Dr. Doug R. Dechow


Dr. Jana Remy

Dr. Jana Remy, Associate Director of Digital Scholarship at Chapman University, began the Making History” podcast ten years ago when she realized her passion for the craft of history-making. Specifically the archival process of historians. Now, partnering with the Center for American War Letters Archive (CAWL), Jana and our very own Digital Humanities and Science Librarian, Dr. Doug Dechow, has created a new podcast titled “Voices From the Archive: Letters During War.” Recorded via Facebook live, audiences can join our researchers as they explore and share CAWL Archive materials. Jana has two primary motivations for launching this Facebook Live programming:

The first of which is to foster the kinds of discussions that I had in my podcasts–to have scholars engaging with primary source materials and to talk about how they will use those materials to support their research questions. The second motivation is to explore the wealth of holdings of the CAWL Archive and to share with the public the rich source of materials that are available there.

During their scholarly “vlog,” Jana and Doug have great banter between each other as they discuss the archiving process of scholars and digest and analyze their own material–all within half an hour! As they read through the letters of Willie and Florence, in their most recent episodes, they breathe life and modernity in letters from seventy-two year old correspondence. In their latest episode, the pair touch on the global progress of archival technology, debate the scholar’s favorability towards typewritten letters versus the flow or written hand, and respond to a comment of “being too personal” as researchers towards these letters.

The Leatherby Libraries as well as CAWL hope their new academic venture is as successful as “Making History.” Even more so, since the treasures of CAWL have the possibility to translate past scholarly audiences. On her blog Jana writes:

Nearly everyone has a family member whose life has been touched by war and the memory of that experience shapes their identity and worldview in a myriad of ways. Also, there is an element of innate human curiosity that stems from peering inside the personal correspondence of people who lived not so long ago.  How much are they like us?  How are they different? And what was it like for them to live through such an important moment in history?

Follow the Facebook page for “Voices from the Archive: Letters During War,” where you can access the Facebook Live broadcasts as well as view other media Jana and Doug will add to their CAWL Archive research. Check out the Twitter feed where they regularly share small excerpts from the Archive.