Did you know that we have one of the five WSA Archives in Phoenix? In 1977, Bapak designated there should be five international archive centers, the main one in Indonesia, with back-up collections in England, the United States, Australia, and Japan. Mary Thompson, the archivist in England, sent large tin trunks to each international archives center with a set of Subud books and publications. That was the beginning and we still have the trunk and much more.
When Subud started to spread out into the world, committees, helpers, and members wrote to Bapak for advice and guidance. Wisma Subud collection is about a quarter million papers that hold the history of Subud, including about 84,000 pages of letters to and from Bapak, reports of national committees and zones, helper reports from all over the world, World Congress papers, photographs, films and videos, and, of course, Bapak’s writings and his talks in edited and unedited forms. It also contains 20,000 letters in the Ibu Rahayu Collection of her correspondence with the membership from 1987 to current times and her talks which we still look forward to hearing.
The international archives for the USA ended up in Phoenix because I am a professional archivist and volunteered to take on the job of collection, preserving, managing, and providing access to archives in Area 1 and Zones 7, 8, & 9. I had gone to Indonesia after Bapak’s passing to be the archivist at Wisma Subud from 1987-1992, returning to the United States to continue my career as an archivist and librarian. I have been working with Subud archives for 26 years.
At the Puebla World Congress, the 5 international archivists met daily to discuss the future of the archives about which Ibu Rahayu has recently said:
“So, it seems that people are being led to have more understanding about the soul. That is why I have explained that the archives are the source for Subud. They should be preserved for all time, because as long as we have the archives and they are professionally managed, Subud will not lose its source.” Ibu Rahayu’s Explanations during Wisma Subud Heritage Protection Project Meeting, Cilandak, 30 Jul 2013, 13 CDK 2.
The critical issues facing the five WSA Archives has to do with our tenuous place in the organizational structure. The short term of 4-years stretches that the World Subud Association operates under makes it hard to secure funding for continuous work and long-term projects. Every four years, we have to re-negotiate with the new WSA administration about our projects. Without consistent funding, the Subud Archives work is at a disadvantage. At Congress, the archivists came to the conclusion that we needed a more independent structure for the WSA Archives, such as a foundation to support our activities and one that would help us secure more consistent funding.
Our resolution to explore the formation of an archive foundation was eventually passed unanimously by the Puebla Congress delegates after three tries and a working party. By the grace of God, WSA Archives will move swiftly forward towards ensuring the preservation of its records, the story of Subud across the years, and above all the words and voice of Bapak and Ibu Rahayu forever.
Daniela Moneta, WSA Archivist USA