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History of New York's Civil Service Aided by UAlbany Archives
June 24, 2010
Records at UAlbany's M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives were used in researching a recently released book on CSEA history.
A wealth of historic materials preserved at the University at Albany's M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives fueled the research for a new book on the CSEA: A Century of Service: The Story of CSEA's First 100 Years.
"The benefit of preserving our historic records will long outlast our Centennial year, and would not be possible without the collaboration with the University at Albany," said CSEA President Danny Donohue.
The Civil Service Employees Association released the book earlier this month. CSEA Director of Communications Stephen A. Madarasz, who earned a master's degree in political communication from UAlbany in 1983, oversaw the project and wrote most of the narrative. Madarasz has been an adjunct professor at UAlbany for about 10 years, teaching a course in marketing communication for the Department of Communication, as well as one in business presentation for the School of Business.
The book contains anecdotes about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, and Bill Clinton, to name just a few. Nearly 100 video interviews were conducted with key individuals about their role in the union's history. These interviews have since been archived at the University and will soon be available on the Internet.
The work proceeded with guidance from Grenander's director, Brian Keough, and assistance from graduate students employed by the University's Center for Applied Historical Research under the supervision of Center Director and Associate Professor of History Ivan Steen. The project was funded by a $177,203 grant from CSEA to the Center to employ students, most of whom were from the Department of History's Graduate Program in Public History.
One of the students, Devin Lander, was assigned to work with Keough at the Grenander Department of Special Collections. The other students who worked on the project were primarily researchers. They are: Sarah Cross, Erin Hvizdak, Erin Dorbin, Kristin Neel, and Carolyn Wavrin. Most students worked on the project for 20 hours a week. Steen, who was principal investigator on the grant, recruited the students and served as project director.
"This wonderful book would not be possible without the tremendous work done to preserve CSEA's historical records at the University Libraries," said Keough. "CSEA is committed to documenting its long and rich history by supporting the preservation and access to historical records, which is critical to ensuring the survival of New York's heritage from the past century.
"Scholars, teachers, students, and the public can now learn from and examine the millions of pages of historical documents and publications, as well as thousands of hours of audio and video that are now accessible in the CSEA archive," said Keough.
"As New York's oldest and largest public employee union, CSEA has played, and continues to play, a major role in New York State's history," said Steen. "This lavishly illustrated volume documents the 100 years of CSEA's development from a professional organization to a labor union. This is an important contribution to the history of public sector unionism."
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