DIG3990 Editing Eartha White Archives

Editing the Eartha M. M. White Collection is a project that engages UNF students as archival researchers and digital editors. The project began within the framework of experimental course DIG3990 Introduction to Electronic Textual Editing in the summer of 2016, co-taught by Dr. Clayton McCarl of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Dr. Aisha Johnson-Jones, at that time the head of Special Collections and Archives at UNF’s Thomas G. Carpenter Library. The course was centered on the electronic edition of personal correspondence and other documents, held in Special Collections, related to Eartha M. M. White (1876–1974), founder of the Clara White Mission and a leader of Jacksonville’s African American community. Dr. Johnson-Jones, a specialist in African–American History, helped students to understand the biographical and social context in which these documents were produced. She likewise trained students on archival methods and procedures and instructed them on the proper handling of rare materials. Dr. McCarl led the students in the transcription, regularization and annotation of the documents, as well as their encoding in TEI–XML, the standard today for creating digital texts in the Humanities. As transcribers, editors and annotators, the students took on a variety of roles in this course.

The documents that the students edited in Summer 2016 are available online, along with the project documentation we developed together throughout the semester.

The material from 2016 will eventually form part of a larger online archive, to be developed through future collaborations with UNF students. This archive is designed to increase the accessibility of the Eartha M. M. White materials, an important and underutilized resource for understanding Jacksonville’s complex history. This archive will include an introduction that will contextualize the materials and discuss the collaborative method employed in the archive’s construction.

A workshop series in the spring of 2018 continued the work started in the summer of 2016.


Related Scholarship

McCarl, Clayton. “Editing the Eartha M.M. White Collection: An Experiment in Engaging Students in Archival Research and Editorial Practice” (forthcoming in The Journal of Academic Librarianship)


Related Presentations

Susan Williams. “Editing the Eartha MM White Collection: Project Update.” International Studies/Digital Humanities Symposium, 9 March 2018, University of North Florida.

Susan Williams. “Editing the Eartha MM White Collection: Project Update.” Digital Projects Showcase, Digital Humanities Initiative, 8 Nov. 2017, University of North Florida.

Cameron Adelsperger, Chad Germany, Paula Hernández, Aislinn Kelly, Jen Lee and Clayton McCarl. “Presenting the Digital Humanities Initiative.” Board of Trustees Meeting, 7 June 2016, University of North Florida. (Chad Germany discussed the Eartha M.M. White project.)

Joseph Fricks, Chad Germany, Aisha Johnson-Jones, Bethany Jerger, Aislinn Kelly, Clayton McCarl, Dean Rice and Lauren Winters. End-of-Semester Presentation. 14 June 2016, University of North Florida.

Chad Germany, Aisha Johnson-Jones, Aislinn Kelly, Clayton McCarl, Dean Rice and Lauren Winters. “‘Editing the Eartha M.M. White Archives’: Project Update and Future Possibilties.” Digital Projects Showcase, Digital Humanities Initiative, 2 Nov. 2016, University of North Florida.


Related Round Table Participation

“Documentary Editors as Public Historians: Middle Men and Women to the Work of History.” National Council on Public History, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 19-22, 2017. (Clayton McCarl and Aisha Johnson, invited participants)


Faculty Leader

Clayton McCarl

Dr. Clayton McCarl is the interim chair of the UNF Digital Humanities Initiative and the director of the UNF International Studies Program. He is an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. His research involves the electronic edition of manuscript and rare print books dealing with the Spanish maritime world in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.



Student Intern

Susan Williams is a history major who is enrolled in the new Digital Humanities minor at UNF. She is interning with the “Editing the Eartha MM White Archives” project in Spring 2018 through the DH internship course associated with that minor.



Past Collaborators


Aisha JohnsonDr. Aisha Johnson-Jones is supervisory archivist at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta. She was formerly the head of Special Collections and Archives at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library at UNF.





Aislinn KellyAislinn Kelly, English (2017)







Joseph Fricks, History (2017)






Chad Germany, History (2017)







Bethany Jerger, History







John Pello-Wasko. Pyschology/Sociology (2017)







Dean Rice, English graduate student








Lauren Winters, History