Better Learning through Internships: AHC Intern Andrew Worth and Active Learning in the Archives

Howdy! My name is Andrew Worth. I am an undergraduate student studying history at the University of Wyoming. As a UW student, I had the opportunity to become an intern at the American Heritage Center and I knew that it would be a great chance for me to get some real world experience.

As an intern at the American Heritage Center I was able to spend time in the processing department, among others. The processing department has an archival function that is the often necessary link between the acquisition of new collections and our making those collections effectively accessible to researchers.  Many newly acquired collections arrive at the American Heritage Center with little or no discernible order to the material-sometimes hundreds of boxes of such disorganized material. Arrangement and description results in published catalog records and inventories about collections that are intended to make the collections usable to researchers.

While in the processing department I had the chance to work with four different collections. Over the course of four weeks I processed the Ernest Laszlo papers, the Benjamin F. Davis collection, the John E. Leet collection and the Charles G. Roundy papers. These historical characters all have a different story and it is pretty fun to learn who they were and what they did with the life they were given.

A young Ernest Laszlo.  Ernest Laszlo papers, Box 6, Folder "Miscellaneous Photographs," #8660. UW American Heritage Center.

A young Ernest Laszlo. Ernest Laszlo papers, #866o, Box 6, Folder “Miscellaneous Photographs”. UW American Heritage Center.

Ernest Laszlo was a Hollywood cinematographer from the 1930s through the 1970s. A native of Budapest, Hungary, Laszlo went to work in the American movie industry in 1926 and was the cinematographer for numerous popular movies between the 1920s and 1970s, including Stalag 17 (1953), Inherit the Wind (1960), Ship of Fools (1965), and Airport (1970)—his collection contains screenplays for all four as well as others. He won an Oscar for Best Cinematography for Ship of Fools in 1966. In addition to his work as a cinematographer, Laszlo was an active member of the American Society of Cinematographers and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Concerning Laszlo and his work, this collection also holds a few other miscellaneous screenplays, miscellaneous clippings, miscellaneous periodicals, a few miscellaneous books, and a few award plaques and award certificates are in this collection as well.

Kim Novak, Ernest Laszlo, and Richard Johnson at the Oscars.  E

Kim Novak, Ernest Laszlo, and Richard Johnson at the Oscars. Ernest Laszlo papers, #866o, Box 6, Folder “Miscellaneous Photographs”. UW American Heritage Center.

Benjamin F. Davis (1878-1957) was a livestock veterinarian and cattlemen’s association official in the American West during the twentieth century. Born in Fort Scott, Kansas, Davis earned his veterinary degree from Kansas City Veterinarian College in 1907. From 1911 to 1922, he served as Wyoming State Veterinarian. During the 1930s, he served as the assistant to the chief of the U.S. Agricultural Adjustment Administration’s Cattle and Sheep Section in Denver, Colorado. In addition to his work as a veterinarian, he served as executive secretary of the Colorado Stock growers Association from 1923 to 1949. The collection contains Benjamin F. Davis’ personal and business correspondence as well as Davis’ files concerning the Colorado Stock growers Association, which contains correspondence, legal documents, financial documents, notes, and printed materials. The collection also contains Davis’ notebooks and personal subject files, which hold correspondence, clippings, legal documents, financial documents, notes, and printed materials.

Family portrais of the Leet family, John E. Leet papers, #6805, Box 10, Folder "Family Photos and Miscellaneous." UW American Heritage Center.

Family portrais of the Leet family, John E. Leet papers, #6805, Box 10, Folder “Family Photos and Miscellaneous.” UW American Heritage Center.

John E. Leet was a pioneer real estate businessman and journalist in Denver, Colorado. He was from New Orleans and came to Denver in 1879. Leet’s father, Daniel, had founded Leetsdale, Pennsylvania, but had joined his son’s family in Denver and entered into business with John. John was engaged in various investments and real estate ventures in Colorado and surrounding states. He also wrote columns for various newspapers and owned a cattle ranch (Leetsisle Ranch) near Douglas, Wyoming. His businesses were devastated following the Panic of 1893, and did not recover until after the Panic of 1907. John married Modeste Caillier in 1871, and they had three children, Emma Downing, Laura Roller, and Edmund. Edmund and his wife, Dorothy, lived in Wyoming and operated the Leetsisle Ranch. The collection consists of John Leet’s business diaries from 1888-1889, 1891-1897, and 1899-1920. He recorded expenditures and receipts, business and personal memoranda and noted his and his family’s daily activities. He also commented on the local and national economy and politics. The collection also contains personal diaries of John and Modeste Leet from 1917-1965. These diaries contain personal information and information about the weather and daily lives and events of the Leet Family.

Family portrais of the Leet family, John E. Leet papers, #6805, Box 10, Folder "Family Photos and Miscellaneous." UW American Heritage Center.

Family portrais of the Leet family, John E. Leet papers, #6805, Box 10, Folder “Family Photos and Miscellaneous.” UW American Heritage Center.

Charles Gould Roundy had a diverse background in historical research, writing, geography, conservation study and teaching. He worked as a research assistant at the University of Maine and as a research historian at the University of Wyoming. Roundy researched dude ranching in Wyoming, as well as a variety of topics for the Eastern Maine Development District. This collection contains audio cassette tapes and transcripts of oral history interviews conducted by Charles G. Roundy with persons engaged in the dude ranching industry in Wyoming.

I wanted to be an intern at the American Heritage Center because I am interested in Archives and Museums and I hope to work in either of those fields after I graduate. One of the really great things about the American Heritage Center is that student interns have the ability to work hands on with primary source material. You get to touch and feel authentic historical documents and objects. Every different collection brings something new or different to the table and gives students the opportunity to learn something about history. I felt that I had a unique experience during my internship, in that I was able to interact directly with historical materials.  There’s nothing quite like holding tangible pieces of history in your hands!

–Andrew Worth, AHC Intern

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