Tomorrow is my last day at The OSU Archives, and I know that I’ve saved the best for last – or rather, the way in which Sidney Pressey’s papers are arranged, I will finally get to all the correspondence surrounding his attempts in the 1930s to commercialize his teaching machines.
I think that’s the angle I want to go with for my chapter on him. But as I read around that episode, there’s so much more to consider.
I just want to jot down some of the thoughts from the day, as I read through Boxes 2, 3, and 4 of his papers:
The bulk of communications between scholars in the mid- to late- 1900s involved sending one another reprints of journal articles. I’d like to think that library collections – and digital copies have ameliorated some of this. But I wonder how much of scholarly communication to this day is also “here is a PDF of what I wrote”
What records are there now of scholars sharing their PDFs with one another – giving personal feedback (not just published feedback)?
Who does Pressey have “beef” with (and why)? I don’t just mean academic or philosophical differences – I mean beef.
What struck me reading through Pressey’s correspondence today – correspondence from the late 1960s and very much addressing “the state of higher education” – was how very little was said about student protests. And it made me think about how decontextualized so much of this research and scholarship was – not just in the 1960s, but throughout.
It is quite sad to see someone age through their papers and production, but Pressey was active until very very late in life. May we all be as fortunate.
Where are Norman Crowder’s papers? Why has no one written about his work?!