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Researcher Profile: Mary Riedel

May 28, 2012


Researcher Mary Riedel

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I grew up in Abilene, TX and attended Abilene Christian University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in the Bible while there.  After getting married, I came to UTSA and earned my Master’s degree in History in 2007.  I am now working on my Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas.  My goal is to someday work in Special Collections at a university or other academic institution.  In addition to being a graduate student, I also work full time at UTSA in the Academy for Teacher Excellence (http://ate.utsa.edu) and I have a 21-month-old son.

How did you find the Special Collections at UTSA?

I had visited Special Collections once for a class when the manuscript collections were still at the ITC several years ago.  Since I work at UTSA I am often in the JPL Building.  I saw the new reading room when it opened a year or so ago and was excited see what it was like.  When I signed up for a Special Collections course this semester through UNT, my main project was to find a collection to work with, so I naturally wanted to work with a collection at UTSA.

How did you learn to conduct primary source research?

I learned how to utilize primary source documents while I was an undergraduate student at ACU.  ACU has a lot of great collections of original resources housed in their library.  At UTSA, many of my professors also encouraged the use of primary documents, from my very first semester in Historical Methods, to my final semester in Seminar.  One professor (Dr. Catherine Nolan-Ferrell) even took me and several other students in our program to Mexico City to do research in the Archivos Generales one summer.  That was such an amazing experience!

Photograph of the third clinic and Planned Parenthood Center, 502 Somerset Rd.

Photograph of the third clinic and Planned Parenthood Center, 502 Somerset Rd., Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Central Texas Records (Box 10, Folder 18)

Describe your research project and how the materials you’re studying at UTSA fit into it.

My project was to find a collection and market it to faculty who teach upper-level undergraduate courses at a university in an effort to partner with them in incorporating the collection into their course curriculum.  This would subsequently get more undergraduate students engaged and involved in utilizing Special Collections.  I looked through several finding aids at UTSA and finally chose the one for Planned Parenthood of San Antonio.  Our assignment was to choose one course to target, but as I began going through the collection I realized that there were so many potential courses that could benefit from utilizing this collection, from Marketing to Non-Profit Management to Health to History to Medical Ethics.  The possibilities were endless!  After presenting my findings to my class and other invited guests in late April, I realized that this move towards interdisciplinary scholarship was something I really enjoyed and look forward to doing in my future career.

Tell us about one particularly interesting document you have come across in your research at UTSA.

There were so many interesting documents that I came across in the few boxes that I was able get through in my time this semester, but my favorite item that I kept coming back to look at was the notebook in which the PPSA Board members kept their first few years-worth of meeting minutes and attendance lists.  Different people kept the minutes each month during those first few years, and it was so interesting to see what kind of issues they discussed, from garden parties to  World War II.  It was a real glimpse into the minds and lives of these women who founded Planned Parenthood of San Antonio back in the late 30’s and 40’s

Board Meeting Minutes - Planned Parenthood

Board Meeting Minutes. Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Central Texas Records (Box 2, Folder 14)

 

 

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