MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
We hope you have had an enjoyable summer. Here in the Asheville area we have been spared the record heat and fires that some of you have endured in other parts of the country and abroad, and we hope that you are all safe and well. It seems that we are all challenged to remember that everything is in Baba’s hands.
The last few months have seen a lot of activity at MAC, with the addition of new staff and board members as well as steady progress in both archiving work and renovations at the building. We are at a point where the building progress is dramatic and visible on a daily basis, which is gratifying to everyone who has been working hard on all the details. We are on track to move in by the end of the year, and with your financial support we will be able to officially establish MAC in its new home soon. Please see more information below about our current fundraising campaign; we need your help.
We have also been continuing the process of transforming our governance model in which our general operations will be managed by an executive director, while the board will have more of an oversight and strategic planning role.
We have recently become aware of some questions about MAC’s relationship with the community and our vision for Baba-related events at MAC in the future. Please read the following message from the Board addressing this—we hope it offers some clarity. We look forward to a dynamic engagement with both the local and distant Baba community, and to seeing some of you at the SouthEast Gathering as well as at our Annual General Meeting on Oct. 2 when you will hear more about MAC and have an opportunity to interact with the Board.
In His Embrace,
Scott.Tower@meherarchive.org / 828.290.6972
A DECLARATION AND CLARIFICATION OF MAC’S PURPOSES
Meher Baba in Bangalore, February 1940 ©Meher Nazar Publications
With your help, MAC will be able to move into its headquarters by the end of the year, establishing a vibrant archive and hub for the long term preservation and sharing of Baba’s Divine Legacy.
Your contributions will also help lay the groundwork for a variety of Baba-related programs and activities.
We would like to thank everyone who has so far contributed to our current Fundraising Campaign, bringing in over $32,900 in the first month. This is 13% of our goal.
Donations can be made via the link below, or by check to P.O. Box 18908, Asheville, NC 28814
DONATE TO MAC
In Baba’s Love and Service,
Scott Tower, Evie Lindemann, and Jean Brunet
FROM THE ARCHIVE COLLECTION
Letter with Baba’s Signature, ca. 1941, Jack Mormon Collection, Donated to MAC in 2020
What I donated to MAC is an Indian equivalent of an 8 ½ x 11 type-written piece of paper. It was probably typed by Feram Workingboxwala. How Baba used to communicate with people changed over the years. In His later days He communicated via the Family Letters. Before that He had the New Life Circulars, and before that He had the Life Circulars. But before the Life Circulars, the way He communicated with groups of people like “Meherabad Hill” (those who lived on Meherabad Hill) or “EliKit” (Elizabeth and Kitty), would be to dictate a letter and then have a mandali member type up the letter with carbon paper behind each sheet so that up to 6 or 7 sheets could be typed at a time. And then Baba signed it. I showed Mani this letter and others like it, and asked her if Baba signed through the carbon or signed each sheet of paper individually. She raised her index finger and proclaimed that Baba signed each sheet of paper, “for authority”! So even though the letter might not be the one on the top, it’s an original. What you have is not only signed by Baba, it is touched by Baba.
This is how I got the letter: In the 70s I visited India many times and I would sit with Mansari in upper Meherabad as often as I could. She would sit in a wooden chair that Baba had sat on. It's now called Mehera’s kitchen but I always remember it was Mansari’s kitchen because that is where she lived. Right next to the chair was a trunk. Because I always collected first edition Baba books, one day I asked Mansari if she had any first edition Baba books. She said, “No, I don’t have any, but you might do me a favor, I have been waiting for the right person to come along. I have this trunk that is sitting next to me and it's full of things, the white ants have eaten a lot of it. Why don't you go to town, buy a couple of suitcases, take a look at the things, fill the suitcases up and take it all away, and it will be off my chest.” The letter that MAC now has was a gift to me from Mansari from that time.
The Importance of Making an Inventory and Recording the Stories of Your Collection
by Claire Barrett MLIS, Archives Manager
It is also helpful to provide additional information for special items, particularly for a collection you plan to donate. If you have a particularly precious treasure, such as a lock of Meher Baba’s hair or a book with his signature, describe how it came to you in your inventory. Detailing the history of an item–where it came from, the chain of ownership of the item–helps prove that your one-of-a-kind item is original, as well as filling in details someone might not be able to know just by looking at the item. The more detailed you can be with this type of information, the better. Any stories you can provide about your items will help make our catalog more robust and useful. But even a simple list will be met with appreciation.
If you’d like any help writing an inventory for your collection, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. We’ll be more than happy to assist you in this crucial step of preservation, our shared goal is to keep these treasures safe. Even if the inventory is just for you and your heirs, we're here to give tips on how to make an effective and detailed list of treasures.
After Four Long Years — We are Getting Ready to Occupy the Building
Hurrah! All of the necessary inspections at this stage of construction have been completed. We are now in the process of installing sheetrock to enclose all the walls which have been insulated and sound proofed.
