Posted on behalf of Matt Berlyant
When I started interning in the Digital Collections and Systems Department here at HSP several months ago, I had no idea what was in store. Though I had recently completed my MLIS degree from the University of Pittsburgh, the fact that I was working full-time in another field unrelated to library science, archives or collections made it so that this internship, along with another internship I’m doing here this summer in the Collections area, constitutes the first actual job experience I have in my chosen field.
What I can truly say about this internship is that though some of the tasks can be repetitive, I’m never bored because of the wide variety of tasks I’m working on here. I started off trying to locate missing images from various drives in order so that they can be matched to the proper DAMS record and uploaded as such. I’ve also learned the ins and outs of scanning images, the batch upload process and even attended the one-day training we had on the fancy new scanner that was displayed on the ground floor for several weeks. One day I spent the afternoon accompanying the then R&R (Rights and Reproductions) director to find requested documents.
Though I enjoy digitizing, scanning and uploading images, the biggest thrill for me is encountering posters, flyers, photos and other archival materials that in subtle and not-so-subtle ways chronicle the history of this great city. A great example is the nearly forgotten Shibe Park (later Connie Mack Stadium) at 21st and Lehigh, the home of the Philadelphia Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies until it closed in 1970 (it was demolished in 1976).
An image of the crowd from a 1941 game says much about the fashion of the time (compare the attire to the manner of dress at a typical sporting event nowadays) and more significantly, the overt racial barriers that existed not just on the field (it would be another 6 years before the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson, who famously broke the Major League Baseball color barrier) but in the audience as well. Significantly, Shibe Park also played host to the Philadelphia Stars (a Negro League team) in the 1940s since its capacity was almost twice that of their regular park at 44th and Parkside (the old site of that park now has a memorial plaque along with a mural devoted to the Stars).