The Archives of the Casselman Historians
The archives of the Casselman River Area Amish and Mennonite Historians (a.k.a. Casselman Historians) is a depository for long term items of historical significance, available to individuals, organizations, and administrators of estates. The archives is located in Grantsville, Maryland, at 29 Dorsey Hotel Rd. This site is on the tract of land surveyed as Cornucopia in 17____. This part of Cornucopia was deeded to the Amish patriarch Joel B. Miller in 1868. The lot where the archives now stands was donated by one of his descendants to the Casselman Historians as a site for an archives building.
The purpose of this archives is three-fold: (1) collection, (2) preservation, (3) and accessibility of items of local Mennonite and Amish historical significance. Collections are formed as documents and artifacts are received, usually as donations. The materials are accessible then to researchers and other interested persons through a system of classification and indexing.
Vulnerability of documents and artifacts
In many situations, historical papers and artifacts are vulnerable to damage and destruction by water. While no provision on earth guarantees preservation of materials, a properly constructed and maintained archives building seems to be the most prudent provision of preservation.
The archives building of the Casselman Historians was completed in 200__, designed and built to house collections of historical materials. The floor is concrete slab, the walls are poured reinforced concrete, the siding is brick, the doors are fire-resistant, and the roof structure is reinforced poured concrete covered with asphalt shingles. A geo-thermal system controls temperature and humidity. Located on a raised level of ground, the building’s drainage system operates by gravity and so is not vulnerable to flooding in the event of a power outage. These physical features, combined with controlled of access to the materials, provide for long-term preservation of historical items.
In keeping with the stated purpose of the Casselman Historians, the archives receives items that are significant to the Amish and Mennonite history of the Casselman River area.
Kinds of materials
Both personal and organizational materials are receivable by the archives. The list includes, but is not limited to, personal items such as letters, diaries, and pictures; business items such as financial records, legal papers, and correspondence; church and institutional records; back issues of publications; genealogical records, books; art. small artifacts related to home, farm, or business. Items considered too sensitive for current public access can be placed under seal for restricted access for a specified period of time.
All items placed into the archives become the property of the Casselman Historians unless placed for “storage” by a written agreement. Information on the Casselman Historian’s policy on storage is available upon inquiry.
Organization of Materials
A system of classification and indexing provides for systematic placement of materials and reference for finding and accessing materials. The principle of provenance is generally followed, meaning that the source of the materials, rather than content, is considered in forming a collection. For example, a letter descriptive of the Maple Glen church, received among the Harvey S. Yoder papers, remains in the Harvey S. Yoder Collection; it is not moved to the Maple Glen Collection. Box designations and indexes assist the researcher or other interested person when searching for items of interest and relevance.
To inquire about placing items into the archives of the Casselman Historians, contact the archivist, Alice Orendorf at email@example.com or phone 301-245-4326 or send to P.O. Box 591, Grantsville, MD 21536.
Related Articles in The Historian
- “The New Archives Building: The Project Begun and Fund-raising Continued” (July 2006)
- “Address at the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Archives Building of the Casselman Historians” (Oct. 2006)
- “Why Did You Do It?” [Interview with Kenneth Yoder] (Oct. 2006)
- “Archives Building Project” (Jan. 2007)
- “The Historians Find a Home: New Building for the Historians Archives and Offices Dedicated” (Oct. 2007)