2015 Golz Fellowship Winner
In its second year, the Golz fellowship has awarded one student funding to pursue opportunities related to the field. Alfred E. Golz fellowships support research opportunities and internships for History majors and minors during the summer months. These fellowships have been made possible by a generous gift from Ronald Golz ’56 in memory of his father.
2015 Golz Fellow Christian Zavardino '17
This summer, I interned at Ellis Island, part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and the Oyster Bay Historical Society, a small, local archive dedicated to preserving history related to the town of Oyster Bay. My experiences at these institutions were vastly different; at Ellis Island, I was working for the National Park service, an enormous governmental agency tasked with preserving the history and character of the United States' national parks, whereas at the Oyster Bay Historical Society, I interned with only three or four other employees to reorganize, catalog and improve upon its collections. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to intern at these two very different places over the summer. As a result, I am considering a career in public history after graduation.
At Ellis Island, I worked primarily with my supervisor in the park's oral history program, which boasts a collection of over two thousand interviews of immigrants who entered the United States through Ellis Island, employees of the National Park Service, and immigration and professionals in the medical field who worked on the island while it was still receiving immigrants, and even American servicemen (mainly those serving in the Coast Guard) stationed there. My work in the oral history program entailed reading, transcribing, summarizing, and reviewing these interviews. I received a firm grounding in the fundamentals of the processing of oral histories, and I was able to contribute to a culturally and historically significant program that makes accessible the personal experiences and memories of the generations who passed through Ellis Island. I expanded my knowledge of the history of immigration to the United States, not only during the years Ellis Island was operational as an immigration station (1892 to 1954) but also, owing to recently installed exhibits in the museum, in the post-World War II era to the present day and even the period from 1500 to 1800.
Working at the Oyster Bay Historical Society was a drastically different experience. For two days a week, I undertook a ten-minute commute to Oyster Bay (as opposed to a two-and-a-half hour commute to Ellis Island three days a week) and worked with a supervisor on projects relating to the town's history, working closely with artifacts such as mechanical tools, clothing, booklets, posters, photographs, maps and centuries-old documents (including deeds, wills, and legal miscellany) from the seventeenth , eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. I analyzed, sorted, and organized these materials, placing them into storage spaces and labeling them while updating the Society's descriptions of them. We also undertook a reorganization of hundreds of documents that had been labeled with an antiquated numbering system. We then relabeled and renumbered them according to up-to-date archival standards, while also rehousing them in newer archival boxes to better preseve them. I also assisted in the selection of materials for and building of an exhibit on historical hats ranging from approximately the 1910s to the present day. The exhibit will be on display until September.
Both internships have piqued my interest in the archival profession, which I am now seriously considering pursuing in graduate school. They have broadened my knowledge of the work that constitutes an essential part of working in archives, all the while expanding upon my grasp of local and national history.
2014 Golz Fellowship Winners
2014 Golz Fellow Lara Adoumie '16
The Private Politics of India’s Partition: Exploring Female Agency in the Face of Violence
I spent this summer researching varying instances of-and responses to- female agency during the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, a time when hundreds of thousands of women and girls were raped, mutilated, amputated and abducted. Though it would be an injustice to draw attention away from the horrifying sexual violence these women endured, I found in the course of my research that women played a role beyond that of passive victims. Certain instances, such as the self-inflicted mass drowning of Sikh women during ethnic clashes in Rawalpindi (Punjab), raise significant questions about agency and how we define violence when there is a lesser-than-two-evil’s choice available. And if these women were, and still are, applauded as “heroic” martyrs of their religion, why were later instances of women illustrating agency- by refusing forced state sponsored relocations of abducted women in the post partition years- censored by society and the state? By analyzing a number of sources, ranging from oral testimonies collected by the 1947 Partition Archive Project, to textual interviews and memoirs of survivors and social workers, I believe I have discovered a kind of “continuum of violence,” to which women are subjected to (both in everyday life and in moments of communal strife) and which is a result of the link between ideas of honor and the female body. I have presented my ideas in the form of an interactive website, displaying corresponding film and photo work to bring this rich history to life.
2014 Golz Fellow Matthew Liptrot
Internship at the Pejepscot Historical Society
I spent this summer interning at the Pejepscot Historical Society (PHS) in Brunswick. My primary responsibility was to analyze and codify the enormous unexamined supply of documents stored in the Skolfield-Whittier house. This took the form of two separate avenues of work. On the one hand I read through the documents to determine a line of research of personal interest to myself. After exploring and discarding several potential topics I settled on the Venereal Disease epidemic of early 20th century America and the Social Hygiene movement dedicated to eradicating the diseases. By some estimates as much as 10% of America suffered from syphilis, gonorrhea, or both during this period. My work seems to have been the first time many of these documents have been looked at for research purposes. The other aspect of my work was creating document inventories and finding aids to allow other people to ascertain what documents the house holds without having to root about through hundred and in some cases hundred and fifty year old papers. Before I began this work there had been no other way to look for research material in the house than to start looking at random and hope you struck historical gold. This summer I have sampled the potential usefulness of PHS’ historical archives as well as bringing them an important step closer to being more widely accessible.