I’m a junior literature major with a creative writing concentration, and I work as research assistant at the Jane Addams Papers Project. My job mainly consists of editing the biographies in the database.
Each person mentioned in any of the documents or letters gets a biography. All of the finished biographies then get sent to me. I go through and make sure all the information on the person is correct. Sometimes people have missing information like marriage dates, death dates or various personal facts. The most tedious task is finding and fixing citations for photographs and links. It’s a fun puzzle trying to format everything and make it perfect.
However, there are imperfections that I do enjoy. One of my favorite people that I’ve researched was named Western Starr. His name is was struck me as interesting first, but his life was also intriguing. Starr was a lawyer trained at Cornell and Columbia Law School who also worked in a real estate business in Chicago. He later abandoned the law and moved to Maryland to become a farmer. There’s no information on him after 1920s. He’s such a mystery and I love it.
Another person I found to be interesting was Crystal Eastman. As a lover of feminism and history, I was overjoyed to research this suffragette. Eastman was a lawyer, feminist and journalist who was considered a leader in the women’s suffrage movement. She also co-founded and co-edited the radical arts and politics magazine The Liberator.
Besides being a socialist, Eastman was part of the anti-militarist movement. She was so progressive, and it was very empowering to read about Eastman’s life. I truly admire all of the efforts and the work that she did in her time.