculty members

Faculty were given the opportunity to closely examine these artworks, ask questions and discuss how their students could engage with the exhibit in a way that would enhance their critical thinking skills.  Direct correlations to assigned class readings and current events were made by many of the participants.  “Given the current recurrence of the issue of blackface in our politics in Virginia,” one professor noted after the workshop, “the painting on that issue [iona rozeal brown’s “a3blackface #65”] offers a different take on the subject of diasporic identity and how it intersects with peoples of other cultures. It raises the question of how and why there would be a trend of appropriating African American cultural forms in a place like Japan and the impact of Hip Hop in popularizing Black culture globally.”

Presence: Mediations on the Spelman College Collection is on view until May 18th at Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.