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"All Shook Up": The Archival Legacy of Terry Cook

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  • Edited by Tom Nesmith, Greg Bak, and

    Joan M. Schwartz

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  • “Archives touch our souls.”


    “A well ’a bless a my soul . . . I’m all shook up.”


    Like his favorite rock star Elvis Presley, the eminent Canadian scholar-archivist Terry Cook (1947–2014) had a knack for shaking things up. There’s an abiding lyricism in Cook’s contributions to the broad landscape of archival theory and practice. He was deeply passionate about archives and the people who cared for them, and his legacy resides in his holistic way of thinking about archives, memory, history, and society.

    “All Shook Up” explores this legacy. For the first time, thirteen of Cook’s groundbreaking articles are brought together in a single volume. They’re paired with commentaries by leading archival thinkers from several countries who reflect on his influence as a scholar, colleague, educator, and mentor. The articles span his career, starting with an initial foray into archival literature in 1979 and ending in 2013, a year before his death. The range is prodigious: the history/archives debate, archival appraisal, the post-custodial era, digital records, Indigenous peoples and justice with archives, the records continuum, postmodernism, and power, memory, and identity.

    In addition, three essays reveal ideas Cook honed as a graduate student that shaped his later archival thought, the eclectic reading he drew from his personal library, and his reflections during the final year of his life. The book also includes a comprehensive bibliography of his publications.

    "All Shook Up is relevant to archivists, records managers, librarians, curators, historians, and students in these disciplines—in short, anyone who has taken “the archival turn” and seeks to understand archiving as a complex human activity that shapes how we think and what we know and do. Cook’s essays are designed to “shake you up,” to inspire you to embrace the full human experience of archives, and to open that experience to others.

    Product Details

    Publisher: Society of American Archivists and Association of Canadian Archivists (2020)
    Paperback: 538 pages
    Product Dimension: 6x9 inches
    Weight: 1.5 pounds
    ISBN: 978-1-945246-30-2

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"All Shook Up"
  • "All archivists, along with scholars interested in history and culture, should read “All Shook Up”: first, either to renew an acquaintance with or to come to know for the first time Terry Cook: archivist, historian, scholar, teacher, and a true renaissance man of our time; second, to come to know his writing—to hear his voice. He calls us to see in the work of the archives—our work—tremendous possibilities, deeply complex questions, true interdisciplinary issues, challenging political entanglements, and a heritage of cultural activism.
    —Francis X. Blouin, Jr., American Archivist

    "I discovered myself re-thinking several of Cook’s formulations after reading Nesmith’s introduction and others’ contributions, as I suspect other readers will so too. It is not easy to compile the thought of such a prolific writer and wide-ranging intellectual as Terry Cook. This book achieves the task admirably."
    —Grant G. Mandarino, Journal of Western Archives

    "[I am] profoundly influenced by Cook's argument that the appraisal of records is 'a work of careful analysis . . . not a mere procedure.' It is vitally important for an archivist to keep up to date so that emerging needs and trends of the modern day researcher can be met."
    —William John Shepherd, Catholic Library World