Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hail and Farewell

Hi Folks,
This will be my last MMI Archives Blog as I will be leaving MMI as of Thursday, September 30th. I have accepted the position of Director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Illinois.

A current logo of the Church of the Brethren (Dunkers). (Credit:

A member of the Church of the Brethren (Dunkers) since 1980, I am a Brethren historian and a contributor to the four-volume Brethren Encyclopedia. I have also served the Brethren at both the congregational and district levels over the past thirty years including attending the Brethren seminary in Indiana, Bethany Theological Seminary. From 1993-2005, I served as the archivist/museum curator at Bridgewater College in Virginia, one of the Brethren-related colleges. My book, One Who Served: Brethren Elder Charles Nesselrodt of Shenandoah County, Virginia (3rd ed., 2004), is the story of a typical Brethren elder serving in the free ministry in the Shenandoah Valley around the turn of the twentieth century.

The front and back covers of my little book. (Credit:

My new position at the BHLA allows me the opportunity to serve my denomination at its national headquarters in Elgin, Illinois, a fast-growing city of over 100,000 residents some 40 miles northwest of Chicago.

While many of you have probably never heard of the Church of the Brethren, military history buffs may recognize us via the little Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland (September 17, 1862), and the famous images taken of it after the Civil War battle by Alexander Gardner, an employee of Matthew Brady.

One of the Gardner images of the Dunker Church taken shortly after the battle. (Credit: US Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, PA)

The restored Dunker Church today on the Antietam battlefield. (Credit:

Finally, I have enjoyed my three-plus years serving MMI ("The Land of Many Bugles"), and I leave with a certain sense of pride at what we have been able to accomplish to date. I thank the entire MMI Family for your friendship, kindness, and for the many courtesies extended me during my tenure.

Blessings to one and all and to Marion Military Institute!

Terry Barkley

Monday, September 13, 2010

Search Extended

The search for a new Archivist has been extended until 21 September. Information can be found in my post from 7 September, located here.

Thomas Edison's Mucker: Miller Reese Hutchison, MMI Class of 1890

Described in his obituary as “one of the nation’s greatest inventors and scientists,” Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison, MMI Class of 1890, served as Thomas Edison’s right-hand man (Edison called his assistants “muckers”) for a number of years in the Edison Laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. An electrical and acoustical engineer who was born, raised, and largely educated in Alabama, Dr. Hutchison had several hundred inventions to his credit. He worked as Chief Engineer for all of Thomas Edison’s interests and representations during his tenure.

Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison with Thomas Edison c. 1910-1918. (Credit: )

Thomas Edison’s original Menlo Park (NJ) Laboratory. (Credit: )

Born in Montrose, Alabama (Baldwin County), near Mobile, on August 6, 1876, Miller Reese Hutchison was educated in the Mobile public schools, Spring Hill College, Marion Military Institute (1889-1890), and graduated in electrical engineering from the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University). Upon graduation, he worked as an engineer for the U.S. Light House Service and, during the Spanish-American War, helped lay submarine cables in the Gulf of Mexico. Hutchison later moved to New York City where he established his own laboratory and developed a number of inventions including the Klaxon auto horn and hearing aid. In 1902, he traveled to London and Paris to test his hearing aid; Hutchison also presented the device to Queen Alexandra of Great Britain.

The Klaxon. (Credit: )

The Horn, a Hutchison invention. (Credit: )

Attracting the attention of Thomas Edison, Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison worked for Edison from 1910 to 1918 at the Edison Laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. While in his mid-30s, Hutchison became Edison’s Chief Engineer, working as a consultant and promoter of the Edison Storage Battery, and negotiating the use of these storage batteries in US Navy submarines. Dr. Hutchison also worked to get Thomas Edison appointed president of the Naval Consulting Board, a civilian board of inventors and businessmen who reviewed inventions from the public which might help the military.

Dr. Hutchison resigned as Chief Engineer for Edison’s Laboratory in 1918, and started he own firm (Miller Reese Hutchison Corporation) to distribute the Edison batteries and to market his latest inventions. In addition to the Klaxon horn, he is noted for inventing the Acousticon, the first electrical hearing aid for the deaf (1902); the dictograph, one of the first eavesdropping devices; and the Moto-Vita, a forerunner of today’s Oxygen Sensor. Dr. Hutchison received a number of international honorary degrees, medals and awards during his career.

The Acousticon hearing aid. (Credit: )

Dr. Miller Reese Hutchison, MMI Class of 1890, died in New York City on February 16, 1944.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Beginning of an Era

Hello, Blog Followers! This is KellyAnn Griffiths, the Library Director at MMI.

I have hijacked the Archivist Blog to give you some news. Mr. Barkley will be leaving us at the end of the month to pursue a wonderful opportunity at another Archives. Please join me in wishing him the best -- he has done some amazing things for the Archives at MMI and he will be missed.

