Hello again, and welcome to part 3 and the final entry of this blog series, “The Weiller & Williams Co. Ltd. fonds”!
In a nutshell, a fonds can be described as a group of documents that were naturally brought together through a series of activities of a particular person/organization. In the case of the Weiller & Williams Co. Ltd. fonds, the fonds is a group of records that covers various aspects of the company’s business. Lee Williams is directly and heavily linked to the company as the principal of Weiller & Williams Co. Ltd. for over 3 decades.
It took me a bit over a year to process and prepare every single document in the Weiller & Williams Co. Ltd. fonds, but it was well worth the time. There is something truly incredible about working in an archive or museum, let alone an archive within a museum.
You practically relive parts of someone’s life through the traces that have been left behind. Take for instance, a typewritten letter. The contents of that letter came from the mind of a once living, breathing person, it may have been typed by another, it would have been passed through the hands of a postal worker, and would have eventually been held and read by its intended recipient. When you hold that letter in your hand, you are holding the experiences of all of the individuals who interacted with that letter. This is how much I got to work with…
These 32 Hollinger boxes and 1 book box contain the Weiller & Williams Co. Ltd. fonds minus the oversized items like maps, photographs, and LP’s that require special storage. The piece of masking tape placed on the floor in front of the line of boxes on the left is 1 meter.
The tricky work of an archivist is to organize records in such a way that they can be searched through and made sense of, but trying to leave as much of it as it was found so that the story being told isn’t altered. In the case of these fonds, that meant, sorting through the bankers boxes full of paper and other documents, and organizing them into 6 series (Financial, Business correspondence, Board administration, Property, Horse breeding and racing, Williams and Riudavets family papers) and 3 subseries (Leland Williams papers, Marion Williams papers, Jack Williams papers). Throughout the process, measures were also taken to best preserve the physical records, including rehousing documents in acid-free file folders, and removing MANY staples and replacing them with Plastiklips (non-toxic, archival-safe paper clips).
Me with the Weiller & Williams Co. Ltd. fonds!
I have honestly enjoyed every day spent working at the Musée Héritage Museum. It didn’t feel like a job. It felt like the amazing combination of re-living moments in history, and being a part of a beautiful, extended family.
It is my hope that you will take the time to enjoy this amazing institution and its exhibitions and events at least as much as everyone here does in putting it all together for you!
Weiller & Williams Co. Ltd. Project Archivist
Please come see the new exhibition on Weiller & Williams Co. Ltd that will be at the Musée Héritage Museum from Sept 20 – Nov. 13, 2016!