Meet Zoe Lester, LNDL’s Spring 2023 Archives Intern

Copy of In Living Memory Zine
Zoe’s zine, In Living Memory

This spring, Loyola senior Zoe Lester interned in LNDL’s Archives and Special Collections. We recently caught up with her to find out more about her experience:

What did you work on during your spring semester archives internship?

This semester, I was tasked with processing the Loyola Notre Dame Library Archives’ scrapbook collection into our online database. This process involved physically looking through the books to evaluate their condition. I would help determine whether we needed to rehouse the books in a particular way, like sleeving the pages with protective folders, wrapping the books in tissue, or deciding whether a book is a good candidate to be digitized. As a final project, I created a zine called Living Memory to reflect themes and ideas that I noticed during this process. The zine is available to be reprinted.

Zine display at LNDL. A small stack of Zoe's zines sits between a copy of Zoe's artist statement and a sign encouraging patrons to take a zine.
Zine display on the second floor of LNDL

What have been the most interesting or surprising aspects of your work?

While working with the scrapbook collection, it was the Notre Dame alumni collection that struck me the most. Most of the books are from the early to mid-20th century, but some are from as early as 1890! What was interesting about this was being able to see what students from different decades decided to save and hold on to. I enjoyed comparing their university experiences to mine and seeing that we can actually be very similar despite having so many years between us.

What value do you think scrapbooks have as historical documents?

Scrapbooks are a very interesting form of historical document. Instead of a general account of history, they provide a very personal insight into someone’s life. One can utilize the form of a scrapbook to explore and keep track of almost any topic, from news clippings to a school year, or even a vacation or legal records, scrapbooks serve as a personal artifact that encapsulates a period of time as it was relevant to the person who created it. A primary source as personal as scrapbooks can provide great meaning to a historian’s research as they can look at historical periods or events through the lens of an individual’s experiences to see how someone would have made sense of things or to see how it may have influenced what and how they recorded their personal life.

I would recommend an archives internship for students who…

An archive internship would be perfect for any student that enjoys studying history or is interested in a future career in libraries or doing research. I also recommend this internship to someone who enjoys doing hands-on tasks, as I found the opportunity to physically go through the scrapbooks to be very fulfilling.

Want to check out Zoe’s zine Living Memory for yourself? Grab a copy on the second floor of the library near each set of elevators.