Intern Blog: CSEA Intern Devin Lander

November 01, 2006

The M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives is fortunate to have undergraduate and graduate students working on a variety of projects including arranging and describing collections, conducting research related to our collections, and many other initiatives. Here University at Albany graduate student Devin Lander writes about his ongoing project.

My name is Devin Lander and I am a graduate student in the Public History Program at the University at Albany, SUNY. I have been fortunate enough to have been accepted to work with the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) collection at the University at Albany's M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives. Thus far I have been working on uploading CSEA photographs to the University at Albany Libraries' Digital Collections database, assigning them numbers, and adding all of the pertinent information to allow access to the collection via the web. Some of the interesting photographs that I have worked on so far include a series taken in the wake of the past summer's floods throughout New York State. The CSEA has taken an active role in helping both its members and non-members who were directly affected by the flooding. There are many compelling images of work being done to repair the massive amount of damage that was brought about by the floods. Another interesting series of photos that I have worked on is a collection of 1950s and 60s era photographs from the New York State Office of Mental Hygiene's Annual Reports. This series has several striking images of mental health practices from a time period when the modern idea of psychiatric therapy was in its initial stages. Some of the period captions are especially interesting when compared to the modern terminology that is used to describe the mentally ill. I will also be digitizing much of the CSEA's microfilm collection as well as working with their paper collection. Although I have only just begun to scratch the surface of the work to be done with this collection, I am very excited to be a part of this project.