For more than 22 years, Sister Mary Elizabeth Wood, SND, has organized and maintained the archives of the Sisters of Notre Dame, Chardon Province. These archives contain thousands of books, annals, publications, and documents as well as hundreds of thousands of photographs, audiotapes and videotapes of concerts, ceremonies, funerals, educational and religious presentations and more. Sister Elizabeth’s attention to detail, logical thinking, and understanding of conservation techniques to extend the life of various media remains critical for maintaining the archives, located in the SND Education Center in Chardon.
“I love my job as archivist,” exclaims Sister Elizabeth with a smile, as she walks within the rows of boxes, bookcases and file cabinets. “The best part of this job is helping people find information that connects them to the Sisters of Notre Dame. I am happy to provide access for other researchers.” According to Wikipedia, an archivist is an information professional who assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, maintains control of, and provides access to records and archives determined to have long-term value. The records maintained by an archivist can consist of a variety of forms, including letters, diaries, logs, various other writings, official documents, sound, and photographic records. Sister Elizabeth’s education and work experience make her an ideal archivist for the province. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from St. John College, in Cleveland, and a master’s degree in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Institute, in Middleburg, VA. She taught junior high school for 25 years at schools in northeast Ohio and in Florida. “I taught whatever classes they needed me to teach,” she recalls with a smile.
Sister Elizabeth became the Chardon province archivist in 1996. To prepare for this ministry, Sister Elizabeth worked under Sister Mary Own Kleinhenz, the previous archivist, for one year and participated in various archiving workshops in Ohio, England and Rome. She also became a member of the Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious in the United States.