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Woman’s Dignity Regained by Cataloger

Cataloging matters. Sometimes it can even recover people from history, as Civil Servant explains in his/her posting Re: Little Triumphs on the If This Be Method … blog on 11/12/09. The cataloger is talking about someone only referred to as “Mrs. John Smith” in a catalog record for an oral history. Civil Servant recounts:

Hoary laws and customs don’t do the modern researcher any good, however, and both Joann and I were keen to find this woman’s first name, but we were batting zero. Finally, I suggested that Joann take a look in the Pioneers of Arnor records. If the husband was a member, then the membership rolls might name his wife. As it happens, my guess was on the money and I’m proud to say that “Ada Jean Smith” was entered as the author and subject of the interview.

In doing this bit of extra digging, we set the historical record straight and gave this woman back her identity. A small thing and no more than our job, but we were glad to do it.

Thanks to a librarian’s cataloging, Ada found her voice. It’s a moment to be proud of and share with others.

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