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Access Policies & Procedures
Archives of the Orgone Institute
- Like many scholarly archives, the Archives of the Orgone Institute are not open to the general public. Access policies and procedures for any archive reflect the preferences of the donor of the collection and the facility in which the collection is deposited.
Consequently, some archives are open to the public at large and many are not, and specific access policies and procedures vary from one collection to the next. Serious scholars and researchers with any archival experience are well aware of this.
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust has opted for more restrictive access to these materials for three major reasons:
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust in Rangeley, Maine has the sole authority for providing access to the Archives. Anyone making inquiries to the Countway Library regarding access will be directed to contact the Trust.
- To ensure, to the best of our ability, high standards of intellectual honesty and professional integrity among those accessing Reich’s Archives.
- To better maintain the physical integrity of the archival materials.
- To safeguard the factual truth, authorship, and future uses of what is a significant collection of unpublished scientific work.
Scholars and researchers who wish to access the Archives will apply to the Trust’s 3-person Archive Committee by following the Access Procedures listed below.
Applicants should not consider The Archives of the Orgone Institute as a first “point of contact” with Reich’s life and legacy. This is inappropriate for any scholarly archive. Access to the Archives will be limited to scholars and researchers whose previous and current projects and work display significant knowledge of currently available published materials by Reich.
Today, over 7000 pages of Reich’s writings and publications are publicly available, including 21 books published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, and the Trust’s reprints of Reich’s research journals, bulletins, and other literature. These primary sources are sold at The Wilhelm Reich Museum Bookstore.
Applicants should review the catalog of Reich’s available literature to determine whether the information they’re seeking in the Archives is already accessible in these other primary sources.
Applicants will be expected to have demonstrated intellectual honesty and integrity in their scholarship and research regarding Reich. Which does not preclude honest disagreements or differences of opinion. While no one would argue with anyone’s fundamental right to debate, discuss, or offer contrary opinions about Reich’s life and legacy, ensuring the correctness of basic facts about Reich requires more objective, stringent criteria.
Disseminating misstatements and distortions of verifiable, publicly available facts on any subject demeans the intrinsic purpose of true scholarship. For example, today—50 years after Reich’s death—people are still claiming that he was promoting the orgone accumulator as a cure for cancer or as a sexual device for achieving orgastic potency, despite Reich’s published statements to the contrary. Those who continue to disseminate these and other falsehoods are either intellectually dishonest or intellectually lazy, two qualities that have always undermined truth and genuine knowledge.
Applicants should keep in mind that civility and good manners count. Over the years, many people have considered personal and public attacks against the Trust as acceptable behavior, and threats to the well-being of the Trust and the Archives as appropriate subjects of discussion.
Such conduct is neither acceptable nor appropriate.
Differences of opinion are an inevitable part of human nature and honest discourse. But expressing one’s disagreements in the form of malicious gossip, invective, and personal slander is a conscious choice and violates the precepts of useful scholarship and dialogue.
The Archive Committee will review all applications and respond accordingly.
The Trust will contact the Countway Library staff who will arrange visits for those who will be studying archival materials. The Library staff will coordinate visits to accommodate the schedules of scholars and researchers, as well as the limited number of people allowable in Holmes Hall at one time.
Because of its small staff and its many obligations to its other medical collections, it is the policy of the Countway Library's Center for the History of Medicine to allow no more than 100 photocopies per visitor. So please adjust your expectations accordingly in terms of the amount of requested materials in your application. Although this policy is the Countway's and not The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust's, we do not apologize for this policy, we do not disagree with it, and we do not hide behind it. We are completely comfortable with this restriction and grateful for it, as it provides added protection for these materials and for the Trust.
Holmes Hall is the Reading Room at the Countway’s Center for the History of Medicine where people study materials from all of the Center’s collections. The room has limited seating and workstations. Materials from the Archives of the Orgone Institute will be brought out to this room for scholars and researchers to study.
All materials in the Archives will not necessarily be accessible at all times. There are several reasons for this:
Copyright title and publishing rights to all materials in the Archives of the Orgone Institute are held by The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust. Permission to publish must come through the Trust.
- Ongoing archival work by the Trust and the Countway Library, requiring the periodic reorganization of materials.
- Specific projects by the Trust, requiring the use of specific archival materials.
- The Trust’s need to identify, discuss, and resolve key issues regarding Reich’s unpublished scientific work.
- The Countway Library of Medicine's guidelines and restrictions regarding patient files and medical records, which are in compliance with federal laws governing privacy and protection of health information.
- Technological limitations (for example, the Countway does not currently have capabilities for listening to audiotapes or watching films and videos).
Applications for access to the Archives of the Orgone Institute may be submitted to The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust either electronically (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via regular mail:
WILHELM REICH INFANT TRUST
ATTENTION: ARCHIVE COMMITTEE
P.O. BOX 687
RANGELEY, ME 04970
For those using regular mail, please submit three (3) copies of your application. Applications should include the following information:
- CURRICULA VITA, including:
YOUR RESEARCH PROJECT
- Professional / Employment history
- Professional affiliations
- A list of all Reich-related published work (both print and online) that you have contributed to in any way. Include copies of any print publications if they are not available online.
- A list of other published work (print or online) that you feel best represents your research and scholarship experience. Include samples of this work if they are not available online.
- A list of the URLs of any websites containing any Reich-related material that you have contributed to in any way.
ARCHIVAL MATERIALS OF INTEREST
- A detailed description (2 –4 pages) of your project and its aims, including footnotes of primary materials you are currently using or have consulted in the past.
Please make it clear in your footnotes—by citing relevant page numbers and not merely the titles of entire works—that you are fully conversant with currently-available published primary sources. The more specific you can be, the better.
- Describe how you think (or hope) your research and your project contributes to further understanding of Reich’s life and legacy.
- From the online INDEX OF THE ARCHIVES OF THE ORGONE INSTITUTE identify specific materials you wish to study by citing each of the following:
If later you wish to work with other materials than first requested, this will require a separate application with a rationale for why those materials are pertinent.
- Describe the significance of these archival materials to your research and project.
- Tell us your preferred schedule for visiting the Countway Library.
- Keeping in mind that the Countway’s hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., how many days do you anticipate you will need for studying relevant material in the Archives?
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