History Club archives World War II era supplies


Jessie Wang

History Club advisor Roxana Pianko helps history club co-president Aryana Far (11) archive supplies from the trunk of World War II era supplies. The four trunks were brought to Pianko from Romania to the U.S. by a friend, who bought them at an auction.

by Jessie Wang, Reporter

History Club will be creating a Google Doc digital finding aid containing detailed information on a specific set of records for items contained within four trunks as part of their ongoing World War II era supplies archival work. The trunks belonged to two brothers who fought for the U.S. during World War II.

The club will also be attempting to find the closest living relatives of the brothers, so as to return the burial flags and assorted medals in the trunks.

Through this project, club members will learn about the job of archivists as well as the applications of archival studies.

“I think it’s interesting because usually, people don’t get to do this until they get to college,” History Club member Eva Chang (10) said. “For me personally, I really like looking at items that have a story behind them that you might not see when you first look at them. It’s especially relevant to me because we’re learning about World War II [in history class], and that is the time where the trunks are from, so I think [the project will] help us understand the period better and add on to what we learned in class.”

Jessie Wang
History Club co-president Aryana Far (11) considers different documents and photos in front of her. History Club advisor Roxana Pianko brought the trunks to Harker after obtaining them from a friend in Romania, who bought the four capsules at an auction.

History Club advisor Roxana Pianko obtained the trunks from a friend in Romania, her home country, who, roughly a decade ago, bought the four trunks at an auction.

“[My friend] knows that I like history. For the past two or three years, anytime I saw her, we would just end up talking about this collection,” Pianko said. “Last year, I mentioned the history club, and she said, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could make some sense of these four trunks,’ and I said, ‘Actually, that would be really awesome.’ I have a degree in archival studies, and I haven’t had the chance to do something like this for years, so it’s really exciting.”

History Club plans to visit the Harker archives to learn about finding aids. The students will then break up into groups, with each group responsible for a specific component of three of the trunks. Pianko is leaving the fourth as a surprise for when the club is done.

“It’s an opportunity that not many high school students get,” History Club co-president Aryana Far (11) said. “There are Purple Hearts, burial flags and really amazing photographs in the trunks, and the fact that we have access to this incredible set of old artifacts is mind-blowing to me. We’re going to learn a lot about history that may not be in the textbooks. It’s going to be really fun, and I’m very humbled to be able to experience this.”

The project is expected to carry on into the 2018-2019 school year. Since no members of the club will be graduating this year, all will be able to see this project through to completion.

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on March 6, 2018.