An archive for The Little Sisters of Joy, now an international Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation, was conceived during a visit to Paris in 2007. Gila’s great friend, a former student at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK, Alexia, took her to meet a local archivist at an institute near Villecresnes, 40 miles outside Paris. The archivist made several helpful suggestions.
This chain of wisdom continued on Gila’s return to Cambridge when an archivist, now retired, at Westminster United Reformed College, a theological institute affiliated to the University of Cambridge, was kind enough to give practical advice on how to set up a unique archive for The Little Sisters of Joy.
But it was not until about four years ago, in 2013, that the archive found a permanent home. It was due to the generosity of Mr Jakes, former Head of Local studies at the Cambridgeshire Collection within the Cambridge Central Library, who recognised that Gila’s Project, officially founded in Cambridge in 1999, where Gila has lived for nearly 30 years, was worthy of being in the Cambridgeshire Collection. The collection is now run by Mrs. Caroline Clifford, with the help of her two assistants, Mary and Celia.
Established in 1855, the Cambridgeshire collection is a major research library. It contains a wide variety of information and resources on Cambridgeshire and its history. The archive of The Little Sisters of Joy is unique in that it has a strong international dimension, and its remit of Peace and Reconciliation covers many countries as well as the UK, especially Canada and Israel and including The Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Hungary and France.
The material in the archive is very varied. There is a Biography of The Little Sisters of Joy up to the present day (and continuously being extended) from its foundation in 1999. Gila Margolin’s key writings are present, along with copies of the Foundational Statement, revised in 2004, and copies of her memoirs, published in 2006 and 2014. (Canada 2015). Every journey is recorded with a file of places and people, sometimes with photos, and concert programmes, posters and related material is also there.
The Cambridgeshire Collection is open to all, free of charge: family historians, students, historians and those researching Cambridgeshire, its people and its history for their own pleasure and interest.
The archive of The Little Sisters of Joy can be accessed in THE CAMBRIDGESHIRE COLLECTION, on the 3rd floor of The Cambridge Central Library, Cambridge, UK