Over the summer of 2013, I entered the doors of the Schomburg Center as a lost and slightly nervous researcher (I am such an introvert). I had just returned from Pittsburgh as a preschool teacher and was slightly intimidated by the size and prestige of this research library. Unlike the Mississippi State Archives, the Schomburg is comprised of multiple buildings and floors whereas the archives in Jackson only contained two buildings both single story (or at least the archive portion was). Throughout my entire week there, I was one out of two researchers and they were so intrigued by a junior history major from North Carolina conducting research. I spent three days from opening to closing at the Schomburg browsing through the Geraldine Wilson Collection, I only made it through ten boxes even with my sister’s assistance. It was not until my last semester of my senior year I realized I made a tremendous mistake.
It was in my digital history course where we were being educated by the great Dr. John Fea on how to conduct research in the archives. I was thinking to myself, I have this down packed for I had multiple research experiences in archives. Wrong. He began to talk about how the photos were separated from its original holdings and put into a separate department of the archives. Oh no. I never checked the photos and prints division in the archives. Why me Lord? Good news, my sister resides in Harlem; however, she required a payment for her anticipated “boring day in the archives. She went and conquered. A few weeks later, I received copies of the photos from box one in the archives. I went back for box two in November, yet it is off site in a back storage. I have to reserve the box ahead of time in order for the container to be sent to the Schomburg. This means another trip to New York City. The first box of photos contains multiple negatives and numerous photos, family photos, which I truly desired. Well at least I thought. There was a problem with these photos, they were left with no descriptions, no smudged handwriting written on the backs. I had no idea who the individuals in the photos were outside of the ones featuring Geraldine.
All photos can be found at the Schomburg Center
Photographs and Prints Division
Geraldine Wilson Collection, Box 1
Geraldine is the woman with the scarf around her head.
Geraldine Wilson presenting
Photo taken by: Ruth Viktoria Ward
My guess: Philadelphia. This could be Rachel with her two nieces. It could be a neighbor with her two daughters. It could be Geraldine with as a young girl with her mother and cousin. Who knows? She does look like Rachel, or maybe I want her to be Rachel.
No description. Her parents? Aunt and uncle?
No description…Perhaps aunt and nieces…church friends…
No description. Father or one of her two brothers
No description…I am not even sure if Geraldine is in the photo
I know this one…Geraldine Wilson receiving an award=)
Until the next post,