Fellow of SAA: Helen Wong Smith

Helen Wong Smith, executive director of the Kaua’i Historical Society in Lihue, Hawai’i, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the Joint Annual Meeting of SAA and the Council of State Archivists in Atlanta, July 31–August 6. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession. 

Since earning her bachelor’s in Hawaiian studies and a master’s in library and information studies from University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Wong Smith has held numerous positions throughout the Hawaiian Islands including librarian of the Hawaiian Collection at the University of Hawai’i Hilo, lead archivist for the Pacific Island Network of the National Park Service, and archivist at the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. 

She has served as an ambassador of Hawaiian and Pacific archives, bringing little-known collections to the forefront through her research and presentations. She has written extensively on Hawaiian cultural resources and is a strong advocate for cultural competencies in the archival profession. At SAA’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Cleveland she delivered a plenary address on “Adopting Cultural Diversity Competence.” 

Wong Smith has generously shared her time and expertise throughout her career, providing free workshops to help promote the care of family papers and being a constant advocate for archives. She has been the president of the Association of Hawaiian Archivists twice, the Hawaiian Library Association, and the Hawaiian Historical Society. She has been active on the national level, too, serving SAA in a variety of leadership capacities, including on the Council, the Committee on Education, and the Nominating Committee. She is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists. 

As one of her nominators noted: “She understands how to generate enthusiasm for archives, demonstrating resourcefulness, initiative, and commitment to the archival profession.”