Archives, Sibs, and Toss

Moving box with a Fragile sticker and a hand-written label
The last unopened box of Richard’s personal papers. “Studs” refers to the community organizer Studs Terkel.
Four acid-free boxes on shelves labeled Poethig.
The final destination of the Richard and Eunice Poethig personal archives at the Presbyterian Historical Society. “They filed us as a family,” notes Kerry.

Richard and Eunice left behind a 100 boxes’ worth of personal papers and family records. Margaret and her sister Kerry must dispose of it all.

The sisters sequestered themselves for several weeks near the storage unit in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as they sorted the papers. To get through it, they first dealt with the anger and frustration of being saddled with this burden, and then found ways to lighten the mood. 

In the end, “We deconstructed the family,” says Kerry. And they delivered their parent’s intellectual work to its final resting place.


Music Credits

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