As well as being a student of Archives & Records Management, I’m also helping to create an initial spreadsheet-based catalogue for the Transatlantic Super-Region of the Teams of Our Lady.
Teams of Our Lady is a Christian organisation for married couples that my parents have been heavily involved in for the last 23 (ish) years. Teams is an international organisation, and Great Britain falls into the Transatlantic Super-Region. The Transatlantic SR covers the English-speaking parts of Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. Teams supported in this SR currently include Great Britain, Ireland, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, Malawi and Zambia. Teams in Ghana are undergoing the piloting stage.
In the years that my parents have been in Teams, they have held many roles, from Newsletter Editors, Responsible Couple, Sector Couple, and most recently, as the Transatlantic Super-Regional Couple. Their various roles have brought a multitude of documents, letters, e-mails, conference papers, and ephemera that has been boxed up, printed out, and kept in a variety of formats, and I was invited to start Cataloguing and digitising their collection so that a) they could get rid of some the boxes of Teams ‘stuff’ in the house, b) so that the ‘stuff’ would be accessible and searchable, once it had been catalogued, and c) so that the Teams information they had gathered over time could be made available for others to access, whether that be for historical or general interest.
The current project I am working on involves cataloguing and digitising the ‘official’ collection of Teams regional and sector newsletters dating back to the 1980s. This collection mainly consists of the newsletters of the region of Great Britain, and its previous iterations, the ‘blue books’. The collection also includes newsletters from different sectors across Great Britain, and from the Oceanian Super-Region, Australasian Super-Region, Europe, and the United States.
The newsletters were housed in four boxes, two plastic, two cardboard. My parents had the good sense to house them inside the cupboard in a spare room, where they were less likely to be got at by insects or rodents. Because of their storage conditions, the newsletters are in a fairly good condition. The staples had rusted in some of the older newsletters leaving some rust marks and slight damage, but most of the collection was spared.
The newsletters are currently undergoing cataloguing and digitisation, but the collection of the GB newsletters is considered to be the ‘official’ collection, and so these are likely not to be destroyed.
My parents’ last role within Teams was as the Transatlantic Super-Regional Couple, a role which lasts for 5 years, and is then passed on to another couple. My parents handed over responsibility to another couple in January of this year, and so they are looking to hand over the physical newsletters to a ‘good home’ at some point. Where they will end up is not yet fixed, and so the collection of newsletters will remain with us until a new home is found. There is not any funding for archival standard acid-free boxes to contain the newsletters at this stage – something that is being looked into – so the best that can be done at this stage is to house them in large lidded plastic storage boxes with all metal content removed.
It has been a very enjoyable project so far, especially when I have come images of my parents with a variety of hairstyles through the 80s and 90s! I’m looking forward to seeing if there are anymore gems that come out of this collection!