Friday, June 4, 2021

Lee Pierce, Our Favorite Archivist

Lee Pierce is our best-known and favorite archivist and he will bring us up to date on the status of the Washington Digital Archives at our June 5th meeting. (A ZOOM meeting; click to our website for ZOOM directions.) 

I met with Lee in May (to donate a book and to have lunch at the Mason Jar in downtown Cheney) and we had a good visit. Lee is an ex-Marine, married with grown children and two granddaughters. He said he "loves being a paper archivist for Eastern Washington!"

I asked "how full is the physical archives?" He answered that they have 33,000 feet available and 29,000 are already filled. I asked about saving electronic records and particularly government emails. His answer: "This presents us with a problem that we don't yet have a good solution for..." I'm sure the powers to be are working on this.

I asked "when will the archives be open to in-person research?" Soon, hopefully, he promised. He smiled at me when he said "We've encouraged folks over 65 to participate in the SCRIBE indexing program." :-)  

Lee did explain that they do have a humungous project just waiting for volunteers to come help get it scanned and indexed. "We have 4300 binders or volumes of Property Record Cards, some 3 1/2 to 4 million cards. These were created and kept to justify property taxes and date from the 1840s to early 2000s. We hope to get students soon to come help with this.... images can be scanned and indexed in one fell swoop."

As we finished our sandwiches, Lee gave me this pearl:  "An archives is where truth resides." He says he considers himself an acolyte in the temple of truth.


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