Over two tractor-trailers full of materials. That’s what arrived at the International Motor Racing Research Center’s (IMRRC) SCCA Collection off-site storage facility in 2017 to begin the process of cataloguing and archiving all the papers, publications and photos of the Sports Car Club of America.
At the same time, the New England Region recognized our own cache of historical documents was in need of help. Ted Goddard served as the Region Archivist beginning in the late 1960s. When he passed away in 2016, all the materials he collected and stored at his home were moved into a storage unit. 10 filing cabinets, 200 boxes, 30 membership binders and many other items. Almost 70 years of history, but without any cohesive organization, inventory, or catalog.
The board realized we needed someone to organize and preserve this treasure trove of materials. Donna Stevens was the answer.
Starting One Box at a Time
Recently retired, and living in New Hampshire near where the materials were stored, Donna heard about the project and she was curious. “I decided to take a look for myself and couldn’t believe how much was there,” she exclaimed. “I knew then that the project needed someone who had been around for 45 years and could relate to the documents and the members of the past.”
“The first year was challenging,” she starts. “Taking each box, one-by-one, and deciding what would be the best way to catalog all the documents.” She decided to create an Index sorted by year and focus – Admin, Solo, Rally, and Racing. The next step was emptying and removing all the rusted filing cabinets and installing new storage shelves.
As she makes her way through each box, Donna carefully reviews each item. “I have to decide if it should be kept and recorded, shredded, or transferred to the IMRRC, the North East Motor Sports Museum, or another venue.”
To date, Donna is in her third year of sorting and cataloguing documents, and estimates she’s about 50% completed. “We still have roughly 129 boxes that are untouched, with additional boxes continuing to be sent to us throughout the year.”
As Donna makes her way through the vast piles of materials, she’s struck gold with a few unique finds. The two most important historical documents she uncovered so far have been “The New England Region Sports Car Club of America Incorporated (A Massachusetts Corporation 1952) BY-LAWS”, which was published on January 1, 1960; as well as the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts ‘ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION’ for the New England Region, SCCA Inc, dated August 28, 1952. These were the founding documents for our region, registered with the state.
However, “One of the coolest items I found is a relic Rally collection. This included Rally indicator instruments, a Rally handbook written by Larry Reid in 1959, various hand-written rally tables, and a Rally Master timesheet converter” Donna says.
The Work Continues
With over half the materials still to be processed, Donna continues to work diligently preserving and recording the history of our region and club. She is grateful for all the help she’s received, from members sending in their own collections to taking the time to just look at stacks of old photos to identify drivers, tracks and events. James Ray has joined with Donna in helping with this task by posting photos regularly on the region’s Facebook page. Members are able to quickly spot markers to help with identification and cataloguing of the images.
Any one who wishes to donate New England Region documents, records and results, can contact Donna and she will arrange for transportation. Then stop by and check out the SCCA Collection at the IMRRC the next time you’re near Watkins Glen.