2008 Fellows and Award Recipients

Awards Acknowledge Outstanding Achievements

The Society of American Archivists celebrated outstanding achievement in public service, outreach, and publishing, and also awarded scholarships to students at the August 29 ceremony at SAA’s 72nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The annual competition recognizes accomplishments of the preceding calendar year. The Awards Committee worked with sub-committees in the selection process for each award. SAA congratulates the following award recipients and extends its thanks to all who participated in the competition.

Awards and Scholarships

Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the CBC Digital Archives (Les archives de Radio-Canada) is the 2008 recipient of SAA’s Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award. The award recognizes individuals or institutions that have increased public awareness of archival documents.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is being recognized for its outstanding efforts to promote the use of its radio and television collections. In making its selection, the award committee noted, “The CBC Digital Archives makes a vast collection of audio and video, in French and English, accessible to a community of users stretching far beyond Canada.”

The CBC Digital Archives has created a website (http://archives.cbc.ca/) to provide access to nearly 12,000 radio and news clips, which contain the voices and images of journalists, performers, citizens, politicians, and artists.

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

C.F.W. Coker Award

The ARCHIVISTS’ TOOLKIT (AT), an open-source archival data management system developed through a collaboration of three university libraries, is the 2008 recipient of SAA’s C.F.W. Coker Award. The award recognizes finding aids, finding aid systems, innovative development in archival description, or descriptive tools that enable archivists to produce more effective finding aids.

Bradley Westbrook, the AT’s project manager at the University of California-San Diego, will accept the award on behalf of the project team. The team includes members from the University of California-San Diego Libraries, the New York University Libraries, and the Five Colleges, Inc., Libraries. Five Colleges is a consortium of Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, the University of Massachusetts, and Hampshire College. The Toolkit is the first open-source archival data management system to provide broad, integrated support for the management of archives and can be used by a wide range of archival repositories. It is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Toolkit is an archival management system with description at its core and it is designed to make it easier for archivists to adopt and utilize descriptive standards, according to Chris Burns, curator of manuscripts for the University of Vermont and chair of the selection committee.

“The Archivists’ Toolkit has already made a tremendous impact on archival practice and the promotion and adoption of descriptive standards,” says Burns. “It has been rapidly adopted by archivists. Its creation serves as a truly wonderful model of a collaborative design, testing, and implementation process.”

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

Waldo Gifford Leland Award

Deidre Simmons is the winner of the 2008 Waldo Gifford Leland Award for her book Keepers of the Record: The History of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. The award is given for writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the fields of archival history, theory, or practice.

Simmons, an archives consultant in Victoria, British Columbia, provides a look at the records of the Hudson’s Bay Company and their stewardship from the company’s first year in 1670 to the present. The Hudson's Bay Company Archives are stored in the Archives of Manitoba, and they trace the history of the fur trade, North American exploration, the growth of a retail empire, and the evolution of Canada as a country. The book was published in January by McGill-Queen's University Press. “Simmons has broken new ground in treating a body of archives as something worthy of study itself. Although so many secondary sources may— and do—rely heavily on primary sources to support a broader thesis, this book is a study of the archives itself, its shift from Britain to Canada, and just who has cared for the collection through the decades,” noted the selection committee.

“Keepers of the Record displays detailed and deep research—and a superior readability. It bridges the gaps among archivists, historians, and the general public—all the while bringing to life the figures and stories intimately connected with the creation and care of the records.”

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

Preservation Publication Award

The Digital Dilemma, produced by the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is the 2008 winner of SAA’s Preservation Publication Award. The award, which was established in 1993, recognizes an outstanding published work related to archives preservation.

The Digital Dilemma is “a ground-breaking publication that is the product of more than nine months of investigative research into the daunting and largely uncharted arena of preserving digital motion picture materials,” said the award committee.

The report outlines critical issues that movie studios are facing as they undergo a transition from film-based to digital storage technology. “Though the movie studios are especially spotlighted, both the scope and implications of this publication extend well beyond that industry,” noted Steve Dalton, preservation manager at Boston College and chair of the selection committee.

“The studios’ experiences are, in fact, intentionally framed within the broader context of preservation strategies already employed by institutions well-known to [the archives] profession, such as the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress,” Dalton added.

The 2008 selection committee also gave an Honorable Mention to Rescuing Family Records: A Disaster Planning Guide, which was produced by David Carmicheal of the Georgia State Archives and distributed by the Council of State Archivists. The committee said, “This timely work puts the expertise of the archives profession at the service of the general public and meets a vitally important need in the process.”

Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award

Magia Ghetu Krause, a PhD candidate, and Elizabeth Yakel, associate professor, both of the University of Michigan’s School of Information, are joint recipients of SAA’s 2008 Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award for their essay, “Interaction in Virtual Archives: The Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collections Next Generation Finding Aid,” in the American Archivist, volume 70.

The award recognizes an outstanding essay that explores some facet of archival administration, history, theory, or methodology and that was published in SAA’s semi-annual journal during the preceding year. “As many professionals [in the field] are in institutions that do not have funds to support training, this article can be a starting point to expose them to Internet concepts and the possibilities for their application to archival finding aids,” noted the selection committee.

“The outstanding benefit of this article is that the reader not only is introduced to new technologies and concepts, but is also offered the option to review, use, and interact with the actual Polar Bear website. [It] explains the development and design of an actual electronic-record, web-based finding aid project, and incorporates “next generation” electronic technology to introduce a new way of designing an archival finding aid,” the committee said.

Established in 1982, the award is named for Ernst Posner, an SAA Fellow and former president.

Theodore Calvin Pease Award

Mary Samouelian, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, is the winner of the 2008 Theodore Calvin Pease Award for her research paper “Embracing Web 2.0: Archives and the Newest Generation of Web Applications.”

The award recognizes superior writing achievement by a student enrolled in archival administration classes or engaged in a formal archival internship program. Samouelian’s paper, which she wrote while enrolled in a master’s class at UNC’s School of Information and Library Science, explores the use of Web 2.0 technology in archives. It will be published in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of the American Archivist.

“There has been a lot of buzz about Web 2.0, but relatively little research on the nature of these interactive web technologies or how archivists might employ them,” said Mary Jo Pugh, editor of the American Archivist and chair of the award’s selection committee. “Her paper fills a void in the archival literature and provides an informative look at current practices, making many observations useful to the profession as more and more archivists begin to use such features to enhance access to, and interest in, repository holdings.”

Pugh said Samouelian’s research presents relevant examples of implementation already underway at a variety of institutions and shows how many archivists are able to implement these tools. “Her paper has the capacity to drive adoption of these technologies and user services in many archives,” she added.

Established in 1987, the award is named for the first editor of the American Archivist.

Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award

Monique Lloyd and Tiffany-Kay Sangwand are the joint recipients of SAA’s 2008 Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award. The award recognizes minority graduate students who manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of SAA, and do so through scholastic achievement.

Lloyd is a graduate student in the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University in Portland, Oregon. She serves on a committee for the American Indian Library Association. Her article “Diversity in Library Science: The Underrepresented Native American” was published in the February 2007 issue of the Library Student Journal.

Sangwand is a second-year student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she is enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science program and the Latin American Studies program. She has worked on projects for UCLA’s Department of Special Collections, Ethnomusicology Archive, and Center for the Study of Women. Sangwand is a member of SAA’s student chapter at UCLA.

The minority student 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.

Colonial Dames Scholarship and Donna Cutts Scholarship Awards

Amy Moorman of the Archdiocese of St. Louis is the recipient of SAA’s 2008 Colonial Dames Scholarship, which gives new archivists the opportunity to attend the Modern Archives Institute at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. She attended the winter institute, which is held in January.

Moorman is an assistant archivist for the archdiocese in St. Louis, Missouri, where she provides reference services to archives users and arranges and describes collections. The archives contains materials that predate 1826, when the Roman Catholic Church officially created the diocese of St. Louis. Moorman earned a master’s degree in history from the University of New Hampshire and a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Franklin Pierce College, also in New Hampshire.

The scholarship covers $1,200 of the total tuition, travel, and housing expenses associated with attending the Institute, which also has a summer session in June. To be eligible for this scholarship, individuals must be employed for less than two years as an archivist and work in an archives or manuscript collection in which a fair percentage of the repository’s holdings predate 1825.

The Colonial Dames of America (CDA), founded in 1890, is an international society of women whose direct ancestors held positions of leadership in the Thirteen Colonies. The award is funded by CDA’s Chapter III in Washington, D.C.

J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award

The Data-Intensive Cyber Environments (DICE) at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of California, San Diego, is the winner of SAA’s 2008 J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award.

