Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Auburn is Bad at Documenting Auburn's History

It's never been a secret. Auburn is simply really bad at documenting it's own history. We've seen it proven over and over again, especially with the wonderful work that Jeremy Henderson continues to churn out over at The War Eagle Reader. The annoyance of this lack of self-documentation is what ultimately led me to create the Auburn Uniform Database back in 2013.

Samford Hall in the 1890s, complete with the chimneys that were removed during the renovations of the 1970s
What began as a humble attempt at documenting the crazy past of Auburn men's basketball uniforms has grown into my own area of Auburn history. Yea, I know uniforms isn't all that important in the grand scheme of things, but if I can add anything to the history of Auburn anything, then I've accomplished something. I've enjoyed learning about this topic, and sharing my odd findings, and I hope that many others have enjoyed it as well.

But none of that changes the fact that, yes, Auburn wasn't all that great at documenting the past, but they've almost gotten worse at documenting the present. The yearly student yearbook, The Glomerata, is the perfect example. I have spent many hours on the Auburn Digital Library's archives of nearly every single Glom (stops at around 2003 or so), and have scoured maybe 80 years or so worth of volumes. I recently purchased a few classic Gloms (1934, 1952, 1975 and 1976), and truly enjoyed inspecting each volume. It was great to see just how much campus had changed, and trying to piece together the campus then as best as possible.

The story of Hurricane Eloise was completely lost on me - I had never even heard of this specific storm. But the 1976 Glomerata had a wonderful spread on Eloise's impact to Auburn and the community. In contrast, the 2006 Glom I picked up with the other four was a true let down. The formatting of the pages was completely different and nearly ineffective. Yes, I understand styling changes over the course of 30 years or so, but the latest Gloms fall well short of the previous volumes.
These photos donned the 2015 Glomerata. Only one photo was from the previous season - the top right with Golloway
and Pearl shaking hands. The other four photos are years old. Ryan Tella (4) played his senior season in 2014.
Jordan Ebert (23) was in his freshman season when this photo was taken back in 2013.

I've collected four Gloms during my time here at Auburn, and I'm ever disappointed every time I crack them open. As I said before, I have spent a ton of time viewing the archived volumes, specifically for uniform research. The 2015 Glomerata really frustrated me by posting photos of baseball and softball from YEARS prior. Not the year before, not practice photos, none of that. But game photos - that were already dated and tagged by the various photographers - and placed on the spread as if they were from the specified year! This is completely inexcusable. It bothers me more because I spent a ton of time researching the uniforms worn during a specific athletic season, and these misrepresented Gloms make such research very difficult. Again, I know uniforms are very low on many people's list, but the premise stands. Many of the players depicted on their respective sport's spread weren't even part of the program anymore! It's just lazy on the editor's part.

These photos donned the 2015 Glomerata. The two photos of Branndi Melero (17) and McKenzie
Kilpatrick (25) were taken during the 2013 season, as noted by the stirrups worn. The
other three photos were taken from the correct season.
I admire The War Eagle Reader's work like no other. To scour the archives and discover what Jeremy does is simply a job well done. I'm not interested in putting my own work on the level of Jeremy's, but I hope the two of us, along with everyone else that is interested in the subject, can help provide more light and understanding to the shockingly hazy past of Auburn University.

As I said on Twitter, Auburn's history is already poorly documented. It doesn't take much effort to better document present day Auburn. If we can do that, we'll save a ton of trouble for future generations that want to better understand Auburn and it's storied history.

No comments:

Post a Comment

google-site-verification: google93058b38af3f66c8.html