The Past in the Present: Delving Into Third Wave’s Archives

June 17, 2011

I cannot believe that my first week-and-a-half at Third Wave has gone by so fast! So, I’m really glad to have this moment to catch up with myself — and with all of you — to reflect on my experiences so far interning at Third Wave and starting to work on archiving Third Wave’s historical documents. If the archiving process is new to you, join the club! While I’ve studied archives for a paper I wrote last year, I was completely naive about what it meant to choose and save archival material until this week.

However, before I explain what this archive project will be like, I should start by telling you all a little bit about myself. My name is Lillie and I am going to be a senior at Duke University next year. I love trying new restaurants, African dance, running, and spending time with my family. I’m interning at Third Wave this summer through an awesome program at Duke called The Moxie Project. The Moxie Project is a year-long program that combines classes in women’s history and social justice with a summer internship at a feminist organization in New York. I feel so lucky to be at Third Wave for my internship, because I’ve already met so many cool people that I am excited to work with over the summer!

My big project for the summer is to collect, prepare, and transfer all of Third Wave’s historical documents to join the archive collections at Duke’s Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture. The Sallie Bingham Center is an amazing resource at Duke — it houses archive collections with topics that range from Southern women, to women artists, to feminist theory and activism.

While this project has only just begun, I’ve already had the opportunity to look at lots of photos from Third Wave’s ROAMS program (2000-2003) and other parties and events that Third Wave hosted in the 90’s. I’ve also loved learning about Third Wave’s history by reading through old newsletters that detail past campaigns and grantmaking initiatives. When speaking with Third Wave’s Acting Executive Director Tara Ellison about Third Wave’s history, she thoughtfully said that, while Third Wave’s strategies for social justice have developed and grown over time, its goal of being an organization that is by and for young women and transgender youth has remained constant. Even though I have only been here for a little over a week, I can already see this goal emerge both in newsletters and program materials from the past, and staff meetings and strategic planning conversations in the present. I look forward to learning more about this amazing organization and supporting it through this archive project!

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