The quote below is from a 2002 email I never sent. It was for an email discussion group which was trying to put together a special issue of "The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities" devoted to therapeutic communities in both the United States and the U.K. The special issue itself didn't materialise:
When I began work as an archivist here I was sent to talk with Maxwell Jones in Canada about the future of his archives. My response was "Maxwell who?" But that was also my response when sent to talk to the son of George Lyward: "George who?" By which time I had been living and working with disturbed children in a residential therapeutic community for very nearly ten years. The Archive has now been here for thirteen going on fourteen years. The apparent depth and breadth of the field continues to expand; each new interview, each new archival accession, and to some extent the material coming into the library, pushes the foundations for the work beyond and then beyond again the received view of the field's history and boundaries. There is a small part of me that gets angry: "Why didn't I know about this before?" "Why didn't someone tell me this before?" I get upset about the lost connections, the people who have disappeared from the canon, who are occluded by the compartments in which people do the work (at least over here), including, perhaps most forcefully, the past-devouring compartment of "the present". I don't think I would get upset if it didn't matter, if it weren't so dangerous. If the Ignorance hadn't effectively destroyed so many therapeutic communities over here; as it seems to have done in the States.