2015 Fellows and Award Recipients

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) will honor the accomplishments and innovations of twenty-five outstanding individuals and organizations at the SAA Annual Meeting in Cleveland, August 16–22, 2015. Award categories include outstanding contributions to the archives profession, advocacy and public awareness, writing and publishing excellence, and scholarships and travel awards.

Below is a list of the 2015 recipients. 

Archival Innovator Award: State Archives of Florida’s Florida Memory Team

The State Archives of Florida’s Florida Memory Team (Katrina Harkness, Mark Nicolou, Josh Goodman, Adam Watson, Jody Norman, and Derek Long) is the 2015 recipient of the Archival Innovator Award. Established in 2012, the Archival Innovator Award recognizes archivists, repositories, or organizations that show creativity in approaching professional challenges or the ability to think outside the professional norm or that have an extraordinary impact on a community through archives programs or outreach.  

In May 2014, the State Archives’ Florida Memory Team launched Florida Memory Radio (Radio.FloridaMemory.com), a twenty-four-hour streaming Internet radio station. Florida Memory Radio features music from the Florida Folklife Collection, which consists of audio, photographic, and documentary materials relating to the history and culture of Florida. The bulk of the programming on Florida Memory Radio consists of daily “shows” featuring the main genres of music represented in the Florida Folklife Collection, including blues, bluegrass or old time, folk, gospel or sacred, Latin, and world music. Florida Memory Radio provides a listening experience designed to expose patrons to archival recordings and then draw them into the Florida Memory website to learn more. This strategy expands the archives’ appeal to patrons outside the academic and professional music communities who may not find traditional research methods as intuitive or accessible.

C.F.W. Coker Award: Social Networks and Archival Context Project

The Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Project (http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu/snac/search) by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, the UC Berkeley School of Information, and the California Digital Library is being awarded the C.F.W. Coker Award. The C.F.W. Coker Award recognizes finding aids, finding aid systems, innovative development in archival description, or descriptive tools that enable archivists to produce more effective finding aids. To merit consideration for the award, nominees must set national standards, represent a model for archives description, or otherwise have a substantial impact on national descriptive practice.

SNAC addresses a longstanding research challenge: discovering, locating, and using distributed historical records. These records are held in archives and manuscript libraries around the world, and the standards to describe the records may differ from one archive to another. Thus, scholars using the records as primary evidence often undergo time-consuming and inefficient research. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, SNAC began to explore the feasibility of extracting data in record descriptions (such as finding aids) that describe the people who created or are documented in the records. The data was then assembled into a prototype research tool that integrates and simplifies access to the dispersed records and provides unprecedented access to the biographical-historical contexts of the people documented in the resources. The team is now in the planning phase of transforming its research into an international cooperative hosted by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

One supporter wrote that SNAC “will fundamentally begin to change the landscape of archival description: the program will be a substantive contribution to the national, and indeed, international platform, making the description of archives more efficient and effective—and significantly ameliorating the challenge of discovering, locating, and understanding the resources that document our shared history.”

Established in 1984, the award honors SAA Fellow C.F.W. Coker. 

Distinguished Service Award: Archives Leadership Institute

The Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) is the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Established in 1964, the award recognizes an archives institution, education program, nonprofit organization, or government organization that has given outstanding service to its public and has made an exemplary contribution to the archives profession.

ALI has developed a program and model that warrants special recognition for its contributions to the profession. Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission since 2008, ALI provides leadership training to archives professionals who want to make an impact on the profession. By this fall, the annual program will have hosted more than two hundred individuals who have studied advocacy, media relations, change management, team development, project management, and other relevant leadership topics. These individuals use the professional network created by participating in ALI and implement what was learned through new ideas, improved service, and enhanced leadership skills. Alumni frequently contribute to the curriculum, helping the program adapt and grow so that it can continue to serve its attendees and the archives profession with distinction.

Diversity Award: The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at the University of Florida is a 2015 recipient of the Diversity Award. The award recognizes an individual, group, or institution for outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA, or the archival record.

SPOHP teaches students, independent scholars, and community organizations how to bring history to life through oral history interviews. SPOHP teaches the craft and intellectual traditions of oral history through university seminars and community-based workshops. Since its founding in 1967, SPOHP has conducted more than seven thousand interviews and transcribed more than 150,000 pages of material from the interviews. Its current roster of projects, including the Alachua County African American History Project, the Mississippi Freedom Project, the Veterans History Project, the Native American History Project, and the Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project, represent the breadth of the program’s impact on diversifying the archival record. 

