Archival Kismet 1.0

The first meeting of Archival Kismet was held in April 2021. Check out the original program to get a taste of what Kismet is all about!


11:00 am CDT

Welcome and Opening Comments

“Archival Kismet: A Research Philosophy,” Courtney E. Thompson

11:30 am – 1:00 pm CDT

Letters I: What Letters Reveal

Moderator: Melissa Johnson

“Caught Between Two Queens: The Epistle of Poor Pratte,” Valerie Schutte

“Finding Ferguson: Sam Clemens, Jane Sedgwick, and a Healthy Dose of Serendipity,” Erin Bartram

“‘The Truth of a Lonely Life’: Reconstructing the Life of a Doctor’s Wife Thanks to an Archival Confession,” Kelly O’Donnell

1:30 – 3:00 pm CDT

Eating the Archive

Moderator: Alyssa Sepinwall

“‘Dehydrated Whale Meat:’ Or, Three Words that Mean You Should Request That File,” Andrew Muldoon

“Making Marmalade: The Housewife and Technology in Britain, c. 1870-1950,” Katie Carpenter

“Jews in Cincinnati’s Hot Tomale [sic] Trust,” Jonathan Z. S. Pollack

3:30 – 5:15 pm CDT

Images, Moving and Otherwise

Moderator: Matt Lavine

“A Beacon for the Dark Islands: How Lantern Slides Captured the Attention of Audiences from the Nineteenth to Twenty-First Centuries,” Deborah Lee-Talbot

“Trouble with Rosie Is, She’s Gone and Got Ideas Above Her Station,” Christine Slobogin

“Sublime Romanticism, Religion, and Saurians: The Two Versions of John Martin’s “The Country of the Iguanodon,” Ariel Segal

“Constructing Kajiwara Kinpachi: Collective Filmmaking and the Question of Authorship and Purpose in 1930s Japan,” Iris Haukamp


9:00 – 11:00 am CDT

Interpreting Images, Representing Artists

Moderator: Donna J. Drucker

“New Paths to Beauty: Art and Alicia Keyes,” Jessie Hopper

“In Active Demise—The Archival Trace of Malcom Ross,” Matt Pummer

“An Orderly Desire: The Tuskegee Institute Scrapbooks of Minnie Lee Lyons,” Haley Aaron

“Photographing the Racial Divide: Social Implications of the Historical Images of Dr. Anna Maria Gove,” Kathelene McCarty Smith

“‘Only’ in Photos: Hidden History of Women Workers in a Paper Factory Museum Archive in Turkey,” Meral Akbaş and Özge Kelekçi

11:30 am – 1:00 pm CDT

Objects I: Odd Objects and Unusual Users

Moderator: Nicole Welk-Joerger

“Sign and Countersign: An Artifact of a Clandestine Meeting,” Mark Stout

“Hairy Archives: Money, Moustaches and Masters of Disguise,” Andrew Janes

“The Materiality of Standards,” Elizabeth Neswald

1:30 – 3:00 pm CDT

Music’s Meanings

Moderator: Cornelia Lambert

“Remembering the Haitian Revolution in US Hip-Hop: KRS-One, Talib Kweli, Melky Jean,” Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall

“‘You’ll Be Living Rent Free’: Disney’s Villainous Marriage Proposal in “Babes in Toyland” (1961),” G. Vaughn Joy

“Immortal Spells and Ineffable Messages: Edward Prime-Stevenson’s Queer Musicological Marginalia,” Kristin M. Franseen

3:30 – 5:15 pm CDT

Letters II: How Letters Feel

 Moderator: DeeDee Baldwin

“A Peasant’s Conscience in Letters: Andreas Walch, The Reformation, and Happy Chance,” Dan Gladis

“‘I like you the Best girl’: Friendship in an Institution for the Feebleminded, 1910,” Chelsea Chamberlain

