Clayton College & State University establishes archives

By Greg Gelpi

Not to be outdone by the newly constructed state and federal archives in its front yard, Clayton College & State University is establishing its own archives.

Building the office from the ground up, the university's new archivist Rosemary Fischer has an office in the campus library with a "three-foot silver pill."

The "pill," as she called it, is actually a time capsule that was buried 10 years ago that will be opened at some undetermined time later and is among many artifacts and items Fischer is thumbing through and collecting as she establishes the office.

"Each archives sort of specializes in different things," Fischer said, explaining that the Clayton State archives "focuses truly on Clayton (State) and the people who made Clayton (State) possible."

Celebrating its 35th anniversary this school year, Clayton State has grown through the years, building on the grounds of a former dairy farm and evolving into a thriving four-year university that is approaching 6,000 students.

"I have set a goal to establish a working archives for Clayton State and do it soon," Fischer said, explaining that the archives will include artifacts from the university's history and document its foundation and growth through the years.

The goal is to have the archives open for research by the end of the year, she said. In addition, she is working to establish an internship program and an online catalog of items for the archives.

The archives already have student artwork, different seals from the university's years and scrapbooks dating back to Clayton State's founding, Fischer said.

The university is also working on establishing a history major with an emphasis on archiving, she said.

Archiving isn't just a job for Fischer, but part of her hobbies and one of her interests.

"I've had a long-standing interest in history even as a child," the native of Virginia said.

Growing up amidst many of the historic sites of the nation's founding and historic events, Fischer said that her surroundings only served to foster her passion for history.

"I got to library science school and learned that I was an archivist more than a librarian," Fischer said. "I think I was born an archivist and just didn't realize it."

Fischer also participates in living history re-enactments, researching and playing the part of someone from the 17th century.