Halted by the Archive: The Impact of Excessive Archival Restrictions on Scholars [Access article in PDF] Subject Headings:
Wiseman, Adele -- Archives.
Restricted collections in archives.
Biography as a literary form.
This article, written from the dual perspectives of a scholar and an archivist,
considers the impact of excessive archival restrictions on scholars who seek
access to primary material in order to ensure the integrity and accuracy of
their research. Ruth Panofsky's view is that of a literary scholar whose work
is informed by archival research. Michael Moir's view is that of a university
archivist who has facilitated scholarly access to York University's archival
holdings. Together, they argue for access to fonds held in public archives and
the need for archival institutions to provide and lobby for such access. In this
article, author Panofsky draws on her recent work with the Adele Wiseman
fonds, held in the Clara Thomas Archives, Scott Library, York University. Since
that research was undertaken with great difficulty, the narrative that follows
may dishearten some scholars. The eventual overcoming of the barrier of
restricted access to archival material, which, for a number of years,
hindered the progress of the Wiseman project, was due largely to dogged
determination -- her own, and that of the archival staff of York University.
As this article shows, when scholars and archivists alike recognize 'the
archival home' as a site 'of constant discovery and excitement,'2 the viable
outcome is research that is both vivid and sound.
This article details the life of Archie Turnbull as an Edinburgh publisher,
initially working at W. & R. Chambers from 1949 to 1952, then as secretary of
the Edinburgh University Press from 1952 to 1987. It notes his role in the
expansion of EUP during his tenure, places Edinburgh University Press in the
context of other contemporary Scottish publishing houses, and draws on an
interview with Turnbull in October 2001 for comments on his professional
career. It also records how important academic series such as the Edinburgh
Edition of the Waverley Novels were nurtured and notes how EUP was able to
flourish thanks to a general 1960s expansion of UK higher education and the
positive institutional support of Edinburgh University.