Notice of Online Archive

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The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has awarded Lafayette a $15,600 grant to archive the papers of Jeanette F. Reibman and James L. Martin.

The grant will help finance the archival processing of these papers, allowing students, scholars, and the general public easy access to key state and local government documents. A comprehensive guide to the collection will be prepared and posted on the library's web site at the conclusion of the project.

“These two outstanding collections offer valuable insight into state and federal government that will prove invaluable to the historical scholar seeking primary sources in the various fields of interest that these collections touch,” says State Representative Robert Freeman.

The Reibman and Martin Papers are housed in Lafayette's Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government. Processing the collections will help the center uphold its mission to promote scholarly research on state and local government, provide educational opportunities for Lafayette students, and engage in outreach to state and local governments.

Diane Windham Shaw, special collections librarian and college archivist, will oversee the undertaking as project director. Shaw has more than 25 years of experience as an archivist and received the Finding Aid Award from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference. Shaw says a number of students will gain valuable experience by serving as project assistants.

“I would like to direct our students to these papers, particularly those of Jeanette Reibman because she is a role model for young women and for state and local government service. Given the focus of today's media, students are dazzled by Washington, D.C. Most fail to realize that opportunities for state-local government service are more plentiful and that such service is often more rewarding,” says Shaw.

Reibman's political career began in 1954 with her election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where she served for ten years. A long-time proponent of public education and environmental issues, she chaired the Education and Township Committees. A member of the Senate from 1967 to 1994, Reibman instituted sweeping reform. She served as chair of the Senate Education Committee for 22 years and is credited with the development of area vocational-technical schools, the creation of the community college system, and the provision of special education to gifted or exceptional children. She was also instrumental in the passage of legislation that created the State System of Higher Education and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which provides financial aid to students attending colleges and nursing and trade schools throughout the state.

As vice chair of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, Reibman took an active role in promoting economic development in Pennsylvania and helped to establish the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority. She was instrumental in successful passage of the State Equal Rights Amendment and the creation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the Bureau of Consumer Protection. Reibman was also the first woman to serve on Lafayette's Board of Trustees. Her collection includes her campaign files, speech files, and audio and videotapes of her public appearances.

The Martin Papers document the key role James Martin played as the lead lobbyist for the National Governors' Association, an organization devoted to providing the nation's governors with representation on Capitol Hill and in the White House, as well as support in policy areas affecting the states. Martin focused a significant part of his lobbying efforts on the relationship between the federal government and the states, particularly as it pertained to federalism and intergovernmental relations. As such, he worked with more than 500 senators, eight presidents, and many members of Congress. Martin's collection illustrates a myriad of issues related to the federalism movement, such as mandates, revenue sharing, budget appropriations, taxation, infrastructure development, transportation and education expenditures, and welfare reform. Additional materials relate to Medicaid, environmental protection, lobbying reform, and the relationship between state and local governments.

Elaine McCluskey Stomber will serve as project archivist for the Reibman Papers. She was project archivist for the Howard Chandler Christy Papers at Lafayette, a project that concluded this spring. Stomber also has extensive processing experience from her work at the American Philosophical Society and Cloisters Museum.

Kristen D. Turner, assistant college archivist and records manager, will process the Martin Papers. She has processed manuscripts at the United Methodist Archives and at Princeton University, where her work included U.S. Senator Bill Bradley's papers, making her particularly well suited to work with the Martin Papers since they cover much of the same time period and issues.

The Lafayette Special Collections and College Archives are home to approximately 17,000 rare books and nearly 1,500 cubic feet of manuscripts and archives. The holdings include manuscripts, rare book collections on Stephen Crane, angling, miniature books, and artists' books; papers of former Treasury Secretary William E. Simon and New Jersey Governor Robert B. Meyner and Congresswoman Helen Meyner; and early records of the Easton-based Dixie Cup Company.

The department serves as the archives for Lafayette College records, more than 50,000 college-related photographs, and other college historical materials, and it is charged with records management responsibilities for current college records. The department maintains an active outreach program, providing research assistantships, internships, and classroom instruction sessions for Lafayette students, preparing two major and several smaller exhibits annually, and offering an array of public programs with support from Friends of Skillman Library.

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