About Expanding Common Ground

Expanding Common Ground is Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center's project to develop electronic, searchable inventories for the archival collections of noted public theologian Howard Thurman and his wife, Sue Bailey Thurman. The project began in July 2012 and was completed in June 2014. In addition to developing the searchable finding aids, the project included the digitization of the audio recordings of Dr. Thurman's lectures, sermons, and speeches and the development of the Howard Thurman Virtual Listening Room, where the audio recordings are made accessible to Thurman novice and enthusiast alike. The project was overseen by Vita Paladino, the Director of the Gotlieb Center, managed by Jamison Collier, and supervised by Ryan Hendrickson, Gotlieb Center Assistant Director for Manuscripts. Expanding Common Ground would not have succeeded had it not been for the enthusiastic assistance of a number of graduate student employees and interns. Expanding Common Ground has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

NEH Logo

The Legacy Begins: Howard & Sue Bailey Thurman at Boston University

Click here to read about the Thurman's Legacy at Boston University

BU Logo

HGARC Mission Statement

The mission of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center is to capture and document history by collecting the manuscripts from individuals who play a significant part in the fields of journalism, poetry, literature and criticism, dance, music, theater, film, television, and political and religious movements. We preserve the documents and make them readily available to researchers while administering all legal copyrights and restrictions.

We welcome researchers from all over the world and we present extensive exhibitions, seminars and tours for our students, parents and alumni as well as various visiting groups. We strive to be a source of education and enrichment for members of the University and local community as well as all our visitors.

Note from the Project Manager, Jamison Collier

It was both a joy and a privilege to dedicate two years to Expanding Common Ground. The Howard Thurman and Sue Bailey Thurman Collections are in many ways compendiums of the twentieth century. To manage this project was to sojourn in and search this century through the experiences of two spiritual giants. Words are inadequate to express my deep sense of gratitude to the graduate students, interns, scholars and colleagues who accompanied me on the journey. Researchers, scholars, students, and the general public will be enriched by creative encounters with the materials in these collections and by listening well to the growing edge of Howard Thurman's audio recordings.

- Jamison Collier

Expanding Common Ground Outreach

Fluker Group

The Howard Thurman and Sue Bailey Thurman Collections are guideposts on the search for common ground in human endeavors. The search for common ground was expanded by visits and collaborations with Walter E. Fluker's The Religious Thought of Howard Thurman class, the editors of the Howard Thurman Papers Project, and other authors, scholars, and graduate students.

Archive Manager

Archive Manager is a web based application currently under development at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University. Archive Manager was used in cataloguing both Thurman Collections and in the development of the digitized audio library. Archive Manager is a custom built content management system which allows archivists to enter descriptive metadata during the cataloguing process; manage digital objects; and create online searchable finding aids. The development of this application was a direct result of our experiences as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Archival Collaborative, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded cataloguing project. Archive Manager is designed to mesh with the Gotlieb Center's current policies and practices with regard to description and cataloguing. It also allows us to create a substantial authority file of Library of Congress standardized names and subjects linked to the descriptive data, making the finding aids searchable by scholars, patrons, and staff, using those standard terms.Cataloging collections with Archive Manager allows us to connect various people, places, thoughts and ideas; the value of the central authority file increases exponentially with each collection catalogued. Archive Manager is the "engine" that runs several Gotlieb Center projects including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Online Finding Aid, the Alistair Cooke Letter from America project, Partisan Review Online, and the newly developed international collaborative the Florence Nightingale Digitization Project.

Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman

Hours & Contact Information

The Center's main office is open:

Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. following the University Calendar.

Requests for applications, appointments, and questions can be sent to:

Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center
Boston University
ATTN: Public Service
771 Commonwealth Avenue,
Boston, Massachusetts 02215
Phone: 617-353-3696
Fax: 617-353-2838
E-mail: archives@bu.edu

Staff who worked on this project.

Vita Paladino HGARC Director and Principal Investigator
Jamison Collier Project Manager
Ryan Hendrickson Assistant Director for Manuscripts
Sean Noel Associate Director
J.C. Johnson Manager of Digital Archival Resources
William Gallagher Senior Systems Administrator
And the Staff of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center
Boston University Graduate Student Assistants
Hampton Fluker Derrick Muwina
Andrew Henry Kate Rogers
Brian Jenkin Rebecca Smith
Mary Little Apicella
Simmons Graduate Student Interns
Rebecca Baker Whitney Mallenby
Ashley Coren Elise Nickerson
Shane Gellerman Christina Stone
Just Engaged

Howard Thurman, n.d. , First Date, Painting, B.U. Bridge, Boston, MA