Lindsay Sprechman began interning at AJHS in October 2014 because she loved history, American Jewish history in particular. Becky Baker, who started her internship in January, was drawn to the “revolutionary roots” of Massachusetts, her home state, and was interested in Boston’s past as well as its “transformation into the modern era.”
Both interns are currently graduate students in their final semester at Simmons College, with Lindsay finishing up a degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives Management and Becky a dual-degree in the Archives Management and History programs.
Becky came to AJHS interested in working with digital archives, and she is now uploading files for the Boston Jewish Times Newspaper Collection. (There’s more on that new database below, in the “Collections” section.) Lindsay, meanwhile, has been processing the personal papers of Mary Wolfman Epstein, an entertainer born in the early 20th century who was involved with Hebrew and Yiddish music in the Boston area.
Lindsay and Becky say they have learned a lot from their time at AJHS, in terms of technology as well as Jewish history. “I learned a great deal about digital content management systems and the process of uploading digital collections,” Becky reports, and “I also learned a few tidbits on different Jewish communities around the world. For instance, I learned of the existence of a Jewish community in Harbin, Northeast China which I find fascinating.” Lindsay, who had previously interned at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, MS, and worked at the Jewish Women’s Archive in Brookline, was intrigued by “just how much has changed in the last century. Working with a collection of personal papers of a woman born in the early 20th century over the past few months, I got to witness through her writing, photographs, and other documents how much things changed for people, for women, for Jews, and for Jewish women.” She noted how technology had evolved alongside these social upheavals, “from handwritten letters to typewritten documents to computer–generated materials [and] from magnetic recordings to vinyl records to cassette tapes.”
In the future, Lindsay hopes to work in a university archive setting, “with materials relating to Jewish history, women’s history, or other types of social histories.” Becky, who currently holds a part time job at the Boston Architectural College Library, is leaning towards a corporate or special library position but says she hasn’t ruled anything out. “I really enjoy playing with new systems and trying out new things.”