One supporter wrote that SPOHP’s “relentless pursuit of community knowledge, local voices, and academic transformation has created a monumental program that has impacted the lives of countless people in Florida and across the nation.”

SPOHP joins the Evanston, Illinois, nonprofit Shorefront as the 2015 recipients of the Diversity Award. 

Diversity Award: Shorefront

Shorefront is a 2015 recipient of the Diversity Award. The award recognizes an individual, group, or institution for outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA, or the archival record.

From its beginning in 1995, Shorefront, an Evanston, Illinois–based nonprofit, has diligently collected, preserved, and shared artifacts, documents, photographs, and family archives representing the lives of the black community on the Chicago suburban North Shore.  Shorefront's founding was motivated by the recognition that the records of this vital history, spanning more than 150 years, were at great risk and in need of a long-term community-based steward. Shorefront is now home to more than 170 linear feet of archival collections. In addition to maintaining the Shorefront Legacy Center, the public access point for its collection, Shorefront has embraced its mission of education, supporting extensive public programming and, through its Shorefront Press, publishing an annual journal and historical monographs.  

“Shorefront’s continuous research and collaborations have forever changed how Illinois views the contributions of blacks to one of the nation’s most populous and industrious states,” one supporter wrote.

Shorefront joins the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida as the 2015 recipients of the Diversity Award. 

Donald Peterson Student Travel Award: Colin Post

Colin Post, a student in University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science and the Art Department, is the 2015 recipient of the Donald Peterson Student Travel Award. Established in 2005, the award supports students and recent graduates from graduate archival programs within North America to attend SAA’s Annual Meeting. The goal of the scholarship is to stimulate greater participation in the activities of the organization, such as presenting research or actively participating in an SAA-sponsored committee, section, or roundtable.

At the SAA Annual Meeting, Post will participate in the Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable and will present his research paper “Voices From Every Angle: An Approach to Archiving the Event.” The paper details a project Post is working on with two master of fine arts students to develop a new way to document performative and ephemeral art, with the artist and the archivist working together to create a short set of questions to present to viewers of the artwork. The archivist will then use these questions to record conversations with the viewers and document many perspectives of the artwork, creating a living document of the ephemeral piece.

The Donald Peterson Student Travel Award was established in 2005 and honors the memory of New York lawyer and philatelist Donald Peterson. 

Emerging Leader Award: Cheryl Oestreicher

Cheryl Oestreicher, head of Special Collections and Archives and an assistant professor at Boise State University, is the 2015 recipient of the Emerging Leader Award. Created in 2011, the Emerging Leader Award celebrates and encourages early career archivists who have completed archival work of broad merit, demonstrated significant promise of leadership, performed commendable service to the archives profession, or have accomplished a combination of these requirements.

Since receiving her master of library and information science degree from the College of Saint Catherine/Dominican University in 2004, Oestreicher has exhibited a remarkable record of achievement in teaching, scholarship, and service. At Boise State University, she has done admirable outreach work in the Boise community, establishing a partnership with the Boise City Department of Arts and History and opening the doors of the archives to an array of community organizations, such as the Frank Church Institute and the local chapter of the Wild West History Association.

The Award Committee also commended Oestreicher’s strong record of service to the profession, notably her work as editor of Provenance, the journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists, and success in making the journal’s back issues freely accessible online.

“I have been continually impressed by Oestreicher’s command of current archival practice, commitment to maximizing efficiency of throughput, and enthusiasm for strengthening ties between those who care for special collections and archives and those who use them,” one supporter wrote. “She undoubtedly has an exciting career ahead of her.”

F. Gerald Ham and Elsie Ham Scholarship: Noah Geraci

Noah Geraci, who is pursuing a master of library and information science degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is the 2015 recipient of the F. Gerald Ham and Elsie Ham Scholarship. The award offers financial support to a graduate student in his or her second year of archival studies at a US university. Scholarship selection criteria include the applicant’s past performance in his or her graduate program in archival studies as well as faculty members’ assessment of the student’s prospects for contributing to the archives profession.

In addition to his strong academic record, Geraci impressed the Award Committee with his excellent writing skills and dedication to applying community-based archival frameworks to records and collections related to mental illness. The committee commended Geraci’s thoughtful analysis of a collection in the Getty Research Library that contains drawings and manuscripts by individuals living in a psychiatric hospital in Peru.

