Thursday, June 02, 2005

I started tackling the unfiled material yesterday. I originally thought I'd try to integrate it into the publication and general files which were in the filing cabinets, but we've decided not to do that at the moment. We may decide to integrate some or all of it later, or we may decide to leave it as its own series.

This material comes from Fr. Ong's desk, from papers stacked on the filing cabinets and papers stacked on some bookshelves, and it includes printouts of fonts styles, correspondence he intended to file, correspondence he may not have gotten to or responded to, junk mail, research materials, some completed but unpublished work, some unfinished work, files he'd labeled as "inactive" (including some work dating back to the late 50s or early 60s), etc.

It's my sense that he didn't file anything until he considered it finished or "closed," but it's also clear that the filing cabinets had just about reached capacity at the end and there just wasn't room to filing things like the proofs and correspondence related to things the four volumes of Faith and Contexts, The Ong Reader, and Time, Memory, and the Verbal Arts: Essays on the Thought of Walter Ong. The argument for keeping this unfiled material as its own series is that it would reflect how he himself arranged his records -- what's known in archiving as the primacy of the original order (or something like that). It's possible that future researchers may find it significant that something was "open" or "in-process" rather than "closed" and filed away. And for that reason, I'm leaning towards keeping these materials in their own series rather than integrating them into the larger collection.

It would have been nice if we'd been able to see the material in its original context, but the Jesutis did do a great job of keeping mateiral together and indicating where the items had been found.

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