This is the first in a series of Kingdom Officer profiles. These dedicated people are often working behind the scenes, helping the Kingdom run smoothly. We’ll let them tell us more about what they do.
Name/Title: THL Hrefna Ulvarinnsdottir, Æthelmearc Kingdom Historian
What exactly does the Kingdom Historian’s office do? From policy: The Office of the Kingdom Historian shall be responsible for overseeing the compilation, preservation, and maintenance of historical information pertaining to the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, and facilitate means, including working in coordination with other Kingdom Officers and their duly designated deputies, of making said information accessible to the public. The Office shall also coordinate, promote, and foster Kingdom related research, projects, events, and displays at the Kingdom, Regional and Local levels.
What this boils down to is that the Kingdom Historian looks for ways to research, document, and preserve our Kingdom’s history. So far, I have established an Æthelmearc History group on Facebook along with an Æthelmearc history web site, I host Historian’s Points at events where I display artifacts and relics from our past, and I’ve started a written history of our group with the help of many, many kind gentles along the way. I’m always looking for new suggestions on how to research and document our history.
We understand big plans are afoot for Pennsic – fill us in!
A couple years ago Maynard III and Liadain II, hosted the Pilgrimage of Æthelmearc which encouraged every group in the kingdom holding events during Their reign to put together a historical display at their events and to supply fun facts on quarter page cards so we all would have the opportunity to learn a little more about the history of our kingdom. That project also included a display at Pennsic.
Recently, Her Majesty Gabrielle shared with me how much she enjoyed showing the Pennsic display to her children that year and has requested that I put together another one for this year’s Pennsic. The previous display was put together with items provided by many gentles from around the Kingdom. During my tenure as historian, I have amassed a small collection of artifacts, but I want to ask the populace of the Kingdom to loan items to this year’s display. Items do not have to be just Kingdom related things. Anything that illustrates the history of our local groups is most welcomed. Consider typing up a brief statement about what the item is and why it has historical value to your group. If you have something you might want to put in this display but are unsure if would be a good fit, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss it.
Where can people find resources on Æthelmearc’s history? The AEthelmearc History group on Facebook can be found here. It is a great community of people interested in discussing and sharing our history with each other that is 530 members strong now. Come join us!
There is also an Æthelmearc History web site here that my web minister, THL Grimolfr Ormalfrson, and I have been slowly adding content to. I would love to have more articles, stories, songs, etc. to add to this site. One of my cherished project ideas is to start a book of remembrance section on the web site to honor and remember those we have lost. If anyone is interested in helping with this project, please contact me.
What kinds of things would the office like to have people donate or send?
Anything that helps to illustrate our history. Right now, I have the Giant Spoon of Æthelmearc, coins commemorating the Coronation of Yngvar and Caryl, maps showing the changes and growth of our Kingdom, old photos and newsletters, the original Kingdom MOL banner, the tourney trees going back to Coronet I, and more.
All of these objects represent a piece of our history, and I believe that we all hold a piece of that history from the newest member to the long time players. When we bring those pieces together, we create a tapestry that tells our unique story. Again, if you have something you would like to put on loan or give to the Historian’s office but aren’t sure about, contact me.
What do you like best about your office? Oh, that’s a tough one! I love the interactions I have with people I would otherwise never have met who are sharing their stories that help fill in the details of our history and that moment when they say “Oh, I didn’t know that!” when I share something with them. I also love the research aspect and watching the story of our kingdom grow a little more with each detail unearthed. This job has given me a unique perspective on the development of our Kingdom, and I am honored to be bringing her story to the populace.
What do you have planned for the future beyond the Pennsic display? Over the next several months, I will be working with Countess Anna Leigh on the SCA 50th Display Committee for Æthelmearc and on a special project for the anniversary event.
I also plan to keep working on the history of Æthelmearc paper for the anniversary event. I am very near the 10,000 word limit that those papers are allotted, but I will continue my research and expand upon that paper to continue documenting our history.
I will also continue to look for new and fun ways to engage the populace and to carry on the quest for documenting our history.
How long have you been in the SCA, and what is one of your favorite moments? I have been in the SCA since 1998. One of my favorite moments was watching my lord husband, Grimolfr Ormalfrson, receive his Millrind at Pennsic 43 and getting to welcome him to the Order.
Are you looking for deputies? Always. During my tenure as Historian, I’ve had several promising discussions with gentles about becoming deputies but none of them have panned out. There’s a lot of years of history to track down and help would be greatly appreciated. I would especially like to find deputies to help with scanning and digitize the boxes and boxes of hard copies I now have and to search through them for historical details. If there is a group of people out there who would be willing to form a scanning guild, please let me know.
And then anything else you might think of! This year at Pennsic, I will be hosting a Known World Historians Meet and Greet on Tuesday, August 3, 2015 at 1 pm in Pennsic University Tent #12 in the hopes of connecting with other historians to compare notes on how they are going about the job of collecting and preserving history. I invite any reading this article with an interest in our history to join us.
If anyone reading this article has modern world experience as a historian, I would love to have the opportunity to discuss how the professionals go about their research, and I welcome suggestions from anyone who might have ideas on how to grow and move the Historian’s Office forward.