Having tidied out a space for the RDJ archive, which now sits in splendour in boxes alongside the IMD archive, it's a question of where to begin. This is a BIG JOB.
We have a small team of volunteer archivists working on the project and have decided to start with creating a database of letters written by S.R.C.
To date we've gone through 100+ letters noting date written, place written, person written to as well as a thumbnail of content. These will form the basis of our letters database which hopefully will eventually become a digitised resource available on the Galloway Raiders website. But Crockett wrote a lot of letters!
It amazes many people how many novels he wrote - an average of 2 and a half a year for 20 years (and that's not counting many other articles) but for me the most incredible thing is to be able to write 10 or so letters a day (obviously not every day) on top of all this.
Many of Crockett's personal letters (to family etc) are lost but his side of the correspondence with a lot of people still exists - from R.L.S to Whistler to John MacMillan among others and these give great insight into his life.
We’ve also been looking through the A.P.Watt archive. This can be useful for trying to 'track' the life of a story from conception to printing. Much about Crockett's life is a mystery and piecing together the chronology if his work can be something of a detective story in and of itself - especially with his posthumously published work. A.P. Watt was Crockett’s agent and the communications between them are extensive. Mostly, of course, they deal with business matters such as contracts, fees and royalties, but there’s a lot more interesting detail to be had in them too. They can help in trying to work out earliest and latest possible dates of writing of some of Crockett's stories (particularly interesting when looking at the innovativeness of his 'style') The communication extends beyond Crockett’s death as his widow and daughter took over his literary estate and so there is information on his posthumous publishings including Rogues’ Island, and information about the film version of ‘Cinderella’.
And lastly, we're going to be working on getting the full 6 episodes of Crockett's last published serial 'Peter the Renegade' republished.
So you can see, it's all go at archive central. But the first lesson of archiving is - there's no short cuts. It's a slow process and we'll be here a while!