The award honors an individual, institution, or organization that promotes greater public awareness, appreciation, or support of archives. The DICE Group was selected for its long-time support of and involvement in the archives profession’s work to address the challenges of managing, preserving, and providing access to electronic records.

The group has supported efforts to develop and implement international standards related to electronic records, been partners in digital preservation efforts funded by the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, provided technical expertise to NHPRC grant projects, contributed to the archival literature, and provided invaluable support in the many and varied archival research efforts in developing electronic records archives. In February 2008, the DICE Group released version 1.0 of the Integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODs), a new open-source approach to managing, sharing, and preserving electronic records.

In making its selection the award committee noted, “Members of the DICE Group have a genuine interest in and understanding of the archives profession, its principles and practices, its unique challenges, and have become strong advocates in its favor.”

Established in 1989, the award is named for the noted American historian J. Franklin Jameson, who was a long-time advocate for the establishment of a national archives in the United States.

Donald Peterson Student Scholarship

Katherine Blank, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), is the winner of SAA’s 2008 Donald Peterson Student Scholarship. The scholarship is given to a graduate student or recent graduate for exceptional leadership and the desire to become actively involved in the archives profession.

Blank is an archival studies project assistant for the School of Information Studies at UWM. She will graduate in December with a master’s degree in library and information science and a second master’s in history.

Blank was an intern at Marquette University’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives where she developed an arrangement for a complex collection of more than 75,000 photographic images. She is active in SAA’s student chapter at UWM, having previously served as vice president and president.

“Her leadership within the student chapter has been valuable to professional archivists from throughout southeastern Wisconsin,” one of her nominators wrote. “She has helped organize several enriching programs and workshops, attended not only by graduate students, but working professionals and support staff.” Blank will participate in a student paper session at ARCHIVES 2008 in San Francisco. "The paper will explore issues of archival access—digital and physical—and social memory affecting Native American tribes,” explains Blank.

This student scholarship was established in 2005 to honor Donald Peterson (1908–1999), a New York lawyer and philatelist.

Spotlight Award

The staff of Afghan Film will receive SAA’s Spotlight Award for risking their lives to save films that chronicle Afghanistan’s culture and history. The Spotlight Award, which was established in 2005, recognizes individuals who work for the good of the profession and archival collections, work that does not typically receive public recognition.

When the Taliban seized power of Afghanistan in 1996, 11 of the 120 employees working at Afghan Film stepped up to save film reels documenting their country’s culture and history. “Scholars and historians around the world will appreciate your great act of courage,” the SAA award committee said when announcing its selection.

Abdul Latif, a former diplomat and fil director is head of Afghan Film, which kept the country’s major film and TV archive. Earlier this year he told ABC News, “When the Taliban came, they decided to turn our institute into a war museum and decreed they would burn all the reels. The employees who remained hid the Afghan movies in a lab on the second floor of the building.”

The eleven employees were able to hide 6,000 film reels, showing the Taliban only the foreign films on the first floor. “They knew,” Latif said, “that if the Taliban discovered the lab all of them would have been killed.” The award committee took note of their “extraordinary personal and moral courage, resolve, and their great personal risk in protecting and saving the documentary evidence of Afghan culture and heritage from destruction by the Taliban.”

See “Heroes of Saving the Afghan Film Archives,” a tribute to Latif and his colleagues on YouTube.

Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award

Mark Thiel, an archivist at Marquette University, is the 2008 recipient of SAA’s Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award. Thiel’s work on the five-volume Guide to Catholic-Related Records About Native Americans in electronic format garnered the award. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of religious archives.

Thiel collected the information for more than 25 years from over 1,000 repositories in 43 states and 15 foreign countries. “This reference work has been noted for its thoroughness, its detail, and the precision of its records,” noted the award committee when announcing its selection. A colleague describes Thiel’s work as “probably the most important manuscript guide produced on American Catholic materials in a generation.” Thiel’s project is of interest to scholars of American Indian history and culture and Native Americans looking for their own data and records.

Created in 1974, the award honors Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., who served at the Catholic Archives of Texas from 1960 until her death in 1974. It is sponsored by SAA in conjunction with and funded by the Society of Southwest Archivists. Nominees for this award must demonstrate involvement and work in the Religious Archives Section of the Society of American Archivists, contributions to archival literature relating to religious archives, leadership in religious archives organizations, and/or leadership in a specific religious archive.

