Papers of Christine Meadows, Curator
Scope and Contents
The Papers of Christine Meadows contain the work files of the curator, representing daily administrative tasks as well as career-long research topics. The collection includes correspondence, reports, memos, inventory lists, research files with photocopied references, and remarks or presentations. The majority of the material reflects the years Ms. Meadows served as curator, 1960 to 1997, but several folders hold documents prior to her tenure as curator. She most likely inherited these files from the previous curator, Helen Fede, who is also named as a creator of this collection. The inclusive dates are 1869 to 1997.
- Majority of material found within 1960-1997
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research during scheduled appointments. Researchers must complete the Washington Library’s Special Collections and Archives Registration Form before access is provided. The library reserves the right to restrict access to certain items for preservation purposes.
Conditions Governing Use
Material can be reproduced for study or personal use upon written approval from library staff.
Biographical / Historical
Christine Meadows (née Mary Christine Meadows) was born in Brunswick, Maryland on March 2, 1932 to Dr. Stanley Joseph and Katherine Gardner Meadows. Christine earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Notre Dame College of Maryland and completed graduate coursework at William and Mary College before becoming an elementary school teacher in Frederick, Maryland. Her career at Mount Vernon began in 1960 when she was hired as a library assistant. In the library, Christine helped catalog and reorganize the library’s collections including the books, manuscripts, files, pamphlets, prints, and drawings. She also began a decades-long devotion to researching all things pertaining to Washington and Mount Vernon. When the estate’s curator, Helen Fede left her position in 1964, Christine was promoted to fill her place and continued in this role for the next 33 years. Her responsibilities included the acquisition of new Washington or period artifacts, care of the historical collections, supervision of the cleaning and maintenance in the Mansion and outbuildings, curating exhibits in the museum, and special research projects such as publications. Christine was well-known and respected in her field. During her tenure, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association acquired valuable, original Washington pieces and the Mansion underwent a major paint analysis and update. Her extensive research and dedication to authenticity were particularly beneficial to the Association. She also worked closely with several committees including the Accession Committee, the Annual Report Committee, the Museum Committee, and the Household Committee. Her substantial knowledge on the Washingtons, the early American period, and the collections at Mount Vernon put her in high demand as a speaker and presenter on these topics. Upon announcing her retirement in 1997, the MVLA Board hosted a farewell dinner in her honor and the Council minutes noted “The consensus of the evening was that Miss Meadows will always be remembered for her scholarship and knowledge, and with special affection for her humor and inspiration to scores of Vice Regents, but most importantly for her devotion to Mount Vernon and her dedication to preserving the collection and the institution, and the world of George Washington.” She was named Curator Emerita of Mount Vernon, assisting with research for important projects and sharing her long institutional memory with staff. Christine Meadows passed away on January 19, 2013 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
12.5 Linear Feet (30 Hollinger boxes)
Language of Materials
The collection is organized into five series, closely following the original breakdown of files by Christine Meadows with exceptions only for clarification or consistency purposes. Folders are organized in alphabetical order by folder title throughout the collection, and then chronologically. The series are as follows:
Series 1. Administration Series 2. Collections Management Series 3. Committees Series 4. Research Series 5. Subject Files
This collection was initially reviewed by a former employee or volunteer, Ani DiFazio, who listed and described the contents of each box of records. This first pass was used to reassess and better arrange the material to create more consistency while keeping the essence of the original order according to DiFazio’s list. The summaries of file contents have been kept and are included in the scope note for individual folders in the ArchivesSpace finding aid online. Some duplicated and/or outdated information was weeded from the collection during final processing.
First pass and cursory finding aid created by Ani S. DiFazio, 2001. Final arrangement and description completed by volunteer Candace Cowan and Rebecca Baird, archivist, 2023.
- Papers of Christine Meadows
- Rebecca Baird, Archivist
- February 2023
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description