This May, Buswell Library Archives & Special Collections talks with historian David Reagles, author of Searching for God in Britain and Beyond: Reading Letters to Malcolm Muggeridge, 1966-1982, about his journey through the vast collection of fan letters held in the Malcolm Muggeridge Papers.
When and how were you first introduced to Archives & Special Collections? What kinds of research projects have led you to the Archives’ collections?
I first stepped on Wheaton’s beautiful campus as a graduate student in 2011. Two moments really stand out in my mind when I think about the archives during those life-changing years. The first took place during a seminar on the history of evangelicalism in the Atlantic world. It was a wonderful eye-opening class, which included among other things a jaunt to the archives. There Bob Shuster masterfully guided us through proper archival procedures and etiquette, as well as offered an overview of the kinds of rich materials available. As we walked into the classroom, he had placed one or more archival boxes at each seat. After a short lecture, he asked us to open our materials and to try as best as we could to tell a “story” of the box. I recall pouring through the contents and feeling a kind of weird combination of confusion, excitement, anticipation, uncertainty, and discomfort. I loved it. That short lesson really affirmed the kind of joy-filled experience archival research could be.Continue reading