Cementing the committee’s decision was Geraci’s extensive paid and volunteer work experiences, which include work with the Freedom Archives, Books Beyond Bars, and the Digital Library Program at UCLA.

One recommender commented that Geraci is “without doubt one of the standout students in his cohort . . . a superb student and personally inspiring individual who is facile in translating what he learns in the classroom . . . into practice.”

The award was created in 1998 by SAA Fellow, past president, and longtime member F. Gerald Ham and his wife Elsie. 

Fellow: Jelain Chubb

Jelain Chubb, Texas state archivist and director of the Archives and Information Services Division at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the SAA Annual Meeting in Cleveland, August 16–22. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

Chubb earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Charleston and dual master’s degrees in library and information science and applied history with a specialization in archival administration from the University of South Carolina at Columbia.

Chubb began her professional experience as a search room assistant at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, conducting reference interviews and assisting researchers using state and local government records. She later became the assistant curator of archival collections for the University of South Carolina’s University Archives and moved on to increasingly responsible professional positions as local records archivist for the Kansas State Historical Society, administrative archivist for the Local Records Program at the Missouri State Archives, and as state archivist for Ohio and Texas. Chubb has demonstrated especially strong advocacy skills throughout her career and has succeeded in securing additional funding for the state archives in Ohio and Texas during challenging economic periods. Since assuming the position of Texas state archivist in June 2010, her positive and focused approach to advancing the archival integrity of the Texas state government resulted in the state legislature increasing appropriations for records preservation and access by more than $1 million.

Chubb is a member of SAA, the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators, the Council of State Archivists, Academy of Certified Archivists, and the Institute of Certified Records Managers, as well as regional and local archival organizations. Her leadership positions include serving as chair of multiple annual meeting program and local arrangement committees and as a member of the NAGARA board of directors.  

“To a level far above the average, [Chubb] is unflagging in pursuit, support, and encouragement of the archival enterprise,” a supporter wrote. “In her deft management of the daily archival function, her ingenuity in building constituencies of supporters, and her attention to ensuring the spread and enrichment of the archival knowledge base, she truly is an archivist’s archivist.”

Chubb is one of three new Fellows named in 2015. There are currently 184 Fellows of the Society of American Archivists.

Fellow: Kathleen Williams

Kathleen Williams, executive director of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant making affiliate of the National Archives, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the SAA Annual Meeting in Cleveland, August 16–22. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

Williams began her career as the assistant archivist at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in 1982. She then moved on to become the first archivist of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in 1984. While there she developed an archival and records management program that has served as a model for museums nationwide. In 1994 Williams moved on to become supervisory assistant archivist at the Smithsonian Institution Archives and subsequently advanced to become the supervisory associate archivist (1997) and archives division director (2002), leading archival activities at the largest such repository at the Smithsonian. In 2004, she joined the NHPRC as deputy executive director and became executive director in 2008. As executive director, Williams led the effort to create Founders Online (founders.archives.gov), an online public resource that contains more than 170,000 digitized and transcribed historical documents of six founding fathers of the United States. She successfully negotiated with the White House and Congress for additional funding to support this effort. Williams has worked tirelessly to reinvigorate and reimagine NHPRC's national grants program, including a new funding category to encourage citizen engagement in historical records projects at local, state, and regional archives. Other new NHPRC initiatives she has led go to support state archives electronic records management, online digital publishing of historical records, and professional leadership programs.

In addition to these professional positions, Williams has been active in the Society of Southwest Archivists, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, and SAA. In SAA, she has been a member and chair of the Museum Archives Section; a member of the Task Force on Sections and Roundtables, the Membership Committee, a Program Committee, and a Host Committee; and the first chair of the Emerging Leader Award Committee.

Williams’s supporters noted that she “became well-known for her common-sense, no-nonsense, practical, effective grasp of the challenges of developing museum archives in an underfunded and hostile environment” and that she is a “thoughtful leader . . . [with a] keen perception of where the field is, where it could be going, and what kinds of strategies and partnerships would be especially crucial in reaching optimum outcomes.”

Williams is one of three new Fellows named in 2015. There are currently 184 Fellows of the Society of American Archivists.

