Earlier today I mentioned an e-mail list I participated in back in 1992, the Clinton@Marist list. Formed in August of ’92, it was the first use I know of by a presidential campaign of the Internet. Part discussion list, part campaign coordination tool, part rapid response vehicle – hard as it is to believe, it was politics on the Internet before there was a Web. (No, really.) The list had a profound impact on my early political involvement, and led to some friendships I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. (GMP, may you rest in peace.)
Over the years, I’ve looked online to see if the archives were available on the web. Turns out they are, but only back to 1995… and I was active on the list in ’92 and ’93. Well, spurred on by my own recollections this afternoon, I checked out the Marist website, and sure enough, Lee Sakkas (the founder and owner of the Clinton@Marist list back in ’92) is still at Marist, and she wrote back this evening with an FTP site where I could log in and download the archives. Even more shocking? The original Clinton@Marist list lives on… over 1500 posts this month! Lee tells me there are some of the original subscribers still on the list, which fascinates me.
What a blast. I’ve downloaded August of 1992 through January of 1993, and appear to have crashed the FTP server. (Sorry, Lee!) Hopefully it’ll get back up and I can resume my retrieval of the list. Not sure if it would be kosher to convert the entire thing to a web archive, but I’ll probably raise that with Lee and see if it’s OK. It’s an important milestone in the history of campaign technology, and it’s absolutely made my weekend to see these e-mails that have been invisible to me for nearly 15 years.
If you know of a good program to take a mailing list archive (in plaintext format) to turn it into a webpage, I’d be tremendously grateful. My ideal would be a threaded archive that would also be searchable, but I’ll take any suggestions I can get.