We are working on this end to fill Mr. Barkley's position. I am, therefore, announcing the beginning of an era instead of focusing on the end of Mr. Barkley's time here. Please pass the following along to interested parties:

General Statement

The Archivist at Marion Military Institute is responsible for the organization and maintenance of the Marion Military Institute Archives. S/he is responsible for determining the value of the collection as it relates to Marion Military Institute and for providing access to historically significant documents.

The archivist is employed by the MMI Foundation Board of Trustees. The Foundation is responsible for archival, digitization, cataloging and the preservation of materials. The Foundation will not be required to reimburse Marion Military Institute for office space, routine office supplies or telephone expenses.

The Archivist reports to and will be reviewed annually by the Director of Baer Memorial Library.

Duties and Responsibilities
  • Arrange and describe collections in the Archives.
  • Research and implement proper cataloging software for the Archives.
  • Explore and implement digitization and preservation options.
  • Implement/direct appraisal, data, box listings, and collection control information for materials received.
  • Develop/maintain content in inventories, finding aids and Web pages.
  • Perform preservation duties.
  • Conducts reference interviews with researchers and provide access to archival materials.
  • Retrieve archival records and manuscript materials for users.
  • Duplicate unrestricted materials at public request, i.e. photocopying, photo-duplication, digitizing, etc. in accordance with policies.
  • Provide instructional services both within and outside the Archives (including the classroom) to archival users and others including students, faculty, staff, community members, and outside researchers.
  • Develop, follow, implement, and consistently apply policies and procedures.
  • Work to increase public knowledge of materials in Archives through public programming and development of exhibits and web content.
  • Prepare exhibits for Archives and Library and provide public relations materials and photographs for exhibits and historical information for publication.
  • Assist in identifying appropriate grant sources for archival projects. Manage archive-related grant workflow including budget oversight and report preparation.
  • Monitor, control, and manage budget needs/funds assigned to position, and work with Foundation to request funding as necessary to ensure effective development of the collection and records.
  • Provide business and clerical functions for the Archives.
  • Performs related work as apparent or assigned.
  • Knowledge of effective management and decision-making skills.
  • Knowledge of archival procedures and protocol.
  • Ability to assess problems and seek practical solutions.
  • Ability to prioritize.
  • Ability to work effectively with others, both as a leader and as a team member, as well as on her/his own.
  • Ability to communicate clearly, both verbally and in writing, and to use electronic means (MS Office Suite, e-mail, blogs, etc.) to do so.
  • Willingness to participate in continuing education activities (conferences, workshops, journals) to stay abreast of trends within the profession and technological developments.
  • Master of Library Service, Archiving, or Museum Studies from an accredited institution or two (2) years experience in archive operation and management (preferred).
  • Experience with new and emerging technologies.
  • Willingness to explore technical options for organization, digitization and preservation.
  • The Archives is to be open two (2) days per week, eight (8) hours per day during the regularly scheduled hours of Baer Memorial Library through the school year. Over the summer, the Archives will be open one (1) day per week, eight (8) hours per day. The Archives will not be open over the winter holidays or spring break.
  • The archivist will be expected to attend special events, including but not limited to Alumni Weekend, Parents’ Weekend, Graduation & Commissioning, and the Military Hall of Honor Induction.
  • Compensation for this part-time position is $14.00 per hour.
To Apply

Application packets consist of:
All items need to be sent to:

Human Resources
Marion Military Institute
1101 Washington St.
Marion, AL 36756

Or e-mailed to:

Feel free to contact me ( with any questions.

Partial applications will not be accepted and application deadline is 12 September 2010.

This information is also available via the MMI web site at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

RADM Harold A. Houser '16: Governor of American Samoa

RADM Harold A. Houser, MMI 1916, served as the 35th Governor of American Samoa from 1945-1947. A native of Georgia, Houser attended Marion Military Institute from 1915-1916.

Harold Alexander Houser was born in Fort Valley, Georgia, on March 31, 1897, the son of Emmett and Mary Mathews Houser. Appointed to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on May 26, 1917, he graduated in the Class of 1921. Houser then embarked upon a distinguished career as a Naval officer which included posts in Panama, France, serving as a gunnery officer (Commander) aboard the USS Omaha (CL-4), and commanding (Captain) the Naval Air Station in Key West, Florida.

Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida. (Credit:

With the end of World War II, Harold Houser was appointed the 35th Governor of American Samoa in 1945, serving from September 10, 1945 - April 27, 1947. While governor, he represented the United States at a meeting of the major powers in the Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand. Houser became a Rear admiral following his governorship, and served on the staff of the U. S. Secretary of Defense. In 1949, he was appointed Director of the Office of Legislative Liaison at the Office of Legislative Affairs. Houser also served as legislative liaison of the Retired Officers Association (ROA).

American Samoa. (Credit:

RADM Harold A. Houser died of natural causes at the age of 84 on September 3, 1981, at the National Naval Medical Center. He is buried in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland. His wife, Vera Allen Houser, is buried beside him.

Graves of Harold and Vera Houser in the USNA Cemetery, Annapolis, MD. (Credit: USNA)