Fellow: Kathy Marquis

Kathy Marquis of Laramie, Wyoming, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the SAA Annual Meeting in Cleveland, August 16–22. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

Marquis earned her bachelor of arts in history (with a concentration in women’s history) from the University of Michigan, where she worked as a student in the Bentley Historical Library, and her master of library and information science degree from Simmons College.

Marquis’s career has included a series of posts at several outstanding repositories where she has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to user needs, improved reference services, and developing reference literacy. Her career began in 1978 as an archival assistant at the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Radcliffe College. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she discovered her professional calling as a reference archivist. She then honed her reference, access, and public service skills at the Minnesota Historical Society before returning to her alma mater, Michigan, where she was head of the Reference and Access Division at the Bentley Library.

For the past twelve years, she was the public services librarian at the Albany County Public Library in Laramie, Wyoming, where among other things she promoted Internet access and literacy and organized book discussions and other public outreach activities.

Professional accomplishments include co-development of the SAA workshop “Real World Reference: Moving Beyond Theory”; guest lecturing at Michigan and Simmons; presenting papers at the annual meetings of SAA, the Midwest Archives Conference (MAC), the New England Area Archivists, and the Public Library Association; and co-chaired both SAA and MAC Program Committees and as chair of several SAA committees, most recently as co-chair of the SAA Task Force on the Annual Meeting. In addition, Marquis is the co-author of the forthcoming American Library Association book Local History Reference Collections in Public Libraries.

Marquis’s enduring—and endearing—contributions also include a unique and playful approach to engaging colleagues. She conducted a Haiku contest for a session at SAA’s 2009 meeting, a poetry contest in tribute to MAC’s 40th anniversary, and performed as an ensemble member of the “Raiders of the Lost Archives” during the 2014 SAA meeting.

Marquis is one of three new Fellows named in 2015. There are currently 184 Fellows of the Society of American Archivists.

Fellows' Ernst Posner Award: Kit Hughes

Kit Hughes, soon-to-be assistant professor of media, journalism, and film at Miami University, is the 2015 recipient of the Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award. Established in 1982, the award recognizes an outstanding essay dealing with some facet of archival administration, history, theory, and/or methodology that was published during the preceding year in SAA’s journal, The American Archivist.

Hughes, who earned her PhD in media and cultural studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, was honored for her article “Appraisal as Cartography: Cultural Studies in the Archives,” which appeared in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of The American Archivist (vol. 77, no. 1).

In her article, Hughes examines the practice of appraisal, which, as she writes, “controls the flow of materials that can be used by people to construct cultural identities.” Hughes compares archival appraisal theory with a cultural studies model of appraisal to arrive at “new ways of considering methods of documenting culture.” Hughes’s model encourages archivists to broaden their view of stakeholders, media, and the role of archives in modern culture and society, leading to the laudable goal of achieving a more inclusive documentary record.

The Award Committee noted that the article provides a “refreshing and innovative view of appraisal theory and methodology.”

The award is named for Ernst Posner, an SAA Fellow and former president as well as a distinguished author. 

Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award:Talía Guzmán-González

Talía Guzmán-González, a graduate student in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, is a 2015 recipient of the Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award. The award recognizes minority graduate students of African, Asian, Latino, or Native American descent who, through scholastic achievement, manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of SAA.

In addition to her pursuit of a master’s in library and information science degree, Guzmán-González holds a PhD in Portuguese with a minor field in Latin American literature. She was an intern and currently volunteers at the Smithsonian Latino Center in Washington, DC, and is involved with the Latino GLBT History Project. As an archivist, Guzmán-González wants to “advocate for the presence of minorities as user, but also make sure that their contributions to our society are part of archival repositories.” In her past experiences as a teacher and current work in Washington, DC, she is committed to raising awareness about the histories of communities of color. Guzmán-González also was recently recognized by the Association of Research Libraries as a 2014 Career Enhancement Program Fellow.

Established in 1993, the award honors the late Dr. Harold T. Pinkett, who served with distinction during his long tenure at the National Archives and Records Administration and who was a Fellow of SAA. Also receiving the Pinkett Award this year is Rachel Winston, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin.

Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award: Rachel E. Winston

Rachel E. Winston, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), is a 2015 recipient of the Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award. The award recognizes minority graduate students of African, Asian, Latino, or Native American descent who, through scholastic achievement, manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of SAA.

