Fellow: Terry Baxter

Terry Baxter, archivist for the Multnomah County Records Program and Oregon County Fair, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and SAA in Austin, TX, 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.

Baxter’s nominators noted his actions as an archivist are tied directly to his core values as an individual: “Baxter’s initiative, resourcefulness and leadership—wrapped in his commitment to helping archivists make the world better—are reflected throughout his thirty-four years of service to SAA and other professional organizations, his writings and presentations, and his personal interactions.” Baxter’s contribution to the archival profession lies within his ongoing dedication to the critical work of advancing the understanding and practice of diversity and inclusion through various publications, presentations, and leadership roles. Baxter is a founding member of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums, and he also serves as a Board member at the Northwest History Network.

Within SAA, Baxter has consistently brought his initiative, intellect, and innate ability to make personal connections open difficult conversations and reshape thought in order to move the profession forward. In addition to being elected to the SAA Council, serving on two program committees, and participating in a multitude of special interest committees, Baxter has presented at more than seven Annual Meetings, highlighting important topics such as archives and institutional power, the diversity of the American record, the politics of documenting communities, and tattoos as personal archives.

During the 2017 Annual Meeting in Portland, Baxter conceptualized and implemented “The Liberated Archive: A Forum for Envisioning and Implementing a Community-Based Approach to Archives” intended to envision how archivists might partner with the public to repurpose the archives as a site of social transformation and radical inclusion. This innovative full-day program was designed to benefit both SAA members and the community in Portland, Oregon. Baxter’s acknowledgement of the role and power of communities in the archival profession can be best described in his words: “The future of the archival endeavor will increasingly reside in the relationships among archivists and communities. If we do not connect, heart to heart, with the communities we serve we will become an increasingly irrelevant profession.”

As one supporter noted: “Many archivists care, but Baxter has consistently put his pen and his words where his very big heart is.”