My third co-op is a bit like my first one, as I am writing again. It’s also a bit like my second co-op, considering I am still employed within the Olive Kettering Library (OKL). However, despite these similarities, it’s nothing like either of my previous experiences. In essence, this co-op represents a continuation of our collective work of reviving some of Antioch’s core institutions while also an expression of my personal commitment to open up discourses that would have otherwise remained obscured.
One-half of my job is at Antiochiana, Antioch’s archive. Although these holdings are housed on the second floor of the OKL, I’ve spent the majority of my time operating out of the first-floor common room where I’ve been spinning through reels and reels of microform. My focus has been on preserving correspondence between the college and external associations, such as various accreditation bodies and honor societies. These reels of film were photographed in the 1950s, though the correspondences themselves were written anywhere between 1929 and 1938. As a result of its age, the film itself is degrading. Fluctuations of humidity, temperature and even pollutants in the air are eating away at the celluloid and damaging the actual images. My job is to save them before that can happen entirely.
The work I do is methodical and focused. Though I can’t do much for the physical reel, I am running the film through a program called ViewScan on an old computer. I straighten, sharpen and adjust lighting for each of the images, saving them to the PC as I go.
A lot of the material is uninteresting: Former President Algo Henderson saying he can’t make it to a meeting via his secretary, Power Plant charts, letters from the Tax Commission of Ohio, just to name a few. Its charm is mostly in its age, though the eye strain I get from hours of staring at text glowing through a viewer makes it lose that charisma a bit. There’s a certain level of pride in preservation too, regardless of the perceived value of the letters. As of week 9, I’ve rescued more than 750 pages.
I am something of a sentimental person, whose love of archives is motivated not so much by nostalgia but by fear of the future in a world where truth often feels under siege. Knowing that someone took their time to type or write these nearly a hundred years ago, I find comfort in these letters and graphs. I marvel at how this college was run, and compare it to how it is currently run. I also feel a bit lucky knowing my work here could provide data for a student or researcher in the future.
The other half of my co-op is being the editor of The Record, Antioch’s student-run newspaper. Following its untimely and unfortunate demise in 2018, the publication laid in its shallow grace until my dearest friend, Loretta Philip, and I dug it up, forcing it back into existence to once more represent the voices of Antioch students. We produced Issue 1 this June, followed by Issue 2 in August. By summer’s end, I came to accept the reality that The Record will be a part of the rest of my Antioch career. It was only natural for me to make it a part of my co-op this fall.
Reviving The Record has been as wonderful as it has been stressful. The tight deadlines and regular lack of submissions nag at the back of my mind constantly, though we’ve successfully pulled it off three times now, and are currently working on our fourth issue. The day-to-day work varies. Sometimes I’m conducting interviews for a story. Other times I’m (lovingly) rotting away at ComCil meetings, hoping to hear something interesting. Additionally, I edit submissions as they come in and organize them into a Drive so that Loretta can work her design magic and put it all together. I hassle my fellow students for their submissions, I go to weekly Record Advisory Board meetings, and I do my best.
It’s right on the nose to say I’m someone who is particularly concerned with history, considering my major and my job(s) here at Antioch. The Record is the longest-running consistent publication at the college, constituting its own archive and demanding my attention in both of my roles. Fielding inquiries in my work with Scott Sanders, we’ve had to consult old Record issues more times than I can count. Much like the microform I’m preserving, I believe the work I’ve done with this newspaper will someday serve coming generations of Antiochians in addition to those here right now. I thus feel like I am offering a bit of insight into a special time that is passing fleetingly, as well as an opportunity for current students to make their voices heard.
S. Quinn Ritzhaupt is a third-year student, majoring in Archival Preservations at Antioch College. A history lover since childhood, she has found her place in the College's archive, Antiochiana, and currently works at the Olive Kettering Library and as the editor of The Record. Outside of classes, she is the co-coordinator of Chess Club at Antioch, and can often be found boring her friends with stories of Antioch's past.