Deborah A. Richards, Candidate for Nominating Committee


Deborah A. Richards

Special Collections Archivist, Mount Holyoke College

“We are at a point in our profession where I believe the key to future success is focusing on action (not words) and practice (not theory) around diversity and equity.”



  • Special Collections Archivist, Mount Holyoke College Archives & Special Collections, 2014–present.
  • Assistant Archivist, Smith College Archives, 20062013.
  • Manuscript Processor and Encoded Archival Description Retrospective Conversion Project Manager, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, 19992006.


  • Archives Leadership Institute, Berea, KY, 2018.
  • MS in Library and Information Science with an Archives Management Concentration, Simmons College.
  • MA in American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston.
  • BA in History with a minor in Women’s Studies, Oregon State University.


  • Society of American Archivists: Diverse Sexuality and Gender Section (formerly Lesbian and Gay Archives Roundtable/LAGAR), Facebook page co-administrator (2009present), Steering Committee (2005present), Co-chair (20012005); Mentoring Program, Subcommittee (20132015), Mentor (2005–2007, 2010, 2013–present); Navigator Program, Navigator (2005–present); Acquisitions and Appraisal Section, Steering Committee (2007–2010); Diversity Committee, LAGAR representative (20102013); Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable, Steering Committee (20052009); Women Archivists Roundtable, Steering Committee (20002002), Webmaster (20002003); SAA Student Chapter at Simmons College, Co-chair (19981999). 
  • New England Archivists: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Issues Roundtable, Steering Committee (2015present); Communications Survey Task Force (2002); Diversity Committee (20112012); Membership Committee (20042011); Membership Recruitment and Retention Task Force, Co-chair (20062008); Membership Secretary (20012004); Mentoring Program, Mentor (2017); Nominating Committee (20052006); Susan von Salis Student Meeting and Travel Scholarship Committee (2015); Web Coordinator and Committee (20002001). 
  • Rainbow Heritage Network: Founding Board Member (20152017).


  • “’No Documents, No History:' Women, Archives, and History Making,” Berkshires Conference of Women Historians, Hofstra University, Long Island, NY (2017).
  • “Legacy, Trust, and Legitimacy: Challenges in Developing and Promoting LGBTQ Collections in Small Repositories,” Without Borders, LGBTQ+ Archives, Libraries, Museums, and Special Collections Conference, London Metropolitan Archives, London, England (2016).
  • “Hidden Hands in the Archives: or, the Role of Information Professionals in Literary Recovery,” Society for the Study of American Women Writers, Philadelphia, PA (2015).
  • “Updating Our Community Outreach Archives,” Society of American Archivists, San Diego, CA (2013).



Although Nominating Committee members serve for just one year, their work has a lasting impact on SAA and its members through the selection of Vice Presidential, Council, and Treasurer candidates, as well as selection of the Nominating Committee slate that determines the next set of slates. Given the long-term reach of the Nominating Committee, what will be your approach in developing a slate of candidates that 1) demonstrates commitment to SAA's strategic goals and 2) facilitates the organization's mission of promoting the value and diversity of archives and archivists?  


Reading over the strategic goals, the line “what will constitute future success?” has remained with me. I strongly believe that diverse voices must be included in the leadership of our profession as well as represented in the collections we steward.  We are at a point in our profession where I believe the key to future success is focusing on action (not words) and practice (not theory) around diversity and equity. Building SAA up to nurture and sustain a diverse and inclusive membership, which in turn supports building and preserving collections that document different communities and histories in our world, is vital as we move forward. I believe an essential part of doing that important work is finding a varied pool of candidates who not only bring different life experiences to the table but also demonstrate in their daily work an on-the-ground commitment to diversity and inclusivity in their practice.


Slate of Candidates

The Nominating Committee has slated the following SAA members as candidates for office in the 2019 election:

Vice President/President-Elect


Nominating Committee