Waldo Gifford Leland Award: Jason Lustig

Jason Lustig, former lecturer and Israel Institute Teaching Fellow at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, is the 2022 recipient of the Waldo Gifford Leland Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) for his book A Time to Gather, published by Oxford University Press in 2021. The award is given for writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the fields of archival history, theory, and practice.

In his book, Lustig presents a well-written, richly detailed, and superbly researched transnational study of the development of Jewish community archives in Germany, the United States, and Israel in the twentieth century. The book examines archival practices on a global scale, as well as a local one, examining archives in specific locales like Worms and Hamburg (Germany), Cincinnati (the US), and Jerusalem (Israel). The combination of a global and regional approach brings together a wide range of histories and historical contexts to tell a broad story about how community archives shape history.

A Time to Gather excels at making the case for why archives of all kinds, including community-based archives, can be and remain contentious. Lustig’s detailed study of the development of archives in modern Jewish culture in the twentieth century demonstrates how archives are not neutral and how archivists control the historical narrative. The book uncovers new ways to regard the work of many twentieth century archivists, offering “a new nuance to our understanding of archival history in the context of Jewish history.” One reviewer writes, “Lustig is an engrossing story-teller, and his book is well-written and compelling.”

Established in 1959, the Waldo Gifford Leland Award is named for one of North America’s archival pioneers and SAA’s second president. Past recipients include Cheryl Oestreicher for Reference and Access for Archives and Manuscripts, Jean-Christophe Cloutier for Shadow Archives: The Lifecycles of African American Literature, and Trevor Owens for The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation.