CCHS Volunteer Shorts: Mary Jane Russelburg
Mary Jane Russelburg discusses her time as an employee and as a volunteer at the Cumberland County Historical Society. As a volunteer in the Library, Mary Jane, assists patrons with research including family research/genealogy, property research, as well as Indian School research.
Blair Williams: I am here today with Mary Jane Russelburg. I’ll start Mary Jane by asking what do you here at the Cumberland County Historical Society?
Mary Jane Russelburg: I volunteer in the library, mostly helping patrons do research either on family genealogy background. Sometime property research. Occasionally Indian School research. Those are the main things.
BW: How long have you been a volunteer?
MR: I’ve been a volunteer for somewhere between three and four years. But I’ve worked here, I started out as an employee here back in 2002. I worked here in the library for maybe eight years. Then I worked with the director for about three years. Then when she retired, I retired. And moved back to the Library in a capacity of a volunteer.
BW: What made you interested in coming back as a volunteer?
MR: I loved working in the library here. I don’t have any history background. I am not any kind of history expert by any means but it’s the research that I enjoy. Solving little mysteries. And I also just enjoy working with patrons that came in. We had people that come to this historical society from all over the United States as well as overseas. You get a chance to meet some really interesting people. Occasionally, you realize what a small world it is. We’ve had people from two very different places around the country, coincidentally researching at the same time, researching the same family.
BW: What would you say the most interesting item or object you’ve come across the collection is?
MR: There have been so many things. I can’t probably point to a specific one right at the moment. But sometimes the old newspapers, the 19th century newspaper articles. The way that they wrote things. You realize they didn’t have television or radio for entertainment so some of the descriptions of accidents or different events were written in such dramatic flair that you can kind of tell they served as a form of you can say entertainment. But that was what it was sometimes. Sometimes the things we see or hear nowadays are a little more graphic then we would like but I’ve seen some things that are surprisingly more descriptive then I would have expected for that time period. There is always something that comes up. Some document, some historic document that you think wow we have that here in our little museum in Carlisle.
BW: Thank you again for volunteering and for speaking with me today.