As a student, Winston has been committed to making herself “more capable to advocate for and work with collections and materials related to the African American and Black Diaspora experience.” Her interest, dedication, and enthusiasm for documenting the Black Diaspora is seen in her work with the Texas Domestic Slave Trade Project at UT Austin. Winston also recently completed ethnographic research and multilingual course work in Black Diaspora Studies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to further define and improve her knowledge of Afro-Brazilian communities and history. Winston is active in many local organizations and serves as the secretary of the student SAA chapter at UT Austin.

Established in 1993, the award honors the late Dr. Harold T. Pinkett, who served with distinction during his long tenure at the National Archives and Records Administration and who was a Fellow of SAA. Also receiving the Pinkett Award this year is Talía Guzmán-González, a graduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park.

J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award: Adrena Ifill Blagburn

Adrena Ifill Blagburn is the 2015 recipient of the J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award. The award honors an individual, institution, or organization that promotes greater public awareness, appreciation, or support of archival activities or programs.

Since founding the cultural heritage and multimedia production firm Ifill/DoubleBack Global Group (www.doublebackproductions.com) in 2002, Ifill Blagburn has been a leading advocate for the preservation of archival records documenting African American Congressional history. As a result of her efforts to educate black lawmakers about record retention policies, Ifill Blagburn has increased public awareness on the importance of not only preserving these records, but of the benefits of utilizing them for educational and historic programs. As a consultant and director of the Avoice Project (www.avoiceonline.org), an online library of digitized artifacts documenting the legislative and political contributions of African Americans serving in Congress, Ifill Blagburn grew the project to include nine online exhibits, a collection of lesson units designed to promote the use of primary sources in the classroom, and more than ten thousand digitized assets.

“[Ifill Blagburn] possess a unique combination of passion, vision, and perseverance, which makes her an inspiring colleague, teacher, and advocate,” one supporter wrote.

Established in 1989, the award is named for the noted American historian J. Franklin Jameson. 

Josephine Forman Scholarship: Maria E. Sanchez-Tucker

Maria E. Sanchez-Tucker is the 2015 recipient of the Josephine Forman Scholarship sponsored by the General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church, in cooperation with the Society of American Archivists. The scholarship provides financial support to minority students pursuing graduate education in archival science, encourages students to pursue careers as archivists, and promotes the diversification of the American archives profession.

Sanchez-Tucker, who is currently pursuing a master of library and information science degree at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, also earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of New Mexico and a master’s degree in museum science from Texas Tech University.

Presently, Sanchez-Tucker works as the manager of the Special Collections and Western History Department of the InfoZone News Museum, a department of the Pueblo City-County Library District. She previously served as the founding executive director of the Bessemer Historical Society, now the Steelworks Center of the West. 

Sanchez-Tucker is currently part of a collaborative effort to help the largely Hispanic community of Salt Creek in Pueblo document itself through oral histories and writing workshops. This effort will serve as a blueprint for working with and documenting other ethnic communities in the area. 

One supporter noted that Sanchez-Tucker’s “approach to her professional enterprise is always that of inclusion and harmony. [Her] natural leadership abilities are evident in her professional success. These qualities and so much more make her an ideal choice for advancing diversity within the American archives profession.”

The Josephine Forman Scholarship was established in 2010 by the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church and is named for Josephine Forman, who served as archivist for eighteen years at the Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

Mosaic Scholarship: Desiree Alaniz

Desiree Alaniz, who will pursue a master of library and information science degree with an archives management concentration at Simmons College starting this fall, is the 2015 recipient of the Mosaic Scholarship. The Mosaic Scholarship provides funding to students who demonstrate potential for scholastic and personal achievement and who manifest a commitment both to the archival profession and to advancing diversity concerns within it. 

In addition to a strong academic record, Alaniz has demonstrated her commitment to diversity in archives, both as an undergraduate conducting original research in an independent study course and as a volunteer at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, where she catalogued, researched, and described a donated collection. Uncovering these marginalized histories persuaded her “to pursue social justice work in archives through the critical diversification of the historical record.” Alaniz also previously served as a program representative at the UCLA Undergraduate Research Center, where she promoted, developed, and celebrated undergraduate student research.

One of Alaniz’s supporters noted that “she is someone who will go above and beyond to provide services to those in need. [Alaniz] is compassionate, intelligent, and has what it takes to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to.” Another wrote that she “has managed to merge her commitments to social justice with an admirable career track.”