When that work is finished the painting will begin, the floors will be sanded and doors and locks installed. The journey has been long but the building reconstruction under Peter Nordeen’s guidance is better than when it was new.
Providing easy access for older Baba lovers by the installation of a lift is a priority. Our estimated cost is $45,000. We have received a dedicated grant of $10,000 towards this, and have completed the preparation of the lift shaft. If you are inclined to also make a specific donation for this lift from the first to the second floor, please DONATE here and specify “lift” in the message field.
A BIG WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST MAC TEAM MEMBERS!
Claire Barrett, Archive Manager
Claire is personally and professionally dedicated to making informational resources more accessible for the general public. After receiving a BFA in art history from SCAD she went on to get an MLIS degree from UNCG. During her years as a student Claire became enamored by the archival world and its work in the preservation of artifacts. Her goal as an archivist is to make the archival world less intimidating for those seeking to learn. While she is new to the world of Meher Baba she has found the people of the community warm and welcoming, and finds the work she does for MAC to be meaningful.
John Giusto, Transitional Consultant
John became MAC's Transitional Consultant in August 2022. John was trained and practiced as a traditional Western medical doctor in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation. John’s medical career came to a close with his own environmental illness. That was when Meher Baba took over in earnest and John began to live a New Life in obedience and service to Baba’s inner direction. He has worked on construction projects for the Heartland Center, Meherana, and Meherazad. When he moved to Asheville, John volunteered for MAC first with the construction team at the MAC Building and then worked with MAC's board members on the governance committee. As MAC's newest staff member, John is providing insight and direction to the transition of MAC’s organizational structure.
Laurent Weichberger, Board of Directors
Laurent Weichberger came to Baba in 1986 in Manhattan, New York. Since then he has been involved in various Meher Baba activities including working at Meher Mount, in Ojai, California, and writing books for Baba. He also worked with Don Stevens on a number of book and seminar projects (between 2002 and Don's passing in 2011). Laurent is a Senior Enterprise Customer Success Manager for Data Quality at an international software company. He is a software developer and specializes in Big Data. Laurent lives in Asheville, NC, with his wife, Vanessa, two of their five children, and their cat, Khadija.
IN TOUCH WITH MEHER ARCHIVE COLLECTIVE — CHERISHING MEHER BABA’S LEGACY
Join us on MAC’s platform on Baba Zoom
Topics include preserving Baba treasures, archiving at home, collaborative efforts to increase awareness of Baba’s advent, and interviews of MAC volunteers and staff members, as well as researchers and archivists from around the world. To visit our most recent and past episodes please go to our YouTube channel, Meher Archive Collective - YouTube. Please join us here for our live meetings: Virtual Meetings – Meher Baba Family. Our next events will be on Saturdays at 11:00 A.M. (EDT), on Sept. 24, Oct. 29, Nov. 12, and Dec. 10.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT— NEW DATE
Please join us on November 13th, 2022 at 4:00 - 5:30 PM (EDT)
Meet our Construction Staff Members Jamie Zimmerman and Connor McCauley
Interview by Jeanne Felknor
Chances are you might have come out to the MAC Building and have run into these guys. So we thought it might be nice if you get to know them a little better. Jamie, tell us where you are from and how you got involved in this project and what kind of journey it’s been? What a journey from where we started to where we are!
Jamie: It certainly has been! I am originally from Connecticut, but I grew up in Florida. I got involved in the project through my dad, Fred, who has been a Baba lover for many years, so I was part of the community growing up. I needed some work and you all needed some help so here I am, and it's pretty incredible how far the project has come along since I started, almost two years ago now. It's almost unrecognizable from where we started, so it's definitely been quite an adventure.
Lots to have experienced, huh? For example, what?
Jamie: All the different varieties of projects we do in the building, it’s so extensive. We have had the opportunity to gain so much different knowledge and many skills, especially working with Peter (Peter Nordeen) who has a wealth of knowledge.
How was that plumbing experience?
Jamie: Uhhh….I’m not going to say it was a nightmare, it was fun (laughs). Very complicated, at moments frustrating, but rewarding at the end.
Connor: I’m an electrician from central West Virginia. I came down to visit James last January, saw the project and was immediately interested. I called him pretty much the next week after I got home and asked him if I could come and work and I got the okay. I have been here since April of last year. The project has been great. James said just about everything I would have said. It can be frustrating at times but I'm learning a ton from Peter and we get to do everything; everything you see we get to do.
Just like the Army, the toughest job you ever love. How many feet of wire have been installed so far?
Connor: Thousands and thousands of feet.
Jamie: Just the security camera wire was almost 4000 ft. There's gotta be about 10,000 ft of wire installed in this building so far.
Any parting words for our community?
Jamie: Keep your head in it.
Connor: Come check out the progress.
Jamie: Come out and help!
Yes, if you know how to "mud" come and help!
Jamie: If you just know how to use a vacuum, come and help!
Community Programs & Fundraising Events
Thank you so much Alisa!
MAC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MAC’s MISSION STATEMENT
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News, blogs, and updates on interesting archival finds and events.