Among her gifts in developing Immigrant City Archives was Eartha's talent for gathering around her skilled and loyal volunteers. Many of these have worked for years to support her efforts to build the organization and the collections.
Many gaps in the understanding of New England and even national history are filled because Eartha made this effort. When one compares the scholarship on the American Industrial Revolution before and after Eartha's establishment of the “Archives”, the difference in the awareness of and the perceived importance of Lawrence is remarkable. This is attested to by the hundreds of works – scholarly articles, books, radio interviews, newspaper articles and film productions that have referenced the organization.
For Lawrence, the contribution of Eartha's work can scarcely be overstated. Certainly the thousands of people who have been able to connect to forgotten ancestors and who often choke back tears when they discover a family gem have Eartha to thank for the careful preservation of endangered records. The hundreds of voices that might have disappeared without notice now have made an enduring gift to history. And equally significant is the steadily growing appreciation of Lawrence by outsiders and by residents and former residents themselves. All of us who have come to love this city and to tell its story to others owe that capacity to Eartha Dengler.
In my opinion, Lawrence is very much in need of a memory that creates a feeling of stability as a community that has grown from the early Lawrence in 1845 to what it is today. And it's grown in a very organic way and has – people can look back and see that they are part of an ongoing process.