Yes, you read that right. I am currently working for free, otherwise known as volunteering, at the Clements Library at UMich. So far the two days a week that I have been able to drag myself away from my babies and try to reintroduce the adult part of my brain to the land of the living have been very exciting. Well, exciting for me anyway:)
I have been lucky enough to get my hands on some pretty priceless manuscripts including a ship's log from the early 1700's. There was an interesting diary entry from the author about a service he attended in Spain. It was in Oviedo and the priest there told a story that day of a chest full of wonders that came to rest at the church. Well that piqued my interest to say the least. I did a little research and found out that the chest indeed existed and is still in the church to this day. It was said to have contained the Sudarium, also known as the cloth that covered Christ's face from the cross to the tomb, hair from the Virgin Mary, a few pieces of money that Judas got for betraying Jesus, thorns from the crown of Christ, and the list goes on and on. Basically anything that could ever have had any value in Christianity was in this chest, placed there by the disciples of the Apostles when they left Jerusalem.
So that was pretty cool...
After that I worked on a very small diary written by a 16 year-old girl who, along with her boyfriend and another couple, rode motorcycles on day trips in 1914. On the surface this would seem unremarkable until you factor in the date and her age. A woman riding a motorcycle at any age in 1914 was pretty rare let alone a teenager.
So now I'm on to British Papers from the 1770's just before American independence. In it there are questionnaires that were sent out to the Governors of the colonies asking about everything from population to agriculture, imports/exports/, number of white citizens vs number of black and so on. It was really interesting to read responses from the Governors who all praised the Queen in their letters (of course) and gave such detail in their responses that the fear the people had of the British was presented in a way I had never grasped before.
After I finish the British Papers it's on to letters, letters, and more letters written by Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson. I can hardly wait! Hopefully I won't get sidetracked onto something else but no matter what they give me I'm sure it will still be interesting. Now if only I could figure out how to get paid for this...come on job opening:)