Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award: Russell Gasero

Russell Gasero, archivist for the Reformed Church in America for forty-two years, is the 2023 recipient of the Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in conjunction with the Society of Southwest Archivists. The award honors an archivist who has made a significant contribution to the field of religious archives.

Recently retired, Gasero’s archival career of nearly fifty years has significantly shaped the landscape of religious archives and the Society of American Archivists. A graduate of Hope College and Rutgers University, Gasero began his career at the United Nations Archives, before establishing the Reformed Church in American Archives in 1978. He was among the first class of members in the Academy of Certified Archivists. Within SAA, Russell cofounded and served on the steering committee of the Archivists of Religious Institutions (ARI) group, which set the stage for other regional religious archives groups in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1991, he presented the new name for the Archivists of Religious Collections Section (ARCS) and was elected vice-chair/chair-elect that same year. More recently, Russell served on the ARCS Models and Resources Committee, which develops guidelines and sample policies relating to the administration of religious collections. Gasero also was instrumental in the founding of SAA’s Lone Arrangers Section in 2003 and served as its chair for several years.

Russell has frequently presented and chaired sessions at SAA’s and ARI’s annual meetings, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, and the American Association for State and Local History, and has embraced the form of video blogging to share resources and guidance for archivists. In addition, he has authored and contributed to several publications, including the chapter “The Story of the Archives of the Reformed Church in America,” in Tools for Understanding: Essays in Honor of Donald J. Bruggink (Reformed Church Press, 2009); the memoir A Historical Footprint: Reflections on a Life in the Archives (Wit & Intellect Publishing LLC, 2021); and Why Do We Have Archives? (Reformed Church Press, 2022).

His supporter noted: “Because of his enduring dedication to archives, his support of archivists of all ages, his advocacy for the profession, and his ongoing commitment to participating in professional endeavors and volunteerism, Gasero truly has exhibited the spirit that we celebrate through the Sister M. Claude Lane, OP Memorial Award.”

Created in 1974, this award honors Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., a Dominican nun who was the first professionally trained archivist at the Catholic Archives of Texas in Austin. Past recipients include Carol W. Smith, archivist for Christ Church Preservation Trust, and Mary Grace Kosta, Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.