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Guest Blog: Abbie Gray - Volunteering with the Les Coleman Collection

Extract from a comic held in the Les Coleman collection.
Extract from a comic held in the Les Coleman collection.
Extract from a comic held in the Les Coleman collection.
Written by
Hannah Grout
Published date
22 November 2019

After graduating in 2017 I have been focused on gaining some practical experience of working in an archive environment prior to completing a Masters in Archives and Records Management. The most significant portion of this experience has been at the Archives and Special Collections Centre at the London College of Communication, where I have volunteered for the past two years.

During this time, I have had the opportunity to work on several projects, including: cataloguing a section of the Philip Knightly Archive, box listing some of the Lindsay Cooper Archive, as well as occasionally assisting the archivists with any enquiries and learning the process of invigilating and collecting materials for researchers.

The most substantial project I have been working on, is to catalogue personal papers in the Les Coleman Collection. Les Coleman was an artist, author and keen comic book collector. The collection consists of research, correspondence, artwork and various other materials from several artists including Robert Crumb, Patrick Hughes and Saul Steinberg. It also includes several comics by Les Coleman himself. Whilst I had no previous knowledge of these artists, I have found the content to be very interesting and Coleman’s thorough research of these artists impressive.

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Les Coleman Archive, personal papers
Les Coleman Archive, personal papers.

Overall volunteering here has been a very positive experience where I have learnt valuable information and practical experience on the cataloguing process and gained insight into how an archive is run which I have enjoyed and has further reinforced my career decision. I would recommend volunteering in this archive to anyone who wishes to learn more about what working in an archive and special collections centre involves.