In October 2018, Utah Valley University was awarded grant funding from the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board (USHRAB) to process the Shirley H. Platt Deaf Athletics Collection. Platt was a long-time advocate for Deaf sports and gender equity. She was extremely active in Deaf athletics associations and was the first and only woman executive director of the American Athletics Association for the Deaf (AAAD). She represented the USA at numerous Deaflympics and wrote for several sports magazines and newsletters. She donated her collection of materials to the George Sutherland Archives at UVU’s Fulton Library in support of UVU’s Deaf Studies program.
Soon after Platt donated the materials, researchers from Utah and across the country immediately began seeking assistance in accessing them. However, because the collection was not adequately processed, it was difficult and time-consuming for UVU archivists to locate pertinent information. UVU applied for USHRAB funding to hire a processing archivist to arrange and describe the collection and create an online finding aid, thereby enabling more people access to the collection.
The project was a huge success. Catherine McIntyre, Digitization Librarian at UVU, reports that, “One of the aspects of this collection with which we are particularly pleased is that not only does it include materials about international and national groups, but it also includes items that will be of particular interest to the Utah Deaf community.
“We were thrilled to find that there were some yearbooks from the Utah School for the Deaf, located in Ogden, Utah (now the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind) covering from 1968-1999, with some missing years. We had been informed previously by Dr. Bryan Eldredge, Professor of Languages and Coordinator of Deaf Studies at Utah Valley University, of the importance of school yearbooks to the Deaf community. Partly because attending a school like the Utah School for the Deaf instills such a strong bond and sense of community among students, faculty and staff, they are intensely interested in keeping in touch over the years and having access to their yearbooks makes this possible. So we plan to digitize our holdings of the Utahn (later named the Utah Eagle) and make them available for free online as well as available in the George Sutherland Archives.”
The USHRAB assists public and private nonprofit organizations and local governments throughout Utah in the preservation of and providing access to historical records of enduring value. Its re-grant program is funded through a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.