by Cori Williams, Collection Services Processing Intern, Lucinda Bunnen papers.
This is the sixth and final post in a series on the accessioning and processing of the Lucinda Bunnen Papers.
One of the main things that I have learned while working in archiving is: “It Depends”. I am usually scanning other finding aids on Emory’s website looking for a nice template to follow for the Lucinda Bunnen papers, however, there isn’t a template. Sure there is standardized language, but there isn’t a word document where you can just fill in all the blanks. Each collection, each life, each organization is different and unique. I wrote in my last blog post about how I grouped the collection into 9 parts including subject files, my solution for trying to finish off the puzzle of putting together the finding aid. However, when I sat down with my supervisor, Laura Starratt, we began to rethink how best to organize Lucinda’s files when her life and art were so intertwined.
I had just taken my first photography class in high school when I was invited to Lucinda’s house the first time. My sister and her grandson were close friends and my sister would tell me about the art lining the walls. It was a hidden museum tucked away in Buckhead. I remember seeing the Sally Mann images that I had learned about in class. It was such an intimate way to view all the work she collected. When I began spending more time there to prep her archive, I noticed how much the art was lived with. It wasn’t static, it would be rearranged regularly, always something new to see. The downstairs bathroom was filled with Coca-Cola memorabilia. The Lonnie Holley’s mixed with the Ansel Adams, and you stepped around a William Christenberry house in the hallway. No alarms buzzed when you leaned in to look closely or took something off the wall. I am honored to say one of my little paper collages I made hung on those same walls, a gift for Lucinda’s birthday. It was a house with no hierarchy. I would usually peek into her Peter Bahouth piece before heading downstairs to start working, sometimes switching out the slides.
During the holidays a table was set up in her office where anyone that came to the house was welcome to sit down and collage a Christmas card to sent out that year to her list. Friends and family would come over to walk their dogs off leash on her hiking trail she created on her property, a subject of many of her images. And of course, if you found a heart shaped rock you brought it back for the collection. In this way Lucinda had you looking at the ground, the sky, the garage, the bathroom, art was everywhere.
This brings us back to the question of how to divide up her papers. When researching Lucinda Bunnen, I would think most people would associate her with her own photography work or the philanthropic work she did for the Atlanta arts community, but there is so much more. Journals and ephemera from her travels, scrapbooks from her Olympic experience, copies of Nexus publications, correspondence all in addition to her diligent documentation of her own career, show invitations, newspaper clippings, etc. So instead of dividing the materials just by format (art, printed materials, personal papers, AV…), we thought about the option of diving them up via their use. Personal, or public facing. Some of the files or boxes I had originally allocated to Subject files, are listed under Personal, because that is how she used and interacted with them.
This collection lets you into her world. Not to be confused with the two shows she had, “Lucinda’s World” and “Lucinda’s World part 2, a collection of collections” in 2014 and 2015 respectively. If you attended “Lucinda’s World” at Mason Murer Fine Art, think of that as a peak into the collection. She had her scrapbooks, snapshots, and various eras of her photography on the walls.
The Lucinda Bunnen papers take that show a step further, it is all present, and she has gifted it to you. Some things more familiar than others, but it is full of tidbits and moments for researchers and visitors to collect to piece together the beautiful and intricacy of Lucinda’s life not just as an artist, but as a human in this world.