I have come to realize that feeling pride in a parent can be as strong as feeling pride in a child. The expression on this young man’s face as he listens to my mother talk about her process in creating the Palama Settlement Archives says a great deal.
Yesterday, the American Society of Archivists, student society, from U.H.-Manoa, met with my mother Jacky Rath, in the Palama Settlement Archives. She spent more than 15 years painstakingly filing and cataloging hundreds of thousands of documents and thousands upon thousands of photos to create an archive seemingly unrivalled among Honolulu’s nonprofit organizations.
The Student Archivist’s organization leader, Tamara Martinez, who also works at Mayor Wright Housing, had visited the Palama Archives and thought it would make a good field trip for the MA students. It was so wonderful to see these student treat Mother like a rock star. They were fascinated by her every word and anxious to learn all they could from her.
After a morning spent together, two of the students volunteered to be the Archive docents during Malama Palama: Festival of 100 Voices on November 20, one is going to try to set up an internship in the Palama Archives and a third is interested in getting a grant to have the Archive materials digitized. Digitization is critical. Imagine if there were to be a fire at the Settlement; all that history would be lost. Mother – and all the history she collected – clearly impressed them!
Isn’t it inspiring that a 90-year-old women, who is still sharp as a tack, can inspire a whole new generation to revere the history of a Honolulu social organization? BRAVO!
NOTE: The historical display they are sitting in front of in the top photo was one of my projects during the 1996 Centennial of Palama Settlemment’s founding. I wrote the copy and Mark Hastert had the museum display designed and built. It is a great way to get a capsule history of 100 years of Settlement history. You can visit it in the Archives any time during regular working hours.
– Paula Rath