In researching Cornelia Shaw, I’ve come across several sources which cite her importance to the Davidson community – the Davidsonian wrote of her as a “most valuable friend to the college’, and her biographical page on the archives’ site emphasizes her close bonds with members of the student body.
The college’s perception of Shaw, while valuable, does not provide a very comprehensive picture of her. I’m curious what other groups and individuals – her family and her colleagues, for example – thought of Shaw, and I’ve tried to organize my database model around this question. For each of my sources, I asked myself whose opinion of Ms. Shaw the text mainly informs or reflects, then organized my sources into categories based on my conclusion. The sparsest category by far is “As Seen by Her Family,” since the college’s own sources on Shaw focus almost exclusively on Shaw herself, not her family members. I will likely need to look beyond the college archives to gather more info about the Shaw family. The last of my four groups is dedicated to capturing Shaw’s opinion of herself. Unless I magically stumble upon Shaw’s diary or autobiography, this category will likely be a tricky one to flesh out – for now, I’ve put in the things that she herself wrote. I may end up taking some poetic license here, as I try to tease out Shaw’s opinion of herself from her writings.