Distinguished Service Award

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut is the winner of SAA’s 2008 Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes an archival institution, education program, nonprofit organization, or governmental organization that has given outstanding service to its public and has made an exemplary contribution to the archives profession.

Recently retired director Thomas Wilsted will accept the award on behalf of the Dodd Center, which the selection committee noted “has become a center of campus intellectual life by linking collection development and preservation to public programming and the academic curriculum in a vital and exciting way.”

The center was established in 1995 and is named for the late Connecticut Senator Thomas J. Dodd. It houses the university’s archives and focuses on building research collections that document the U.S. Congress, human rights, and public policy. The Center contains Senator Dodd’s papers, including his service as chief trial counsel at the Nuremberg Trials, and holds the Alternative Press Collection and the papers of naturalist Edwin Way Teale and children’s author Tomie dePaola. It is known for its collection of Connecticut business history and the creation and development of Connecticut History Online.

One of its recent accomplishments involved the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa. The Dodd Center provided assistance and training to preserve the records kept by the ANC while it was in exile for 30 years.

“The selection committee was particularly impressed with the breadth and depth of the Center’s development over the past fifteen years and its outstanding service to multiple constituencies,” said Ohio State Archivist Jelain Chubb, chair of the selection committee.


Eight members were inducted as Fellows of the Society of American Archivists during an Awards Ceremony held August 29 at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco: DANNA BELL-RUSSEL, BILL LANDIS, DENNIS MEISSNER, JOAN SCHWARTZ, ROBERT SPINDLER, SHARON THIBODEAU, THOMAS WILSTED, and HELENA ZINKHAM. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession. The program was established in 1957 and conferred annually. There are currently 182 Fellows.

DANNA BELL-RUSSEL is an educational outreach specialist in the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the Library of Congress, where she handles reference services, conducts workshops for educators, develops content for the Library’s website, and coordinates summer teacher institutes. She joined the Library of Congress in 1998, first working as a learning center specialist and then a digital reference specialist. A colleague who nominated Bell-Russel for the honor of Fellow called her “a dedicated servant within SAA, an articulate voice of reason and progress, a pragmatic and committed leader, and an energetic presence who exemplifies the activist archivist.” Another colleague noted, “It was Bell-Russel’s fire that insured that a Diversity Committee be appointed and given its charge to advance diversity in SAA.”

Bell-Russel has been a member of SAA since 1989 and has held several leadership positions, including being elected to the Council, serving as chair of the 2008-2009 Appointments Committee, and co-chair of the 2007 Program Committee. Bell-Russel holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Miami University and a master’s degree in library science from Long Island University.

Before joining the Library of Congress, Bell-Russel worked as the curator for the National Equal Justice Library at American University and as an archivist for the District of Columbia Public Library and the Henry Lee Moon Library at the NAACP. She is also an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference and the Special Library Association.

BILL LANDIS is head of processing at Yale University Library. One individual who nominated him as a Fellow wrote,“Bill is one of our great visionaries. He anticipates where we need to be in five or ten years, and determines how we need to adapt our practices to get there.”

Before joining the staff at Yale in 2006, Landis was a metadata coordinator for the California Digital Library and a manuscripts librarian for the University of California, Irvine. Landis earned a master’s in library and information science from the University of Michigan after picking up a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA.

A colleague recalls watching the younger Landis in action at a conference: “Bill was still a graduate student, but his passion for archival issues and his ability to influence events was already impressively sophisticated.”

He co-edited, with Robin Chandler, Archives in the Digital Library (2007) and also was a contributor to Describing Archives:A Content Standard (2004) and Encoded Archival Description Tag Library (2002). Along the way he has garnered a few honors: the Faculty Career Development Award from the University of California, Irvine; SAA’s 1998 C.F.W. Coker Award as a member of the Encoded Archival Description Working Group; the Charles F. Scott Graduate Fellowship from UCLA; and the University of Michigan’s Margaret Mann Award, an academic honor based upon demonstration of ability and promise of professional development.

He joined SAA in 1993 and has served on the Task Force on Sections and Roundtables, Committee on Education Task Force on Education Office Guidelines, and the Canadian-U.S. Task Force on Archival Description. Landis is currently a member of the American Archivist Editorial Board.

