Well, finished Day Two of the research trip. It was also Quiche Day at the convent. There were about five different types of quiches to be had, plus salad. I think the quiche was made with a real crust with real butter, not the fake Pillsbury dough crust I usually use when I make quiche or pie.
On the whole it was a good day. I got through more than I thought, despite having to accept I wouldn’t get through everything. (I feel like that could a metaphor for life or something.)
I looked at a series of files that spanned a decade, which allowed me to see some change or evolution (historians love change over time). I read mostly correspondence and some news clippings. Many of the letters I looked at were “circular letters,” which are correspondence to be circulated among the members of the different local houses or convents within a community. Often they are from a provincial or generalate superior and are a means of circulating information. Like a lot of official correspondence, they can skate over the surface of information, except when laying out details of communities Rule or customs, but they do say something. When they are a part of a larger span of letters or files, it is interesting to see what other records reveal in conjunction with the circular letters. How do we interpret what we read? How do we evaluate?
There is more to examine in this collection as is there in the entire Mercy Heritage Center. The Mercys archivists have done good work with records management. Much of the records that were transferred to Belmont were in good order with finding aids. The Center staff are processing the collections and working to digitize the records for future researchers. I highly recommend looking into its collections and visiting. And besides, it might be Quiche Day when you are there.