This digital archive is dedicated to showcasing the biographical profiles created by students enrolled in English 495: American Biography in the spring of 2013, using primary sources from the Special Collections at Hope College.
The purpose of this digital archive is to display student research in an appealing, accessible, and scholarly way. The projects that are showcased reflect upper-level undergraduate research and a dedication to the possibilities for presentation through the digital humanities.
Here, current Hope students involved in a high level of primary source research have the opportunity to share their work. Reflecting Hope's emphasis on faculty-student collaboration, professors have the tools to encourage and motivate students to produce high-quality projects and disseminate them on the web. Current undergraduates, prospective students, and faculty have access to a website that lets them enjoy and learn from creative presentations showcasing all that the Special Collections have to offer. Crumbling letters, faded photographs, and forgotten stories are brought into the light. Student researchers are given a platform from which to broadcast their voice and begin new conversations.
The concept for the Hope College Student Research Digital Archive was developed by Taylor Rebhan and Caroline Haley in the spring semester, 2013. Along with four other students in Dr. Natalie Dykstra's ENGL 495 American Biography class, Taylor and Caroline wrote and produced biographical projects on people discovered in Hope's Theil Center for Reseach, an archive housing hundreds of historical files, photographs, letters, and documents. Throughout their own research process, the women looked for a site to house their projects on the web. The concept grew in size and ambition, and with the help of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation summer fellowship, it developed into a "proof of concept." The biographical profiles currently hosted on the site are examples of what a resource like this can accomplish.