The Miscellaneous File

As a young archives student in graduate school, I was always taught never to use “miscellaneous” as a folder title, because it encourages lazy thinking about organization. If you just dump things into a miscellaneous section, you probably aren’t trying very hard to find a home for those objects and they are basically unfindable in the future.

As a professional archivist, however, I find the “miscellaneous” folder to be the best part of any archiving project. People use miscellaneous files a lot in their personal archiving, because people are not archivists and it’s a very practical solution to keeping random, seemingly unrelated documents somewhere safe. What this means to me, then, is that the Miscellaneous file is usually full of interesting tidbits, handwritten memos, drafts of documents that are no longer in our collection at all. Usually the Miscellaneous files are the ones that show you the personality of a creator: the humorous side, the human side.

Today while going through the Miscellaneous file of the Faculty Senate, circa 1978, I found these wonderful (and anonymous) memos, which show a great deal of information about the interpersonal relationships at the College at that time. Miscellaneous files can be full of treasures.

Memo
Memo, late 1970s to David Fairbanks, sender unknown
Letter
Handwritten note to David Fairbanks regarding Library Committee, sender unknown, date unknown
Notes from an Executive Committee Meeting. Probably from around Christmas based on the doodling.
Notes from an Executive Committee Meeting. Probably from around Christmas based on the doodling.
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