Toward the end of the fall semester, Rhode Island College announced that Adams Library will be home to Rep. Jim Langevin’s congressional archives. Langevin is a proud RIC alumnus, graduating from the college in 1990, and was enthusiastic to send his archives to his alma mater.
“The first-rate education that I received at RIC laid the groundwork for my career in public service, so donating my Congressional archives to my alma mater was an easy decision,” Langevin said in the college’s announcement from December. “After serving the people of Rhode Island in Congress for the last 22 years, I hope that this collection will contribute to future scholarship about my work on behalf of Rhode Island, the study of Congress, and the history of our beloved state.
Before the collection is publicly available, it’s currently being processed and looked over by Veronica Denison, a digital archivist and special collections librarian at RIC.
“I think it’s really exciting,” Denison said about having Langevin’s archives right here at RIC. “It’s great that we have an alumni’s papers here who, they went to RIC and they went on and they had this tremendous, long career in Congress. And it’s also really amazing because he was the first quadriplegic Congressman elected, and I think that just adds to the importance of his collection because a lot of archives don’t really have a lot relating to disability and people with disabilities. So, just having a collection of such a prominent person who has a disability and was able to accomplish so much, it’s just different.”
Denison has a lot of plans for this collection once it is finished. Some of her ideas include visiting classes to show the collection and even working with the political science department to have their students come and see these archives.
Ever since the collection was sent to RIC, Denison has processed a variety of the materials included.
“There’s a lot on health disability and stem cell research,” Denison said. “He also has a lot of committee hearing records and briefing books, and those are kind of interesting because they have a lot of information about testimonies.”
The briefing books in this collection consist of materials from Langevin’s time on the House Armed Services Committee. This includes notes Langevin took during the hearings, his remarks and questions during testimonies, documents, notes, research materials and any other materials the congressman used.
Alongside committee records, there are also photographs, legislation Langevin has sponsored or cosponsored, constituent correspondence and more.
“We also have a large poster that he used on the House floor for his health plan that I heard he was really proud of,” Denison added. “It’s nice to know what he was proud of, too, so that we can look at it and make that connection with him.”
Alongside the physical collection that will be available to see in the Adam’s Library Special Collections Reading Room, there are also electronic records from Langevin’s later years in Congress such as videos from speeches he made on the House floor. Select materials from the collection, once uploaded electronically, will be available on Adams Library’s digital commons special collections website and in an online exhibit. All the materials will be accessible in the Reading Room for researchers.
Denison hopes to have the collection publicly available by the end of May. Once the collection is available for RIC students to see, those interested in viewing them will have to schedule an appointment. Appointments can be scheduled by emailing Denison at email@example.com.
Adams Library is also looking to hire students interested in working on campus. Students are encouraged to apply using this link. There are various departments hiring, including Special Collections.