First awarded in 2009, the Mosaic Scholarship also provides recipients with a one-year membership in the Society of American Archivists and a complimentary registration to the 2015 SAA Annual Meeting.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Award: Mary Grace Golfo

Mary Grace Golfo, a student in the Master’s Program in Archival Studies at the University of Manitoba, is the 2015 recipient of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Travel Award. The award enables international archivists who are training or studying in the United States or Canada to augment their experience by traveling to the SAA Annual Meeting.

Golfo is a Filipino citizen and is on leave from her position as assistant professor in the University of the Philippines School of Library and Information Studies. Upon graduating from the Archival Studies program, Golfo plans to return to her home country to lead and develop the first formal graduate degree program in archival studies.

Golfo’s nominator wrote that her “exceptional dedication to the academic development of this field of study not only led her to make a major commitment to come here to study, but is reflected in her performance overall. . . . She is well underway on a well-conceived thesis topic on the shape that graduate-level archival studies education could take in the Philippines.”

Established in 1979, this award honors SAA Fellow and former President Oliver Wendell Holmes. 

Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award: The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine

The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine, is the 2015 recipient of the Philip M. Hamer–Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award. The award recognizes individuals or institutions that have increased public awareness of archives documents. The Legacy Center has made a portion of its unique primary sources accessible to new audiences. The stories featured on the website Doctor or Doctress? Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians (www.doctordoctress.org) make history approachable by guiding users in interpreting and understanding these materials. The site leverages women’s stories to help students build critical analysis skills while learning about the broader scope of American history. It is a polished combination of images of primary source documents, video, audio, timelines, maps, and contextual information, packaged to help users understand why these stories matter.

“With this wonderful mix of materials, the resource most importantly offers to researchers the guidance needed to place primary source documents in historical and cultural context,” the Award Committee wrote. “Since its inception, the site has . . . [raised] awareness about its materials while being very user-friendly for the general population.”

The Hamer-Kegan Award was established in 1973 and is named for two SAA Fellows and former presidents. 

Preservation Publication Award: From Theory to Action

From Theory to Action: “Good Enough” Digital Preservation Solutions for Under-Resourced Cultural Heritage Institutions is the recipient of the Preservation Publication Award. Established in 1993, this award recognizes and acknowledges the author(s) or editor(s) of an outstanding published work related to archives preservation and, through this acknowledgment, encourages outstanding achievement by others. 

From Theory to Action summarizes the findings of the “Digital POWRR: Preserving digital Objects With Restrict Resources” project, funded by an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant. For the project, Jaime Schumacher, Lynne Thomas, Drew VandeCreek, and other members of the Digital POWRR team examined how small and midsized institutions can achieve standards for digital preservation without the funding sources or technical expertise found in larger institutions. Northern Illinois University was the principle investigator along with four other Illinois universities: Chicago State, Illinois State, Illinois Wesleyan, and Western Illinois.    

“Practitioners at small to midsized institutions often struggle to find solutions to their digital preservation problems. This study encourages those practitioners to successfully solve their problems and meet their digital preservation goals,” the Award Committee noted.

Preservation Publication Special Commendation: The National Digital Stewardship Alliance

The National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) received a Preservation Publication special commendation from the Society of American Archivists in August 2015 for the publication 2015 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship. The commendation recognizes an outstanding published work related to archives preservation.

The 2015 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship, authored by the NDSA leadership group, integrates the perspective of dozens of experts and hundreds of institutions to provide funders and executive decision makers insight into emerging technological trends. The Agenda is available is available for open access at http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/ndsa/nationalagenda/.

NDSA is a consortium of institutions working toward the goal of long-term digital preservation on a national level. Organized in 2010, it advances digital preservation by studying new trends and current gaps and seeking new areas of research and development in this field.

Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award: Diane Wells

Diane Wells, CA, archivist and records manager of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia in Seattle, is the 2015 recipient of the Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award. The award honors an archivist who has made a significant contribution to the field of religious archives. 

Wells has held her position at the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia in Seattle since 1994. Early in her tenure, Wells produced a policies and procedures manual that has become a foundational resource for Episcopal diocesan records management programs. She also has creatively used her organization’s archives to promote major commemorative events, such as the 150th anniversary of the Episcopal Church’s presence in the Northwest. During the yearlong celebration, Wells wrote articles, provided background material and photographs, and produced a history video, “One in the Spirit: 150 Years of the Episcopal Church in Western Washington.” Wells maintains the blog Archives in Action and was one of the first religious archivists to embrace blogging as a way to maintain its profile.

