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About the Project

Editing the Eartha M. M. White Collection is a project that engages UNF students, faculty and staff 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 the Department 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. This initial phase of the project is documented in the article “Editing the Eartha M.M. White Collection: An Experiment in Engaging Students in Archival Research and Editorial Practice,” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 44 (2018), 527-537. The documents that the students edited in Summer 2016 are available online, along with the project documentation we developed together throughout the semester.

A workshop series in the spring of 2018 continued the work started in the summer of 2016. It was led by student intern Susan Williams.

In June 2018, we published a preliminary introduction to the output of this project, titled An Interactive Edition of Selected Materials from the Eartha M.M. White Collection. This document details our editorial approach and includes an index with links to all documents edited to date.

In Spring 2020, we initiated a new weekly open workshop series under student leader Carol Lynne Hemmingway, supported by a grant from the UNF Office of Undergraduate Research. The current project website was created to better organize and display the project's digital repository of transcriptions. With the support of on-campus organizations like the UNF Black Students Union and the African American Faculty Staff Association, the project expanded its contributor base within UNF's campus community. Hemmingway also assisted Dr. McCarl in the revision of an unpublished article on editing workshops and outreach, focusing on lessons learned from Editing the Eartha M. M. White Collection. During this semester, the website's first exhibit "Eartha White and the Creation of Black Historical Memory in Florida" was written and published by Hemmingway.

In Summer 2020, the project appeared as part of the course DIG3152 Introduction to Electronic Textual Editing taught by Dr. McCarl. The project was presented by Hemmingway to students as part of the course's content. K. Anagnostou, one of the course participants, chose to edit documents for Editing the Eartha M. M. White Collection and authored our second exhibit "The Role of the Church in Public and Private Life."

In Spring 2021, Hemmingway led a short-term workshop series at the Ed White High School for members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida in partnership with the UNF Center for Community-Based Learning. With this series, we tested the expansion of the project into the Jacksonville community more broadly. Due to safety concerns because of COVID-19, the project was done remotely, allowing us to explore ways to expand the contributor base of the project using remote participation. The website's third exhibit, highlighting the public importance and influence of African American women, will be published by Hemmingway at the end of this semester with funding from the UNF Department of History's Dr. Carolyn Williams Research Award. The aforementioned unpublished article will continue its development which was revived in Spring 2020, with Dr. McCarl and Hemmingway working as co-authors.