DENNIS MEISSNER is head of Collections Management for the Minnesota Historical Society, where he is responsible for a 28-employee department with a budget of $850,000. Meissner’s enthusiastic supporters who nominated him for Fellow refer to him as a: “stimulating thinker,” “absolutely good fellow,” and “a proverbial island of sanity in an increasingly chaotic world.” Many cited his seminal contribution to the profession as co-author with Mark Greene of “More Product, Less Process” (American Archivist, Fall/Winter 2005), which proposed radical changes in the way collections are processed.

At the Minnesota Historical Society, which he joined in 1973, Meissner has worked as a records analyst, manuscripts coordinator, and in various processing management positions. He earned his bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minn., and took graduate courses in American history at the University of Minnesota.

He has served as a grant evaluator for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and as a consultant for the Northwest Archives Processing Initiative and the Henry Ford Museum.

Meissner was instrumental in the development and implementation of Encoded Archival Description, chairing the Research Libraries Group’s EAD Advisory Group in 2001 to create Encoded Archival Description Guidelines. The group received SAA’s 2004 C.F.W. Coker Award for innovative development in archival description for the guidelines. Meissner has also been awarded an NHPRC Fellowship. A member of SAA since 1980, Meissner most recently chaired the Publications Board and served on the Task Force on Electronic Publications. He is working on a forthcoming book with Greene titled, Effective Processing: An Archival Reader. He currently serves as president of the Midwest Archives Conference.

JOAN SCHWARTZ is an associate professor and Queen’s National Scholar in the Department of Art at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Prior to joining the university, she held a variety of positions at the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa photography acquisition, research, and preservation departments.

A colleague who recommended Schwartz as an SAA Fellow said, “Joan stands almost alone as a visionary, advocate, and ambassador between the profession and academics in the area of visuality, visual materials, and the archives.”

Schwartz holds a Ph.D. in historical geography from Queen’s University in and a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia. Another nominator noted, “Dr. Schwartz’s doctoral research and her many publications have revolutionized how users of historical photographs in archives, including historians, geographers, historical geographers, photographic historians, and other archivists perceive not just photographs, but all visual media.”

Schwartz is the author of the 2003 book Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination. Her honors include two W. Kaye Lamb Prizes for the best article in Archivaria: in 1996 for “’We make our tools and our tools make us’: Lessons from Photographs for the Practice, Politics, and Poetics of Diplomatics,” and in 2001 for “‘Records of Simple Truth and Precision’: Photography, Archives and the Illusion of Control.” She also received the National Archives of Canada 125th Anniversary Award for notable achievement.

Schwartz has served on the SAA Program Committee and as a mentor to upcoming archivists. Her award presenter remarked, “From the students who have benefited from her teachings and mentoring, to the academics and peers who have been influenced by her views, all feel that Joan has profoundly elevated the perceived value of visual resources as essential evidence of the documentary record.”

ROB SPINDLER is head of Archives and Special Collections at Arizona State University-Tempe, where he has been on staff since 1988. When asked to comment on his nomination for Fellow, one associate remarked: “He is the sort of archivist with whom one longs to work on a daily basis, just to experience first-hand his knowledge, enthusiasm, intellect, and collaborative spirit.” Spindler, a Certified Archivist, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Boston University, and then went to Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science to obtain another master’s in archives management.

Spindler has served as chair of SAA’s Task Force on Electronic Publishing, the Description Section, the Nominating Committee, and the Committee on Archival Information Exchange. He was a member of the Encoded Archival Description Working Group that won the C.F.W. Coker Award in 1998 after developing the EAD encoding standard. Most recently he contributed a chapter on electronic publishing to the new SAA book, College and University Archives: Readings in Theory and Practice.

A colleague noted: “Rob’s work generally focuses on the most challenging issues of contemporary archives. He does not simply serve on a committee or board—he puts forward intelligent, well-articulated ideas, working tirelessly to ensure the work of the group is accomplished.”

In 2005, Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records honored Spindler with a Turtle Award, which recognizes individuals who cherish Arizona’s rich cultural heritage and who have supported the agency’s efforts to accomplish its mission. He is a member of the Society of Southwest Archivists, serves on the Arizona Historical Records Advisory Board, and is past president of the Arizona Paper and Photograph Conservation Group.

SHARON THIBODEAU is the deputy assistant archivist for Records Services at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. She previously served as director of Archival Operations at NARA’s College Park, Maryland, facility.

Colleagues who nominated Thibodeau for Fellow refer to her as “the single most welcoming and helpful person at NARA for many new arrivals, even those in other offices and programs.” One individual said, “I conducted a number of interviews at NARA, and, to a person, when asked who they most admired and trusted, Sharon Thibodeau was the first name offered.”

