I have lately been going through a variety of files marked “T. M. Berry Biography.” A few are from the Theodore M. Berry collection and one came here to Archives and Rare Books rather serendipitously when Public Information was cleaning out alumni biography files. As a result, I have learned a great deal about Berry’s life as a whole, what he did before and after his public life, who he was as person and how that influenced his political career. One of my first finds in these files, and possibly my favorite of the entire collection thus far, was an envelope stuffed with old photographs. I can now say, with absolute certainty, two things which would never have occurred to me previously: Ted Berry made an adorable little cowboy and fedoras and spats are definite style “dos.” Continue reading T. M. Berry Project: Remembrances
Thus far in the archival project of Theodore Berry’s papers I have found almost no controversy surrounding him or his career. This surprises me not only because he was a politician, a member of a group of people who seem completely unable to keep themselves out of trouble for any length of time, but also because he was an African-American holding high office in an already controversial federal agency, the Community Action Program, during the mid-late 1960s. That is, I’d found no controversy until I came across this article.
Much of my time lately has been spent buried deep in the remnants of the everyday business of the Office of Economic Opportunity, where official government policies and memoranda abound. Though all of it is informative, to say that I find every item I come across riveting would be untrue. Luckily, a few striking photographs caught my attention and cried out for a closer look.
My work on the Berry Project for much of this week can be best summed up by one word: “wonder.” Many factors have contributed to this conclusion. Unfortunately one of them is “I wonder what on Earth that is!” (Please feel free to tell me if you have any idea what the metal object pictured could be, because I haven’t the foggiest.) For the most part though, I’m referring to the almost constant sense that I’m reading a great epic novel, except that its chapters are all out of order. For instance, I’ve come across items linking Theodore Berry with arguably three of the most influential public figures of the 1960s: John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry Kissinger. Continue reading T.M. Berry Project: HMM. . .