Summer at BMC

Sun-soaked postcards from Bryn Mawr College

A Postcard From: Ivy Drexel ’14

NIvy Drexelame: Ivy Drexel

Class Year: 2014

Major: Linguistics and English

What’s happening? We’d love to hear about how your internship is going: I am learning something new at my internship nearly every second! As part of the Reference team at the National Archives II in College Park, MD, I have the privilege of handling priceless documents from every stage of American history. Through my research I have come across document treasures, by chance, ranging from a Christmas card from President Harry Truman, to the U.S. Navy’s reports on the search for Amelia Earhart’s plane, to William Seward’s resignation letter to President Lincoln, and even census records listing my great-great-grand parents!

This summer I am dealing primarily with U.S. Navy records from WWII. I respond to letters from veterans and researchers who are looking for various action reports, war diaries, and deck logs from naval vessels involved in the war. My research requires me to go into the stacks, which each holds hundreds of rows, thousands of boxes, and millions of documents, and find exactly what our researcher is looking for.

Most days, I also have to opportunity to spend my time out on the research room floor, where people from all over the world come to look through our records. Just last week I spoke with an author from New Mexico, a graduate student from London, and a researcher from Japan. My favorite part of the day is the look of excitement on a researcher’s face when we’ve found exactly what they’ve been looking for!

How I heard about my internship: I independently researched student opportunities in the Washington, D.C. area, and specifically positions in the government.

Why I applied for my internship: In English 250 at Bryn Mawr, I had the opportunity to visit Canaday’s Special Collections for a research and writing project. I was fascinated by the tangible history and literature that was so accessible to me, and was inspired to continue working with such documents on a larger scale. At the National Archives I am able to use my writing and research skills to assist researchers and my office.

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