More Mystery Dates (and People)

Member of the Reed family? Unidentified photograph from Reed Family Papers (UAF-1968-21-CO), Alaska & Polar Regions, Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Could this be a photograph of  Ida McKenny Reed?  She was a member of a pioneer family from Thurston County, Washington who penned a short piece about the land that became Olympia’s Point Priest Park, as well as some other stories for magazines.

Maybe it’s because SAA is around the corner, but in the spirit of MPLP and “progressive bibliography,” I decided that we should try to do a little less work on (re)cataloging material from the NPam shelves, while still getting some work done.  A quick pass through that section in search of titles that would provide some good practice in assigning LC classification yielded some curious finds.  Among the most intriguing was a pamphlet entitled, Damask Roses: A Tale of Point Priest Park and the Legend of Ellis Cove by a certain “Ida McK. Reed.”  Although there was already a record in OCLC suitable for copy cataloging purposes, it gave a publication date of 19–?.   I came tantalizingly close to nailing down a more definite date of publication, but decided to leave the rest of the fun to future catalogers.

A quick online search turned up the Constance Reed Haller papers at the Washington State Library, which identified Ida McKenny Reed as the mother of Constance and the wife of Thomas Milburne Reed, Jr. in its catalog record.  Another hit sent me to the Alaska Digital Archives, which contained a link to a collection level record for the Reed family papers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, along with a number of digitized photographs.  While the description for the papers gave a brief rundown of Thomas Milburne Reed’s career in Alaska, as well as the activities of other family members, Ida McKenny Reed was somewhat absent.  Did she also  go to Alaska?  And was she in any of these photographs?

I chose this picture as a possible Ida because the woman is smiling, but there are a few other images of another (different) older woman who also may be a likely candidate.

Oh, and in another bit of scariness, I discovered that UAF also holds the Don Draper papers.  But it’s definitely another Don Draper.


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I joined The Shubert Archive as Processing Archivist in 2015, having worked previously at numerous archives and special collections, including the University of Washington, New York Public Library, King County Archives, and New York University. I earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hunter College, City University of New York and an M.L.I.S. from the Palmer School of Library & Information Science, Long Island University. I have been a Certified Archivist since 2005. Throughout my career, I have been active professionally and held several leadership roles. Among my favorites are: Dance Librarians Discussion Group convener and editor of the newsletter of the Performing Arts Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists. I also was involved with the American Theatre Archive Project, a national grassroots initiative dedicated to assisting active performing arts companies with the preservation of their legacy. In addition, I have significant experience as a freelance archival consultant.

2 thoughts on “More Mystery Dates (and People)”

  1. Yes, this is Ida McKenny. Her son, Irving McKenny Reed, my grandfather, included this photo on p. 23 of his book “Boyhood in the Nome Gold Camp”.

    1. Thank you for the confirmation, Leah. I’ll have a look at our copy of the book when Special Collections is open next week.

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