• Stella Van Buskirk photographed by N.M. Wilcox.
 
By Emily Brown, ’21 
 A little over a month ago, I began my new student worker position with Special Collections. I applied for this position over the summer through the new I-CORPS program that Southwestern is instituting this year and hopes to continue into the future. I-CORPS is a grant-funded project from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations with the aim of helping juniors at Southwestern gain career experience in their chosen fields while receiving coordinating guidance from SU’s Center for Career and Professional Development. The students employed with this program are placed in various positions across campus that cover a wide range of disciplines and interests. For my position specifically, I will be working with Megan Firestone, Head of Special Collections & Archives, to research two local photographers, R.J. Stone and N.M. Wilcox, that lived in Georgetown at the turn of the 20th century. This project, which received grant funds from the Texas Historical Foundation, will include extensive research of the photographers’ lives, rehousing and reorganization of their works, and will culminate in open houses at the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library at Southwestern and the Georgetown Public Library in the spring that will share what we have learned with the community and educate on the proper care of photographs. 

 

Laura Kuykendall photographed by Stone.Laura Kuykendall photographed by Stone.
 
I was initially drawn to this project because of my love of history and photography, as well as the opportunity to participate in archival research and organization that could potentially assist future researchers of local history and photography. I began my work in Special Collections with extensive training that helped me better understand how to handle and care for the delicate photographs that I will be working with throughout the year. Next, I spent the last few weeks searching the archives for any works by Stone or Wilcox, which were previously not housed together, then began cataloging each of these works onto a spreadsheet for future use. Currently, I am taking a break from cataloging the photographs in order to conduct research about the lives of the two photographers through the Williamson County Sun microfilm collection at the Smith Library, so that we can approach the next steps of the project with a better understanding of the two men’s careers and personal lives in Georgetown. Within a few days, we will share another blog post about our preliminary research, after which I’ll begin posting biweekly to update on my progress.