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Kate Cruikshank, Political Papers Specialist at the Lilly Library

Since June 2003, SLIS alumna Kate Cruikshank (MLS 2002), Political Papers Specialist at the Lilly Library, has worked on the arrangement, description and preservation of the Lilly Library's Lee H. Hamilton Papers Collection, which came to the IU Libraries upon his retirement from Congress in January 1999. For the collection, she created two major exhibitions for the Lilly Library, an extensive collection guide, and a digital library of more than 600 photographs (to be available in 2007).

"Lee Hamilton's papers have special research potential for helping us understand what it means to really represent the people," said Cruikshank in a recent email. "He was, after all, a Democrat, re-elected sixteen times from a conservative district, and he seems to be generally regarded as the model of what a congressman should be. The collection documents well how he built relationships with his constituents and remained in communication with them. In that sense it offers important insights into how representative democracy is actually supposed to work."

The first exhibition about the collection was entitled "Making Democracy Work." It accompanied Hamilton's visit to the IU campus to give the Paul McNutt lecture, sponsored by the History Department. It was installed in the eleven wall cases of the Lilly Library Lounge during April and May 2005 and was designed to illustrate the many roles a congressman must play and Hamilton's career-long commitment to making Congress work as the country's founders intended.

The second exhibition — "A Legacy of Honor" — was created as part of the official IUB Libraries celebration of the opening of his papers. As described in the brochure, the exhibition laid "out the major dimensions of Lee Hamilton's congressional career and provides a glimpse into the contents of his congressional papers." It was installed in the Lilly Library Main Gallery from January 17-April 1, 2006. The exhibition has an accompanying book.

Kate is currently working on the Birch Bayh Senatorial Papers (1962-1980), the official exhibition opening of which we will celebrate in spring 2007.

Posted April 11, 2006