Wanda Finney, archivist for Wilson College, boxes files of school records Tuesday at the Hankey Center. (Photo credit: Kevin G. Gilbert / Staff Photographer)
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Wanda Finney
spends a lot of time sorting through the contents of folders in 75 old filing cabinets.
As archivist for Wilson College
on U.S. 11, she
is committed to preserving the history of the 135-year-old women's college.
Everything from architectural plans for college buildings to formal student portraits from the 1880s, commencement programs, business records, athletic trophies and newspaper clippings comes under her
gaze to be catalogued and properly stored. Wilson College
was incorporated in March 1869; so there are a lot of important records and irreplaceable memorabilia for Finney
to preserve.But now she
has an efficient "new" building in which to do that - the Hankey Center
.The conversion of the building that served as the president's home from 1905 to 2001 provides climate-controlled storage for the accumulation of college history.
The college archives formerly were housed in the cramped basement of Thomson Hall, which "is dry in the winter and humid in the summer," Finney
said."Materials were stored in wooden dressers and map cases.Those are the worst places you can store anything paper."
was hired as archivist in 1998, her
first act was to place the materials in acid-free boxes, she
deals with the big, overarching concerns.
...Museum-quality screens throughout the building block 97 percent of UV rays to protect the collections, said Finney, a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Va.
When someone comes in to do research, Finney
interviews him or her
to see what material is needed, then goes to the archives and finds it.She
stressed that the archives is "not a library.
"This is the only photographic documentation we have of the dorm rooms, for example," Finney
said.Some old photos show students playing tennis in shorts in the snow.
"These are the things we wouldn't have from official college offices," she
said, adding that her
favorite materials are old photos of the students, buildings and grounds.
said the reaction from alumnae, former presidents, students and trustees to the building's conversion has been "overwhelmingly positive."