History of the Digital Archive

The Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Digital Archive is the result of a two-year effort by the Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Fund to organize, catalog, and scan the many thousands of documents held at “Four Wells,” Rosenstock-Huessy’s former home in Norwich, Vermont, before the collection was broken up.

Freya von Moltke had spent decades requesting missing letters so that both sides of Rosenstock-Huessy’s correspondence were represented in the collection. The Fund board felt strongly that her work should be preserved, but they faced a dilemma. All the “unique historical documents,” manuscripts and original letters, were to become the basis of the Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Archive at Dartmouth’s Rauner Library; all the thousands of letters and other documents collected over the years as photocopies–including most of ERH’s own letters to others–could not become part of that archive and would be separated out for storage wherever it could be found. So preserving the existing collection could only be done electronically. The Digital Archive preserves Freya’s collection intact, and also contains a major bequest of documents from Cynthia Oudejans Harris as well as a few scanned images of related material already held at Rauner.

Work on the Digital Archive proceeded in two stages, each of which took about a year to complete. Creating the Digital Archive had been the brainchild of Leo Oudejans-Harris, who, together with his wife Cynthia, donated the lion’s share of the funding for the first stage of the project.

The first stage involved laying extensive groundwork for the final digitizing of the archive. Even achieving an accurate estimate of the scope of the project took some time; roughly cataloging the hundreds of folders kept in an upstairs bedroom came next, followed by the work of separating some folders into discrete correspondences (and combining and collating others); developing the protocols for data collection and the actual scanning–and assembling four teams to work in two separate four-hour shifts–was the last task of the first stage.

The second stage consisted of the actual scanning of the thousands of papers and capturing the data for each page-scan in the Digital Archive’s spreadsheet catalog. The second stage was funded primarily by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany through the Cultural Affairs Department of the German Embassy in the United States. That generous grant was matched by donations from members of the von Moltke family. Other needed work on the Digital Archive, which could not be funded as part of either formal stage, was supported by other private donors in the US.

The successful completion of the project would have been impossible without the dedication and hard work of the project staff: Christina Chase, Steve Flanders, Joe Gaudet, Martha Howard, and Russ Pinigin, as well as Dorothy Gannon, Scott Gordon, Mitch Kewer, Steve Miller, and Diana Wright;  the project supervisor was Raymond Huessy.

The Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Fund dedicates the Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Digital Archive
and its use to the Fund’s long-time president,and the prime mover behind the collection
of all the documents not included in the gift to Rauner Library:
Freya von Moltke.