Using our History to Expand our Future
Emily Newman, Dialogue Editor
You probably have never met Adam Foldes unless you have traveled to the depths of the New York Society for Ethical Culture building, pushed through hundreds of boxes, and found him tirelessly working on the Ethical Culture Movement Archival Project. He is an archivist who has been preparing our Movement's archives for digitalization so that researchers and the general public can find and view them online in a convenient and cost effective manner. Adam was awarded the Mossler Foundation Fellowship Award for his hard work making the rich history, hidden within the 660 archival boxes, available to more people.
The Mossler Trust was set up by the estate of Adele S. Mossler, who died in 1984. Mossler was a member of the New York Society for Ethical Culture and Director of the Play Schools Association, which was dedicated to the recreational needs of children. In recent years, the American Ethical Union (AEU) has spent funds from the trust on leadership training in general, but the 2011-2012 Board was in consensus that we follow the directives of the endowment as closely as possible. The Mossler endowment provides funding (a) to create, annually, one or more Fellowships for Leaders In Training, preferably women, under the American Ethical Union Leader Recruiting Committee or Leader Training Committee; and (b) to create, annually, one or more Fellowships to members of minority groups and/or women for the spread of the Ethical Culture Movement nationally.
Adam Foldes is the first recipient of this award. "Being that I am not a member of the American Ethical Union or the New York Society of Ethical Culture, it is a humbling honor to say the least that the leadership has the confidence in me to complete such an extraordinary undertaking, which I am committed to seeing through until it is completed," exclaimed Adam. Over the past year, he has used a Microsoft Excel Database to inventory the documents within the archive and is currently creating finding aids (tags or searchable words) for the different collections that will be digitalized. These finding aids and collections will be added to the AEU website so they can be viewed by both members and non-members alike.
Prior to working at the AEU, Adam Foldes had been an archival intern at the Ellis Island National Park and at the American Civil Liberties Union Archives. In June 2011, he received his Master's Degree from Queens College in Library Science with a Certificate in Archives and Records Management. He will be taking the Archival Certification Exam in August 2012.
Like a pirate searching for buried treasure, Adam has already discovered some amazing finds such as speeches, letters, photographs, event programs, and more from the late 1870s. We thank Adam for allowing us the opportunity to share these historical gems.Information on the Mossler Foundation Fellowship Award and how to apply will be posted on the American Ethical Union website. Applications will be due in Spring 2013.