The Fitchburg State Archive is open!


Sandra Hamilton, Staff Writer

Imagine a place that holds such historical rarities as maps, photographs, and manuscripts that tie in directly to the city of Fitchburg and the University itself. There are papers from our former university presidents, and books published by current professors. Well, such a place exists and you, students and faculty, are welcome! This mysterious place has existed for quite some time and can be found on campus in the Gallucci-Cirio Library located in the depths of the lower level of Hammond Hall past the book shop. 

Asher Jackson, Head of Technical Services & Archives, and Associate Librarian at Fitchburg State is its gatekeeper. Of course, you are more than welcome to test your luck and navigate the halls below, but if you’d like to roll the dice in your favor, send Jackson an email at [email protected] to set up an appointment and he will meet you in the main Library to bring you to the archive directly. 

How exactly has Fitchburg State come to hold these types of artifacts? Well, Jackson plays a very active role in obtaining them. He has a number of tricks up his sleeve including requesting records from that current year, such as meeting minutes or proposals, and even goes as far as offering a home for any unwanted or unneeded materials from retiring staff members. Jackson says, “it involves networking,” explaining that he also relies on other communities or subcommunities, such as the Center for Italian Culture, and through social clubs outside of Fitchburg State, to bring materials in. 

When asked what his favorite item in the archive was, he thought about it for a moment and said that it would have to be the collection of material related to Robert Cormier. Jackson explained that Cormier was a writer in the 70s and 80s in a time was writing was transitioning into realism and away from fairytales, and wrote a story about bullying. In this collection there are letters from parents expressing their concern with the topic, “trying to protect their kids,” but there are also letters from other young adults who were identifying with the story. 

The archive of Fitchburg State is an under-utilized area of campus, says Jackson. Some faculty members don’t even know it exists but it’s appreciated once it’s known, he adds. Whether students are conducting research for a project, getting in touch with the history, or stopping in to say hello, you have all been welcomed!