Videos Up: Week of May 29th

It has been a busy week at the Brevard County Historical Commission! The best news is that I was able to successfully upload the Marian Grant and Mercer Livermore King videos to YouTube! These are the first videos I’ve uploaded that I worked on from start to finish.

This involves:

  • converting from DVD to MP4
  • editing the video for sound quality and scene continuity in Adobe Premiere
  • exporting the finished file
  • sending off for transcriptions/timestamping
  • editing the transcription for accuracy
  • writing YouTube descriptions
  • uploading to YouTube itself!

Checking the transcriptions for accuracy is the trickiest part. I don’t know all the spellings for people and businesses, so I have to carefully comb through the city directories for clues. Here’s a peek at the library’s collection:

Brevard County City Directories
Where to find pertinent information about residents from past decades

Love the old ad from the Indian River Hotel!
More city directories

It’s important to get the transcripts as accurate as possible for future researchers who may utilize these interviews as primary sources. Often times looking up these names and references leads to learning interesting tidbits about history. For example, while editing the Mercer Livermore King interview she referenced a “chic sale” on the beach when she was there to witness a rocket launch. The term chic sale took some investigating, but actually turned out to be a colloquial term for an outhouse! It originated from a comedian Charles “Chic” Sale, who wrote a book titled The Specialist. It was all about a man who sells outhouses! I thought that was an amusing little piece of history.


Here are the links to the Grant and King interviews if you would like to check them out:

I also finished editing the Edward Poe interview this week, which I started last week. Mr. Poe’s interview focuses mostly on the history of Titusville, where his father owned the Poe Grocery Store. Mr. Poe developed a lot of land in the area as well as worked for the The Indian River Citrus League. Interestingly, he also built the first Burger King in Brevard County.

I enjoy hearing about the development of the county and its businesses, even if it is just the first Burger King! After all, these types of things have lasting cultural effects on the community.

I have started editing a new oral history this week as well, for Victoria Raymond. She also worked in the radio business like Mercer Livermore King. Here is a link to a short bio about her.


In other news, I also spent some time working with the microfilm machine again. I was researching another obituary for Mr. Boonstra. He told me that a lot of times they are contacted by estate companies searching for heirs. It was my first time using the machine by myself, but I’m happy to say that I managed just fine!

Microfilm Machine
Researching obituaries

Another interesting side project was looking for some old photos from the Florida Today newspaper. Unfortunately, the files we have were given to the Brevard County Historical Commission in disarray. The Florida Today was actually going to throw them out, so they had to be salvaged and organized by volunteers. It was sad seeing all those photos and documents being labeled as disposable, but it’s ironic that the paper now has a need for some of these old files and photos housed here.

An image requested by the Florida Today from their old files
Left over documents from the Florida Today that were not relevant to Brevard County

Well that about wraps up this week! I’ll be back next week editing the new Victoria Raymond transcript and uploading the Edward Poe video soon!

Until next time!

-Heather Pierce


Time to Edit: Week of May 22nd

Hello, everyone!

At the conclusion of the second week of my internship I have had the chance to learn how to complete new steps of the oral history project. This includes the process of editing interview footage in Adobe Premiere and editing video transcriptions for accuracy.

The Main Public Area

While I have never worked with the Adobe program before, I’m enjoying learning as I go–especially since there are many useful features. My main focus is cutting out awkward pauses and tape changes, adjusting volume levels, and ensuring the correct formatting of the exported file. The most important task with the older videos, such as the Marian Grant and Mercer King interviews, is adjusting the volume levels. Since these videos were recorded originally on VHS, their quality is not always the best.

This week I edited both the Marian Grant and the Mercer Livermore King interviews in the Adobe program, which meant I could send them off to be transcribed. The videos are outsourced to be professionally transcribed and returned in a document format; I then edit the transcripts for accuracy. This usually means picking out errors in local names of people or places that the transcriber may not be familiar with. This process can be time consuming, especially if the interview contains a lot of these types of references, like the Mercer King interview. In this case, was the first tool I used to look up names, but on Thursday I was introduced to the city directories housed in the library space itself. These are tremendously useful because they contain names of people, local businesses, addresses, and other pertinent information about who’s who and what’s what in the local area. I’ve been using directories from the 1950’s and the 1960’s to cross reference the information in the interviews with the transcriptions. (I particularly enjoy looking at the old advertisements!)

