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As religious congregations consider consolidation or rehoming of archives, library and archival initiatives from recent decades serve as models to chart a way forward. In the early 2000s many libraries and archives formed statewide, collaborative digitization programs to leverage the power of partnerships to provide access to high-cost digital collections software and digitization services to partner institutions with fewer resources. More recently, the American Society for Theatre Research launched its American Theatre Archive Project to provide archival consulting and financial support to assist local theatre companies across the United States with preserving and making accessible records of theatrical process and product. Today, Santa Clara University’s Archives & Special Collections houses the Archives of the California Province of the Society of Jesus (now part of Jesuits West), administered by the Province’s designated archivist. It’s a win-win scenario: the Province leverages the Library’s storage facilities, archival program infrastructure, and public services to make Province records accessible to a broad research audience and the Library benefits from a co-located, complementary body of materials and the expertise of an archivist personally familiar with Jesuit history and heritage. Partnerships such as these offer compelling models for religious congregation archives in transition. Aware of the contributions that women religious have made to the Catholic Church in America and the West, Archives & Special Collections has identified a new collecting interest focused on women religious, in support of overall scholarship on women in religion. During this session the speaker will provide an overview of the archives management partnership between an academic library and its founding religious order; report the outcomes of outreach efforts to local women religious archives; and detail an ambitious vision for a joint archives program to provide access to archives of women religious in the West.


Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious in Louisville, KY.

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