After 40 years working for the library as an assistant catalogue librarian, a periodical librarian, a reference librarian, and archivist, Edouard L. Desrochers is closing the book on his long career.
Desrochers, the dedicated archivist with a smile always present on his face, will retire at the end of the summer session in August. This will be the end of an era for the librarian at Phillip Exeter Academy’s school library.
When asked why he decided to retire from the school, he replied, “Well, it was about time for me. To spend time with five grandchildren and wife, and to do things that we put aside. Also, the library is expanding, as well as the archives, so I thought it would be fitting to let the next archivist do the next planned place.”
Desrochers also had a lot to say about the archives. When asked what the archives are, he said: “Well, archives can be the official place for the school. It’s either means the records of the institutions, and they could mean the place for the records as well. One would go to the archives to see the archives.”
When asked if he was a student adviser he said he was, with “4-7 advisees.”
Desrochers decided to do more than be interviewed. He decided to offer a tour of the archives itself.
In the archives, there were books upon books, as well as old records of school grades and attendance records over the years. There were hundreds if not thousands of written documents organized in sections, school records and student records, in the tiny room. One could spend a year just reading all that the archives have to offer.
Along a long table were pictures of previous heads of the school as well as a lot of official documents. There was a picture of the first head of the school, John Phillips, on the right hand side of the table, as well as a plaques on the wall above the table inside the room. The corridors and space between the shelves are large enough for a person to fit through and look over documents pulled from the archives, but narrow enough to fit hundreds upon hundreds of more school records on the shelves.
The experience was exhilarating, as if I were walking through a detailed history of Exeter Academy. It may be the best thing that one could witness if one went here, and had the chance to see the archives. Imagine sorting through the archives and seeing important figures like Abraham Lincoln’s own son, Robert Lincoln, or historical figures like U.S. Senator Daniel Webster or President Franklin Pierce — who all graduated from here, with records in the archives. And two people help organize and see all these amazing archives on a daily basis.
Desrochers, an amazing individual, is due to leave after the Summer School session, when he says that he aims to spend more time with his family. May you have a happy retirement, and thanks for your service of 40 years in the library of Exeter Academy!