Daschle collection takes shape as Briggs Library adds display areas

Katie Jones

Katie Jones

The eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks has come and gone, but SDSU’s Daschle collection possesses memorabilia that will help its students remember that fateful day.

In December 2004, Tom Daschle, a former U.S. senator and 1969 SDSU graduate, gave his congressional career collection to SDSU for political research.

Many of the documents contained in the Daschle Collection include items such as e-mails, papers, videos, photographs, and assorted artifacts. One such “artifact” currently tucked away in the library is the flag that flew over the White House the day of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The Daschle collection contains around 17,000 e-mails, 30,000 papers, several hundred hours of video clips and items collected throughout Tom Daschle’s political career,” said Steve Van Buren, university archivist and head of special collections at the library.

After receiving the semi truckload of boxes containing the Daschle collection in January 2005, the Hilton M. Briggs Library staff began indexing its content.

Each document in the collection is sorted, revealing information such as social security numbers, is taken out and search terms are identified. The information can be accessed by the public, but the collection is not completely catalogued.

Bob Burns, retired SDSU political science professor and former dean of the Honors College, is a part-time coordinator for the Daschle Center project. Burns is part of the initiative to create the Daschle Center and incorporate it with the Daschle Collection.

“The Daschle Center will be a place for scholars, students and citizens to access Tom Daschle’s political collection,” Burns said.

Another “artifact” comes from the 2001 anthrax attacks after Daschle’s office received a letter containing the deadly substance. Several items were sterilized to kill the anthrax spores and preserved in a shadow box in remembrance of the hazardous day.

The Daschle Collection can be a great research advantage on many levels, said Van Buren.

“The documents contained in the collection, produced by Daschle’s office, demonstrate a political process and provide examples to aid in instruction,” Van Buren said. In his view, the Daschle Center will provide an opportunity for a Faculty Fellowship program supported by the Center’s collection.

In addition, Briggs Library will soon undergo construction for a reading room for the Daschle Center.

The reading room will open in time for the spring semester, said Dean Kattelmann, assistant vice president of facilities and services.

The documents are housed in several areas on campus. But with the future addition of a reading room on the third floor of Briggs Library, the public will be able to access the Daschle Collection.

The future for the Daschle Center and Collection is broad, said Van Buren.

“There has been a demand for the items within the Daschle Collection the minute the stuff hit the door,” he said. “Universities and news organizations want to utilize and visit the center and see what it has to offer.”

And with more items being indexed each day, the Daschle Collection will continually help students, scholars and citizens alike understand the United States’ political process and remember monumental events in this country’s history.

Research Opportunities

The College of Arts and Sciences is offering faculty the opportunity to conduct research involving the investigation of a selected topic area of Tom Daschle’s Congressional Paper Collection.

The proposals are open to any research related to the congressional papers.

Up to four proposals will be accepted with a selection goal of one each from history, political science, journalism and one department at-large.

Applicants should consult their department heads regarding release time and the impact on departmental Spring 2010 scheduling.

Questions can be directed to Jerry Jorgenson at [email protected].

#1.881516:2104823253.jpg:Daschle.1.jpg:Ashley VanMaanen, senior math major from Volga, SD, works at the Hilton M Briggs Library indexing video footage from the Tom Daschle collection:Katie Jones