Editing transcripts can be a messy process

It has certainly been an adventure this week since my boss, Mr. Boonstra, has been on vacation. However, the other people who work and volunteer her have been extremely kind in helping me, especially Martha, the Archivist Assistant here. She even invited me to attend the monthly meeting of the Brevard County Historical Commissioners, which was held on Tuesday May 22nd. It was really cool hearing from the people who work so closely to preserve and protect our county’s history. Topics included the reclaiming and renovating of neglected historic homes in Titusville, the plans for the next issue of the Indian River Journal, important archaeological finds in the area, and even my own comments on the progress of the oral history project.

(Check out the historic articles in the Indian River Journal here.)

The videos for Marian Grant and Mercer Livermore King will be live on YouTube shortly with their corresponding descriptions I was also able to research and write this week. I also selected the next interview subject, Edward Poe, a Titusville man. I will continue editing his video next week.

Some of the oral histories

One last thing I did this week was search for a local person’s obituary from 2004, which was requested by a patron in Titusville. To do this, I used the microfilm machine to look at the archived issues of the Florida Today that are kept at the library. It was a great exercise in learning how to operate the microfilm reader, and I was able to locate a death notice for the individual. I hope I am able to continue working with the microfilm reader during my internship here; it’s as close to a time machine as you can get!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!

Thanks for reading!

-Heather Pierce

Introductions: Week of May 15th


Welcome to my historical internship blog! My name is Heather Pierce. This blog will document the projects I work on during my internship with the Brevard County Historical Commission located in Cocoa, FL. My supervisor will be Mr. Michael Boonstra, the resident Archivist and Genealogist. I am a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida with my BA degree in history with a minor in anthropology. I love history and am very honored to have this opportunity to serve as an Archives Assistant primarily working on Brevard County’s oral history project.

(Even though I am not required to keep this blog, I want to document the things I’ll be learning and provide a resource for others interested in similar projects!)

Hello! My name is Heather Pierce

I was born and raised in Florida and have also had the privilege of serving as an Educational Resources Intern with the Florida Historical Society as an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida in 2015. I was tasked with creating original educational modules focusing on Florida history. These modules feature primary documents from the collections at the Florida Historical Society to create an educational resource for classrooms that incorporate important Common Core and Sunshine State educational standards. The three modules I designed include three correlating topics: Slavery in Florida, The Civil War Soldier, and Reconstruction in Florida. These modules can be found online at the Florida Historical Society’s website by clicking here. You can read about my experiences at that internship by clicking here.

During my first week at the Brevard County Historical Commission I was introduced to the type of projects I will be working on during my time here. The first of which is the oral history project. The county has both archived and ongoing oral histories they keep at their location in the Central Brevard Library in Cocoa, FL. These interviews feature the stories and recollections of members of the local community as told in their own words. Often the subjects are older individuals who have valuable insight into the early days of living in the area. The first interview I watched was of a man named William Jackson Vaughn who will shortly be turning 103 years old! I was astonished at the incredible memory he had of the area and was happy to know his stories will now be able to live on for future residents and scholars to enjoy and utilize. While his interview and transcription were already edited and ready to upload, I was able to write the YouTube description for the video and get it successfully uploaded. It can be found here.

The front of the Central Brevard Library and Research Center where the Brevard County Historical Commission is housed.

The process of working with old, archived interviews involves converting old VHS tapes to DVD, then to MP4 files. These files then must be edited for length and content using Adobe Premier, sent to be transcribed, have the corresponding transcriptions edited for accuracy, and finally uploaded to YouTube and given proper descriptions. The in-progress oral histories have more steps including doing background research on the subject, drafting questions, meeting with the subject to conduct the interview, and then edited and uploaded like the older files. I am excited to learn more about this process and be able to witness a project from start to finish.

Old documents in the archive

This week I worked on two older interviews, both recorded in 1994. The first was a woman name Marian Grant, who was born in 1907 in Charleston, SC and came to Brevard County as a small girl and settled in Merritt Island. The second subject was a woman named Mercer Livermore King, who moved to Brevard in 1946 and became an extremely prominent broadcaster and journalist in the community. More information about this incredibly outspoken and entertaining woman can be found here.

I am learning to use the video processing programs in order to get videos ready to be sent for transcription. These include VideoPad and Adobe Premier. I will be learning about the editing process of transcriptions next week.

My work station.

I am looking forward to learning a lot here and will update this blog frequently to document my progress!

Thank you for reading!

-Heather Pierce