She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Colorado State University in 1968, and a Ph.D in the history of science from Yale University in 1972. Thibodeau joined the National Archives in 1976. Her associates point out her “pioneering work in the early days of the custodial program for electronic records” and her “major role in bringing the National Archives into the mainstream of national and international descriptive practice.”

Thibodeau, a member of SAA since 1979, has been a driving force in archival description. She served on the Working Group on Standards for Archival Description, was part of the team that developed Encoded Archival Description, and was behind the development of two international standards—General International Standard Archival Description and the International Standard Archival Authority Record.

She served on the SAA Council from 1995 to 1998 and has served as chair of the Committee on Archival Information Exchange and on the Program Committee. She is also active in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, the Society for History in the Federal Government, and the History of Science Society.

THOMAS WILSTED, recently retired director of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, was described by one of his nominators for the honor of Fellow as “a dynamic and visionary leader who sees the big picture and commands respect in a very natural and unassuming way.”

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center was established in 1996 at the University of Connecticut and Wilsted became its first director. “Tom served tirelessly to elevate the stature of the Center and it is under his leadership that it has enjoyed immeasurable successes,” noted his Connecticut colleagues. Wilsted, who retired in June, is now an archival consultant based in Arizona.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Kalamazoo College in 1966 and a master’s degree in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1968. A career that would take him around the country and then overseas began that same year when he took his first job as a field services representative for the Illinois State Historical Library. He then moved to New Zealand to become the manuscripts librarian at the Alexander Trumbull Library in Wellington. His next home was New York City, where he joined the Salvation Army Archives and Research Center as its director. The journey continued when he headed West to serve as director of the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Wilsted’s honors include the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference’s Arline Custer Memorial Award for best book for his co-authorship of Managing Archives and Manuscripts Repositories (SAA, 1991) and the Wyoming State Historical Society’s Henryetta Berry Memorial Award for promoting state history. A member of SAA since 1982, he wrote Planning New and Remodeled Archival Facilities in 2007.

HELENA ZINKHAM is currently the acting chief for the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress. Colleagues who nominated Zinkham for the honor of Fellow refer to her as “one of those magical individuals who brings out the best in others.”

Zinkham began her career working with pictures at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. She became the curator of prints and photographs at the New York Historical Society in 1980 and joined the Library of Congress in 1984 as a cataloger in the Prints and Photographs Division.

One of Zinkham’s supporters remarked, “She is grounded in reality and yet grasps the ideals—and can see practical ways to get from here to there.” Another recalled how she was a key member of several groups that created Encoded Archival Description (EAD): “Without Helena’s efforts to organize and focus members through gentle direction of strong personalities, EAD might never have come to fruition. Her tact, firmness, and ability to draw the conversation to points of agreement saved the day.”

Honors for that work include the Bentley Library Fellowship for the Berkeley Finding Aid Project (1995) and the C.F.W. Coker Award for the EAD Group (1998). She also received the JSC Certificate of Appreciation in 2006, the Library of Congress Meritorious Service Award in 1999, and the Library of Congress Special Achievement Award in 1998. Associates at the Library of Congress cite her work on the Optical Disk Pilot Project and the American Memory Project, and her current effort to move collections into the online FLICKR environment: “Once again, Helena is leading the way, introducing the archival and library communities to creative and low-cost ways to implement new technologies that help us build our base of users nationwide.”

Zinkham was a major contributor to SAA’s Photographs: Archival Care and Management, published in 2006. She has been a member of SAA since 1987.


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Criteria and Selection Committee

The Committee for the Selection of SAA Fellows evaluates nominees on the following criteria: appropriate academic education and professional and technical training; a minimum of seven years professional experience in any of the fields encompassed in the archival profession; writing of superior quality and usefulness in advancing SAA objectives; and contributions to the archival profession through work in and for SAA.

As specified by the SAA constitution, election as Fellow is by 75 percent vote of the Committee for the Selection of SAA Fellows. The committee consisted of the five immediate past presidents of SAA—Richard Pearce-Moses (chair), Elizabeth W. Adkins, CA, Timothy L. Ericson, Peter Hirtle, and Randall Jimerson—and three Fellows selected by Council—Linda M. Matthews, Robert S. Martin, and Charles R. Schultz.