Creating Opportunities for Members: It’s a Team Sport

August 11th, 2017
Filed Under: Foundation | History | Sisterhood

In Alpha Delta Pi, we’re lucky to have incredible women who step forward to volunteer their time and professional expertise. In 2012, a longtime Alpha Delta Pi volunteer and sister who retired from General Motors as the Director of Research, Barbara Kinter Kunkel (Delta Kappa – Penn State University, 1968) shared her vision for creating a digital archives for Alpha Delta Pi, where anyone could access our long cherished history as the first secret society for college women. She helped research companies that provided this service, and worked with the Sorority’s Archivist Karen Henzel Reece (Beta Sigma – Mercer University, 1994) to scan and digitize The Adelphean magazine dating back to 1906, and our history books – including Alpha Delta Pi History 1931; Loyally volumes I, II, and III; and More Sisters. When the digital archives was unveiled, it provided a “treasure trove” of unique information about a period of women’s history that is unprecedented – as no other organization or group has access to a college of this historical content, magnitude or depth.

Barb photo from Adelphean Fall 1999

From the Digital Archives – The Adelphean Fall 1999. “Mother and daughter delegates enjoy their special bonds of sisterhood. From left (mothers standing, daughters seated): Frances Poulson Hall and Amy; Barbara Kinter Kunkel and twins Cara and Crista; Susan Ballenberger Hibler and Stephanie and Nan Shell Van Patten with Seay

Hitchcock, Gail

As with any team, you need players who share your vision – and the next team member to join in supporting this new resource was Gail Hitchcock (Gamma Alpha – University of Connecticut, 1951). Gail, too, has a passion for digital technologies and information. As Gail talked with a Foundation staff member about her 35-year career at the Library of Congress, the immediate conclusion was that she must have a love of history. As Gail’s story unfolded, we learned that she was a computer analyst who was instrumental in developing the computerized cataloging system that is still used by the Library of Congress. We introduced Gail to the digital archives and she made a historic gift to create the Gail Hitchcock Endowment for the Digital Archives that will allow our Sorority to continue offering and building this exclusive collection that is available to collegians, alumnae, women’s studies scholars, and the world.

Earlier this year, the Sorority learned that the provider for our digital archives was no longer offering this service and that’s when the third person created our ultimate dream team. Alpha Delta Pi’s Technology Services Manager Thomas Oates started working to create a digital archives that would be hosted internally and integrate into the current Alpha Delta Pi webpage. Thomas has the technology know-how and Barb had the research expertise, working together they’ve created a NEW digital archives that she defines as “FANTASTIC!” Thanks to their team effort, the search feature works better and can search multiple words like people’s names (Eugenia Tucker Fitzgerald) and chapter names (Alpha Psi) by including them in quotation marks. The results display can be sorted by date – newest to oldest. You can choose an article to view, and the display takes you right to the page and highlights your search term. You can also print any page you like (rather than printing the entire Adelphean issue). This is a win-win for our sisterhood and something our Foundation is proud to support. We can continue using Gail’s generous donation to convert more hard-copy archives into electronic form and further expand the digital archives.

This project is a trifecta for how our Alpha Delta Pi Foundation can help take a vision, connect with donors who are passionate, and work with the staff and volunteers who share their expertise to create a resource that benefits our members near and far.

Please click here to access the Digital Archives.

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