St. Mary’s College of Maryland Archives has partnered with Historic Sotterley Plantation to assist with preserving Sotterley’s archival collections and making them available online.
A national landmark dating back to 1703, Sotterley Plantation is a 94-acre museum overlooking the Patuxent River in Hollywood, Md. It has been open to the public since 1961.
Kent Randell, the archivist for St. Mary’s College, said portions of Sotterley’s archival materials will be transferred to St. Mary’s College’s archives allowing for staff and selected students to assist in the preservation, arrangement and description of the invaluable historic records and for ease of access for researchers.
Once transferred, the papers of Sotterley Plantation will be at the College archive alongside the papers of author and historian Regina Combs Hammett, the papers of J. Frank Raley, and former delegates John Bohanan and Paul Bailey.
Sotterley and the College’s archives staff are also working to get portions of the museum’s collections online at the Digital Maryland website, a statewide digitization program headquartered at the Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource Center in Baltimore.
The College’s archives will serve as a backup for the entirety of the museum’s collection of digital materials that have been selected for permanent preservation.
Jeanne Pirtle, education director at Sotterley, said having a place like St. Mary’s College, with the resources to preserve these sensitive materials, is beneficial to Sotterley as the museum does not have many climate controlled areas for preservation or the staff to help those interested in researching the materials.
She said the partnership could not have come at a better time.
“Right now Sotterley’s archives don’t have the financial resources to properly preserve some of our most sensitive items,” she said.
Pirtle said the partnership is beneficial to the county too, as the materials are part of St. Mary’s County history.
Randell said the College currently maintains the online SlackWater Oral History archive, and oral history interviews conducted by volunteers and staff at Sotterley plantation have already been added to this collection. View the start of that collection here.
The St. Mary’s College of Maryland Archives are located in the basement of Calvert Hall. Contact Kent Randell (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an appointment during summer hours. Community organizations conducting oral history interviews interested in joining the SlackWater oral history project please contact Randell at 240-895-4196 or via email.
Historic Sotterley, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity governed by a Board of Trustees with a mission to preserve Sotterley Plantation’s historic structures and natural environment and use the powerful stories of our land, lives, and labor to bring American history to life while serving as a cultural resource.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education through 2024-2025. St. Mary’s College, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Approximately 1,700 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary’s River in Southern Maryland.