First Class 2019

First Class Program
Colby College Special Collections
Patricia Burdick & Erin Rhodes
August 28, 2019 | 10:30 – 12:00

Title of Class: Connecting to the Past: Student Voices in the Archives

Location: Robinson Room, Miller Library

Description of class:

Learn about Colby College Special Collections & Archives and about opportunities for doing research in the archives.

Participate in a hands-on exercise working directly with original archival materials documenting Colby student voices and stories in the Archives.

Have fun learning about Colby history using materials drawn from the College Archives, and how working with archival materials is different from other kinds of research.

How to Prepare for Class:

Please take some time to explore the following three websites:

In Their Footsteps: A History of Colby College

A People’s History of Colby College: Activism and Social Justice since 1813

The Value of Yearbooks

Please briefly answer the following questions:

  1. Did your high school have a yearbook or similar publication? If yes, what kinds of things did it include?
  2. What value do you think yearbooks have? Do they provide an idealistic or realistic representation of memories and the past? Can yearbooks represent a shared or uniform experience, or can they express varied or dissimilar experiences?
  3. Do you think a paper/printed version of a yearbook still serves a purpose in an increasingly digital world? Why/why not?
  4. In what ways (digital, analog) do you document your lived experience? How do you think the technology we use affects how we remember our past?

Please email your answers to: Erin Rhodes ( by August 27th. Feel free to send it attached as a Word doc, a PDF, or as text in the body of the email.

Please come to First Class with an open mind, some curiosity about the history of the College, and any questions that you would like to ask about archives – what they are, what they have, and why they are important. We look forward to meeting you!