Wells has chaired SAA’s Archivists of Religious Collections Section and represented it within conference programs, speaking on such topics as documenting faith communities, utilizing volunteers, and administering clergy misconduct records. She has served on the board of the National Episcopal Historians and Archivists and is also a founding member of The Episcopal Archivists, an advisory group to The Archives of the Episcopal Church.

Created in 1974, the award is funded by the Society of Southwest Archivists and honors Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., a Dominican nun who was the first professionally trained archivist at the Catholic Archives of Texas in Austin. 

Spotlight Award: Anne Ostendarp

Anne Ostendarp, multimedia archivist for the Knights of Columbus and a consulting and project archivist, is the 2015 recipient of the Spotlight Award. The Spotlight Award recognizes the contributions of individuals who work for the good of the profession and archival collections—work that does not typically receive public recognition.

A long-time archivist, Ostendarp is a dedicated professional who provides excellent guidance to her clients and exceptional service to archival organizations. She was selected for the Spotlight Award not only for these achievements but also for the way she has made archival practices understandable for hundreds of individuals who have taken workshops with her. Ostendarp developed curriculums for the Association Archives and Archives Overview workshops, teaching numerous times across the country for SAA. She also became the coinstructor of SAA’s Understanding Archives workshop and has taught at the SAA Annual Meeting and archival regional groups for the last ten years. Many of her workshop attendees come from small historical societies, academic institutions, and businesses seeking knowledge to improve responsible handling of the archival holdings in their care. Ostendarp’s instruction empowers them to do so, providing both theoretical structure and practical guidelines that can be immediately put into effect at a home institution.

One supporter wrote, “One of [Ostendarp’s] amazing qualities is the ability to impart her vast knowledge of archives in a way that is personable and easy to understand.” Another commented, “Along with providing the students with a treasure trove of information, [Ostendarp] brought an enthusiasm that students found contagious. She served as both an excellent instructor and an effective advocate for the archival profession.”

Theodore Calvin Pease Award: Paige Hohmann

Paige Hohmann, a student in the dual Master of Archival Studies/Master of Library and Information Studies degree program at the University of British Columbia, is the 2015 recipient of the Theodore Calvin Pease Award. The award recognizes superior writing achievements by students of archival studies.

Dr. Luciana Duranti of the University of British Columbia nominated Hohmann’s paper, “On Impartiality and Interrelatedness: Reactions to the Jenkinsonian Appraisal in the Twentieth Century.” Hohmann’s paper deconstructs the arguments of Sir Hilary Jenkinson, a British archivist and archival theorist, as well as the arguments of Jenkinson’s critics.

In her nomination, Duranti wrote, “The most outstanding characteristic of this paper is the subject matter. These days rarely archival students focus on theoretical issues, on traditional writers, and on decades-old discussions. The wish to revisit an issue that has been put away a long time ago with a final sentence, to wonder whether what is by most considered fact is a misinterpretation of [Jenkinson’s] stance, and to identify reasons for embracing the points [Jenkinson] made are extraordinary goals for a first-year archival student.”         

The paper will be published in The American Archivist Volume 79, Number 1 (Spring/Summer 2016). Established in 1987, the award is named for the first editor of The American Archivist. 

Waldo Gifford Leland Award: Michelle Caswell

Michelle Caswell, assistant professor of archival studies in the department of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, is the 2015 recipient of the Waldo Gifford Leland Award for her book, Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia, published by University of Wisconsin Press. The Waldo Gifford Leland Award is given for writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the fields of archival history, theory, and practice. 

In Archiving the Unspeakable, Caswell provides a compelling perspective on the mug shots taken in Tuol Sleng prison during Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s. The mug shots have come to represent the brutality of the regime, under which roughly 1.7 million people died from untreated disease, starvation, and execution and thousands of “enemies of state” were tortured and killed in prison. Caswell studies these mug shots under an archival lens and examines how the photographs have transformed from Khmer Rouge administrative records to museum displays, archival collections, and databases, illustrating unimaginable human suffering.

The Award Committee called Archiving the Unspeakable “thoughtful and thought-provoking” and noted that it “succeeds in its mission to ‘challenge archivists to embrace their own power to counter the silences embedded in records, particularly records that document human rights abuse’.”

Established in 1959, the Waldo Gifford Leland Award is named for one of North America’s archival pioneers and SAA’s second president.