Photos from the Providence Public Library
The Providence Public Library contributes to the Archive
When the Greater Providence YMCA was preparing to re-locate, their collection of archival materials needed a new home. Many photos, documents, journals and records dating back over one hundred years would have to be sorted through, cataloged and stored in a secure place where the public could still have access to them. Steve Palmer was instrumental in finding a home for these priceless pieces of history which chronicled the history of the Providence YMCA and Camp Fuller By-The-Sea. It was decided that the Providence Public Library’s Special Collections Department would be the best place for this collection to live. Plans were made to go through the extensive collection, organize the documents chronologically and move them all to the library which is where they reside now.
Not knowing exactly what was in this collection and how findings might help tell the story of the history of Camp Fuller, we contacted Kate Wells at the Providence Public Library and set up an initial meeting where a game plan was discussed on how to approach this huge project. Kate was very happy to sit down and map out a logical approach, but had no clear path for filtering through these materials to find those related to Camp Fuller. The only way to approach this challenge was to begin sifting through dozens of boxes and look for the “needles in the haystacks”. Finding Camp Fuller related materials was both perseverance and a lot of luck. There were a lot of rabbit holes to go down.
A year after beginning this search, we have uncovered many treasures that would have been safe, but probably tucked away for nobody to find. Our thanks to Kate and the Special Collections Department at the Providence Public Library for allowing us to discover and post these old photos from Camp Fuller. Members of the Archive Project Committee have been granted special permission to explore and record documents, photos and a wide range of other materials that are housed in a secure area at the library.
The staff at the library continues to be very helpful when we visit and quite enthusiastic about our efforts to discover Camp Fuller history within their archives. We work in an isolated area and must wear protective gloves when handling these materials. No pens, laptops or other electronic devices can be used other than cell phones to take photos. Many of the images we have posted to this website are actually digital photos we have taken of old black and white glossy photos or printed documents, journals and newsletters that make up the Greater Providence YMCA’s collection. We will continue to explore these hidden treasures and post them down the road.