The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Salisbury in the bunker

My first encounter with the name Harrison Salisbury came during my second year at Amherst College. I had a job working for the library, and because I could read Russian, I was assigned to work out at "the bunker" - the offsite repository. The bunker was built under Bare Mountain in 1957 as a Strategic Air Command center: officers from Westover Air Force Base were meant to shelter there in case of nuclear attack. 

My job was to help catalog the papers of the famous Cold War journalist. I spent countless hours crouching over boxes, tucked in among the metal shelves of the repository. There I was, aware both that I was handling material of historical significance and that my job was do to nothing more than skim its surface - do just enough to make it discoverable to others.

It was a strangely pleasing task performed in a pleasingly lonely location. Under the mountain.

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