My intellectual life, such as it is, has been dominated by a feeling of duty to both preserve the information-which-doesn't-fit and to get it out in front of the world, whether by my own writing efforts or by others'. John knew me as a long-time SSE member and one-time council member, a publisher of several pieces in the JSE, and a "fellow he had a talk with once" about this exact "presevation passion" we share. He wanted to know if I could "swallow" the SITU archives at my place [no mean feat I am telling you] and ultimately get them into order [an even more daunting affair] and finally arranging for utilization by responsible researchers.
I said I'd give it my best. The archives arrived in Kalamazoo on Friday. Two very hard-working days of shelving and stacking later, punctuated by anomalies "parties" punctuated by sub-sandwiches and pizzas and large quantities of extravagant commentary, our eight person crew [coming from Chicago, Detroit area, Maryland, and a scattering of my best local buddies], we at least got it all off the truck and inside. It's going to take a LOT of archival work, my friends, but it will be worth it---the unloading days themselves were some of the most fun I've had in a very long time.
I want to give you some extremely "early" assessment information. This stuff is EXTENSIVE. It nearly filled a 26-foot U-Haul truck. Secondly, it has survived the rigors of time and mice [there were nibblers about back there in New Jersey] very well. The nibblings and rare water damages are very minor [three great cheers to Charles Fort, Ivan Sanderson, & Bob Warth being guardian angels from above]. The book and journal library is pretty impressive. Doubtless not everything survived cherry-pickers, but I'll bet ALMOST everything did from what I saw going to the shelves. That brings me to the big deal.
There is an internet legend that these archives have been severely depleted by sticky-fingered knowledge-thieves. Again, who knows what all MIGHT have happened in the past, but my eyeballs say that the VAST majority if not all of the famous SITU files [even dating back to Sanderson and the early years; i.e. Sanderson's own file creation] ARE STILL EXTANT AND RIGHT HERE IN KALAMAZOO. I am hoping that this will make everyone happy. I cannot give you an accurate count yet, but I can give you a MINIMAL count. Sanderson kept his topical files arranged in three-ring notebooks usually about two-inches wide. At a minimum there are 184 of these already shelved [i.e. sitting outside the original boxes off the truck before your eyes.] I counted them the grade-school way with my own index finger. As a wild guess, there are at least 30-35 "linear feet" of them, in librarian-talk. This 184 count does not count three-ring notebooks which contain only journal/magazine runs --- these are mainly Sanderson's own constructions containing clippings, pictures, correspondence, & whatever, around some topic or set of topics. 42 of these notebooks refer to "ABSMs" [bigfoot, yeti et al], or sea, lake, or river monsters. Folks, after having read the idea that the files had been "raped clean", you can't imagine how happy I was when we opened the first box and read the ABSM on the cover!!!. God bless the protecting elementals who guard our favorite subjects.
Well, that's all that I can say with accuracy in this first day-of-rest for my aching back after the Great Coming. I will promise you that I will [with my local buddies when I'm back in Wheeling helping Mom] keep SITU safe, slowly get it organized, tell you what we find, and when it's a bit orderly at least, tell you how to get your own eyeballs on the files if you want to travel to Kazoo.
I'm going to try to finish up the remaining bits of the CE2p entries and the last greatest trip by GHW looking for Shamballa soon. Maybe after that I'll try to sneak enough peeks at Ivan's stuff to tell you more. God bless and Peace. I think we've saved something good here, folks.