“Dear Father Christmas, My Father is a Disabled Soldier: Children’s Letters in Interwar Britain,” Thomas Stephens

“The Most Horrifying History of Medicine Letter I Have Ever Read,” Jennifer McGillan


9:00 – 10:30 am CDT

Recovering Sex and Sexuality

Moderator: Bridget Keown

“Bastards & Bigamy in Baroque Convents,” Meghan Callahan

“‘Gruesome press terminology’: The Thorpe Affair in the British Gay Press,” Ruby Hann

“Astrology, Sexology, and the Object Legacy of Magnus Hirschfeld,” Rachel Pitkin

11:00 am – 12:30 pm CDT

Making Books One’s Own

Moderator: Agnieszka Czeblakow

“Examples of Collective Ownership of Books in 18th Century Colonial Mexican Convents,” Jose Guerrero

“Marginalia in the Cookbook’s Endpapers,” Rhiannon Scharnhorst

“Poetry Book Turned Scrapbook: An Early Twentieth-Century Reader’s Copy of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Candle Lightin’ Time,” Jolie Braun

1:00 – 2:30 pm CDT


Moderator: Kelsey Hoekstra

“Typical Activities: Craft in the American Space Program,” Anna Reser

“Injured Veterans, Minors, and Mothers: How Stagehands Shaped Opera and Ballet Repertoire at the Bolshoi Theater (1944),” Lee Gurdial Kaur Singh

“‘Diana Designs’: Interior Accommodations Engineers at Trans-Canada Airlines,” Blair Stein

3:00 – 4:45 pm CD

Access and Absence

Moderator: Martha Attridge Bufton

“Make Sure Your Personal Website Is Updated: Or, How A Rare Books Dealer Found Me on the Internet; Or, How I Accessed a Privately-Owned Revolutionary War-era Encyclopedia Britannica Set for My Dissertation,” Alexi Garrett

“The Real Cancel Culture: Restricted Access in the Archives,” Kacie Lucchini Butcher

“The ‘Forgotten’ Black Book of the Waldorf-Astoria,” April White

 “Women’s Magazines and the First Modern Pandemic,” Agnes Hooper Gottlieb


9:00 – 10:30 am CDT

Making Self, Questioning Identity

Moderator: Caroline Ritter

“Identity (card) of an African Prince,” Larissa Kopytoff

“Writing Tamil, Speaking French: Transliterated Communication in Colonial French India,” Jakob Burnham

“Mediated Diagnoses, or; Is There Dyslexia If There Is No Reading?,” Sharrona Pearl

11:00 am – 12:30 pm CDT

Recovering Childhood Things

Moderator: Monica L. Mercado

“Hooray for Freddie!: Finding Meaning in a Children’s Book,” Jaipreet Virdi

“Black Boy’s Experience,” Pahtrice Henry

“Lost Children in the Archive: The Ethical Dilemmas of Working with Psychiatric Patient Records,” Kylie M. Smith

1:00 – 2:30 pm CDT

Objects II: Wearable Objects

Moderator: Hannah Zeavin

“Wrapping the World around Your Finger,” Kathleen Crowther

“Disabled Dogs and Their Devices: Animal Prosthetics in the 19th and 20th Century,” Aparna Nair

“The Panther and the Bulldog: May Day 1970 in New Haven,” Laura A. Macaluso

3:00 – 4:45 pm CDT

Law & Order, in and out of the Archives

Moderator: Kylie Smith

“‘Dissecting’ Nineteenth-century Newspapers: What Can We Learn About Discipline and Punishment from Press Accounts of Executions?,” Lindy Marks

“The ‘Album des causes célèbres’: Dr. Wilfrid Derome’s Scrapbook of Murder,” Jamie Jelinski

“Abortion on Trial: The State v. Goodson, St. Joseph, Missouri,” Evan Elizabeth Hart

“This Is (Not) A Paper Bag,” Snowden Becker

5:00 pm CDT

Closing Remarks