Project Update: Digitizing the John Rhoden papers

Contributed by Hoang Tran, Project Director and Director of Archives

The team reached a project milestone this past week! We have digitized 2500 items! That means we’re 50% done with the digitization portion of the project.

Photographic prints and color slides make up the bulk of the records that have been digitized so far. Since Rhoden traveled extensively through Europe, Africa, and Asia, it has been an amazing experience viewing the exotic locations. The team also began cataloging portions of the digitized records which has been a great team building activity! For instance, since many of the slides were only identified by the country, we spent some time searching for the exact locations John visited. This required us to examine the smallest details within the images–signs, monuments, clothing, bus colors, trolley cars, license plates, etc. We also used Google Street View and Google Translate to help us figure out the specific sites/cities Rhoden visited.

Jahna (Assistant Archivist) was in charge of digitizing the slides documenting Russia. She was enamored with the country’s architecture. We all learned that “Onion Dome” was typically associated with Russian Orthodox churches.

As we continue digitizing Rhoden’s travel slides, we’re excited to get a chance to explore and learn more about the countries he visited (over 35!). Although the countries have changed so much since the 1950s-1960s, many of the buildings, landmarks, and monuments still remain.

This project, Rediscovering John W. Rhoden: Processing, Cataloging, Rehousing, and Digitizing the John W. Rhoden papers, is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency.


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: