Why do I want to be an archivist (week 4 of my internship)

I am writing this on the heels of a rather hectic week. This past week, on top of my internship I started a second part time job for several reasons. This second job is at a moving company, which is understandably physically demanding. Needless to day, it took more time away from me than I thought it would, which is why this is coming late. However, I did have something about last week planned, which is connected with why I became an archivist.

As a child I always loved solving puzzles and have felt that I was fairly observant. When I was younger, one of my outlets for this was a book series called The 39 Clues. I won’t go into detail about that series, other than that it included several different puzzles that readers could solve and answer online for different accomplishments. I would spend hours solving those puzzles, and it helped foster a desire to really dig into a project and research something to find an answer.

As I grew personally and went to college I really loved the research side of my studies. Double majoring in history and biblical studies I had several opportunities to resaerch and dig into several different topic in my four years as an undergrad.

I knew I wanted to channel this passion for research into a career and going to library school to become an archivist is how I decided to do that. This led me to volunteering at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, which was an amazing experience and really motivated me to apply and go to Indiana University and pursue a degree in library science.

This past week in my internship I really got to channel part of that desire to research with my work. Last post I referenced that I was processing a collection of materials from Marine Augustus Lewis. I finished the first major part of that and am waiting for it to be reviewed, but I wanted to share what my finished to help show part of my work as an archivist.

In the document I sent my supervisor I included the scope of the collection, which is a brief description of all the physical materials in the collection. A brief biographical sketch of his life, and an even briefer chronology of his life. I will include all of that next.


This collection consists of various materials such as diaries, photographs, albums, and genealogical information concerning the lives of Augustus T. Lewis and his family, with a focus on his service on the USS Colorado. Materials in this collection date from 1905-1991, but the bulk is concentrated in 1905-1920. Most of diaries focus on the day to day activities of a marine on board the USS Colorado. This is the same for the photographs and albums, however there is more information about Lewis’s personal life. Several of these photographs are likely mass produced and souvenirs from his tour, but they still reflect an interesting view of the era. During his service the USS Colorado traveled through China, the Philippines, and other places in the pacific. There was also a short stent in france in the late 1910s. All of that is reflected in this collection.

Biographical notes

Augustus (Gus) T. Lewis was born on June 17, 1884 in Detroit, Michigan. He enlisted with the Marines in 1905. He served with the Marine detachment on the USS Colorado from 1907-1909. He spent nearly 5 years with serving with the United States Navy. During World War I he served with the 5th Marine Regiment in France, which is where he met his wife. He continued service with the Marines in various capacities including a period in the 1930s where Lewis served as a Commanding Officer for several Civilian Conservation Corps camps on the East Coast. In 1938 Lewis retired from the Marines, but that did not last long for he was again called to duty during World War II where he served on Parris Island, South Carolina where he stayed until after the end of the war in 1945. Lewis finally retired in July of 1945 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He died on September 23, 1977 and was buried in Arlington.


1884: Born in Detroit, Michigan

1905: Enlisted in Marine Corps

1907-1909: Served on USS Colorado

1918: Met and married his wife Blanche while serving in France during World War I

1930s: Served as Commanding Officer for the Civilian Conservation Corps

1945: Final Retirement from the Marine Corps after serving at Parris Island during World War II

1977: Died in San Diego, California

So, I know this is a bit more information than normal, but I love thinking about what influenced me to be in the position I am not, and talking about this interesting work. I hope it is equally enjoyable to read about. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about this my work or choice of career.

Published by mddarlin

Just a Library School student from Indiana University, Bloomington trying to become a professional archivist.

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  1. I was wondering about the dates if the collection. If some artifacts ate from the 1990’s and he died in 1977, then who is responsible for the more modern pieces being added?

    1. One of his grandchildren wrote a family genealogy, which is dated in the early 1990s. It was donated with the rest of Lewis’s things. So, when the collection was originally obtained that was kept with everything else because it creates a fuller picture of who he was.

  2. I think what you posted was very logical. However, think about this, what if you were to write
    a killer headline? I am not suggesting your information isn’t
    good., but what if you added a post title to maybe grab people’s attention? I mean Why be an archivist |
    Internship with the USMC Archives is kinda vanilla.

    You could peek at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create post titles to grab people
    to click. You might add a related video or a related pic or two to
    grab readers interested about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it might
    bring your website a little bit more interesting.

  3. Gus Lewis is my grandfather. My mother Dorothy was the youngest of his five children. When Gus’ wife Blanche, my grandmother, died, all the photographs and other items you mention went to the oldest daughter France, and when she died, the items went to where you worked with them. I am very grateful that that is where they ended up–I thought they would be lost inside our family forever. As an aside, all five children either served in the US military or married career officers. Some of their children also served as well, though only one (me) made the military a career. A.T. Lewis begat a kind of military dynasty. Thank you for such an interesting, caring treatment of this fascinating life.

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