Well, here comes the knitty gritty of what I have found so far– letters of correspondence between the Bray Associates and their American counterparts working with the Williamsburg Bray Schools. If anything, these letters may reveal the most to me about the day-to-day workings of the Williamsburg Bray School.
As promised, I’m posting now about what I discovered in the Bray Papers, housed at Swem’s Special Collections. There is quite a bit to learn from the papers actually, and now that I have all the basics gathered and transcribed, I am looking forward to interpreting them and seeing what new and unique conclusions I can draw!
It seems so strange that I am already so deep into my research on the Bray School. I feel like I have been neglecting this blog, but time has truly been flying! To make up for it, I’m going to do a little 3-part series of blog posts: first, how I set myself up to hunker down in Special Collections at Swem, then a few of the things I found while doing primary source research, and finally an overview of some of the secondary sources I’ve been looking at. Today, I start looking through the microfilms of the Virginia Gazette, and it is my firm goal to write a post the instant I’ve finished them!
I have changed the organization of my paper countless times. Well, no. Actually 8 times. It still isn’t exactly right. The problem with organizing the paper arises from all the different yet related topics that I explore in the paper. Originally I had wanted to write about the experiences of the first African American students who had enrolled at the College of William and Mary. However, their experiences were influenced by the College’s policies as well as the openness of the student body and faculty to integration. I have found a lot of information on these topics and I included them in my paper. It is just difficult to make the paper sound like one seamless work rather than a series of different papers mashed together. I don’t know if I need to just continue to work on the organization or if I should narrow the focus of my paper. I have submitted the paper to my faculty adviser for suggestions and I will continue to edit it.
I have finally been to Special Collections. It was extremely helpful. When searching through newspaper archives I could not find records on some individuals. Fortunately, I found detailed records of them in the library. However what often occurs when uncovering information is that one discovers that there is still much one does not know. For every answer found ten more questions arise. However by continuing my search I have found answers to the new questions. All it takes is diligence and determination.