By Yahaira Santana
May 15, 2020
My experience in the Gerth Archives flew by!
I worked in the archives for about a year starting in the 2019 Fall Semester. As a history student I have been always intrigued by old documents. In my spare time I like to look for antique women’s magazines and/or advertisements and prints in antique shops and/or bookstores. The Gerth Archives is the place to be if you would like to work with historical old documents and records or learn about our own history of California. Working in the Gerth Archives has led me to explore hundreds of materials with unique histories that have made valuable contributions to our own American history. My days went by fast as I went through boxes containing audio cassette tapes, books, correspondence, journals, magazines, pamphlets, reports, journals, notes and writings, of individuals that were members of the Socialist Workers Party or affiliated factions and organizations based on the collections I worked on. Handling, examining, and preserving the primary sources in the collections I worked has brought me so much joy.
I would sometimes leave the library after completing my hours wanting to find out more about a particular subject or individual from the documents and would find myself at home or upstairs in the computer lab trying to find out more information. It is important to recognize and appreciate the work of archivists in our own institution at Dominguez Hills as they research and record the origins and historical significance of archival materials to facilitate and maintain access to students and other historians who want to enhance their educational experience.
There are many perks in working in the archives as you get a first look and hands on into new incoming material that is unprocessed. Sometimes you get to work on the fifth floor of the library where you have a clear cityscape view of the Los Angeles downtown buildings and see other university buildings adjacent to the library. You also get to work alongside with professional and knowledgeable archivists who are happy to help you with any questions or concerns. You will have lots of questions and that is okay! Furthermore, interning in the Gerth Archives looks great on your resume as you approach graduation and get ready to enter the workforce after college.