by Cori Williams, Collection Services Processing Intern, Lucinda Bunnen papers.
This is the first post in a series on the accessioning and processing of the Lucinda Bunnen Papers.
I found myself at the Rose Library in a bit of an unusual way. I was first introduced to the Lucinda Bunnen Papers through their creator, Lucinda Weil Bunnen. In fact, I am the one who packed the boxes before they arrived at the Rose Library. My name is Cori Williams, and I am an artist and freelancer born, raised, and (back) living in Atlanta, GA. I have a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA in Performance Making from Goldsmiths, University of London. During my time at Emory’s Rose Library, I will be assisting with the accessioning and processing of the Lucinda Bunnen Papers.
My life has intertwined with the Bunnen family in many ways, however, in October of 2021 I was asked by the family to assist with unframing some of Lucinda’s work in preparation for its transfer to the Rose Library. Lucinda was in hospice care at her home and had gifted her archive to the Rose Library. After a few days of work, a massive pile of frames had already formed in her home studio with still more lining the hallway. After consulting with Lucinda, the family asked if I would help organize all the materials that were to be sent to the Rose Library. I began to sort and pack an already well-kept collection of materials. I was able to bring items to Lucinda for her to identify and explain their significance or lack of and a rich and storied life began to form, one that prior to this opportunity I had only known a small piece.
Lucinda watched as Randy Gue, Assistant Director of Collection Development at the Rose Library, and I loaded the first part of the collection into a van bound for the Rose Library in December of 2021. She passed away in March 2022 and on January 3, 2023, I arrived at Rose Library, greeted by the familiar boxes I had packed. They were a comforting sight to see in a new unfamiliar space, these I knew. For a period, I will be the only one that knows exactly where to find evidence of the specific stories, history, and rich life packed in these boxes. However, that was one of the reasons I followed the boxes to Emory, to be a surrogate primary source. Since January I have been working to map out their contents to make them accessible to anyone that wants to learn about Lucinda’s life.
As an artist with a photography background myself, I have found the whole process of archiving one’s own art career very fascinating. Lucinda was fastidious in a mostly pre-internet era, tracking down newspaper reviews, maintaining correspondence, providing annotations in photo albums, etc. While working as a successful artist, she took the additional time to keep track of her own career trajectory as well as other art involvements and interests. I was reminded of a radio interview I did in
Slovenia in 2012 for an art show I created; I don’t ever remember listening to it, let alone having a transcript. However, Lucinda has her interviews clearly labeled and time stamped, stored with the rest of her archive. Accessioning her archive, has allowed me to look at my own career in a different perspective. While at the Rose I will be using this blog to discuss my experience of learning to accession and process a collection, while also highlighting some specifics within the collection that resonate with me and illuminate her. As Lucinda liked to say, “if you aren’t living on the edge you are taking up too much space”.