And the 2003 SAA Awards Go To...

The Society of American Archivists celebrated outstanding archival achievements in public service, advocacy, and writing and provided scholarship assistance to students at an awards ceremony held Aug. 22, 2003, during SAA's 67th annual meeting at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. The annual competition recognizes accomplishments of the preceding calendar year.

The Awards Committee, co-chaired by Alexandra Gressitt and Diane Dimkoff, worked with subcommittees in the selection process for each award.

SAA heartily congratulates the following award recipients as well as all who participated in the awards competition.


J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY (ASU) received SAA’s 2003 J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award. Established in 1990, this prestigious award, named in honor of a historian and advocate for the archival profession, recognizes an organization that promotes greater public awareness of archival activities and programs. Dean of ASU Libraries Sherrie Schmidt accepted the award on behalf of ASU.

The award recognized the work of ASU’s Electronic College and University Records (ECURE) conference ( The university, in hosting and funding four ECURE conferences to date, has significantly increased public awareness and appreciation of archives. More specifically, ECURE conferences have advanced understanding of electronic records management. The conferences have lowered professional boundaries, bringing administrators, archivists, records mangers, and information technologists together in a manner revealing the important expertise and potential contribution of each profession to the common objective of developing and implementing sound electronic records management practices. ECURE has facilitated the development of truly interdisciplinary problem-solving teams at universities across the country. ECURE conferences would not have been possible without the generous and sustaining support of ASU.

Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award

The Society of American Archivists’ 2003 Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award for increasing public awareness about manuscripts and archives was presented to the NEW YORK STATE ARCHIVES PARTNERSHIP TRUST in recognition of its quarterly publication, New York Archives. The award was established in 1973 and is named for two SAA Fellows and former presidents.

Handsomely designed and printed, New York Archives offers a visually appealing introduction to the archival world. Its articles are uniformly well written and amply reflect the diversity of peoples and experiences that comprise the history of New York State. Moreover, although under the sponsorship of the state archives program, the magazine taps the resources of many institutions across the state. Through that approach, it promotes awareness not merely of one institution or collection, but of institutions large and small across the state. Regular features, such as “In Their Own Words,” “Genealogy,” and “Parting Shots,” provide the reader with insight into different dimensions of the archival endeavor, including the good stewardship of the documentary record undertaken by the archival profession. New York Archives is an excellent vehicle for archival outreach.

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

THERESA “TERRY” THOMPSON of the Anglican Church of Canada Archives of the General Synod is the recipient of the Society of American Archivists’ 2003 Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award for her significant contribution to the field of religious archives. Established in 1974, the award is sponsored in conjunction with and funded by the Society of Southwest Archivists.

Since becoming archivist for the Anglican Church in 1979, Thompson has established an archives and records management program that has become a model for all of the dioceses of the church throughout Canada. She has created networks, training manuals, and workshops for local church archives as well as successfully advocated for making the archives an indispensable part of the operation of the institution.

This was never more important than when the Anglican Church of Canada became a defendant in more than 1,500 lawsuits filed by former students of Indian residential schools, which sent the church into years of litigation and near bankruptcy. During this period, Thompson provided litigation support, testified to the authentication of historical documentation, and provided research services and interpretation of records that were critical. A working set of 16,000 documents was identified and each case also required case-specific research. During all of this, she maintained professional archives standards and practices while under intense pressure, scrutiny, and conflict. The settlement for the church last year is now also serving as a model for other Canadian denominations facing similar suits. The Anglican Church archives collections were also recognized as essential to the ongoing process of healing and reconciliation as the church works with indigenous partners for justice.

In addition, Thompson’s contributions extend beyond her own institution. She has served in multiple capacities for the Association of Canadian Archivists, including as treasurer, vice president, and president. She has been an active member of SAA, the International Council on Archives, and the Canadian Council of Archives. She was a consultant to the World Student Christian Federation Archives and on the board of the Student Christian Movement of Canada, and, more recently, a founding member of the International Working Group on Archives of the Anglican Communion. In 2002, the Archives Association of Ontario recognized the Anglican Church of Canada Archives of the General Synod with a service award.

Fellows' Posner Award

SAA’s 2003 Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award was presented to WILLIAM G. ROSENBERG of the University of Michigan for his article, “Politics in the (Russian) Archives: The Objectivity Question, Trust and the Limitation of Law,” published in volume 64 of the American Archivist. The award, established in 1982 by the Fellows of SAA and named for former SAA President Ernst Posner, recognizes an outstanding essay dealing with some facet of archival administration, history, theory, and/or methodology published in the latest volume of SAA’s semi-annual journal.

Rosenberg is the Alfred G. Meyer Professor of History at the University of Michigan and a noted Russian/Soviet Union historian. In this fascinating and thought-provoking article, he challenges the archival community to make the selection, description, and availability of records as transparent and objective as possible. This challenge is based on the deep understanding of archives, archival practice, and changing archival legislation and procedures he experienced in working in the archival holdings of various Soviet/Russian and American archives over many years. That experience was broadened by membership on the Joint Task Force on Archives sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies and the American Historical Association, which produced a landmark report in 1995 on the changes official archives faced after the fall of the Soviet Union. His archival understanding was further refined during the 2000/2001 academic year, when he co-directed the University of Michigan’s Sawyer Seminar with Francis X. Blouin, Director of the Bentley Historical Library. The year-long seminar, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, focused on “Archives, Documentation, and the Institutions of Social Memory” and featured nearly 100 presentations by U.S. and international archivists on archival issues.

Rosenberg argues that politics are never far removed from “any important question about the role and function of archives.” Drawing from his experience in both Soviet/Russian and American archives, he demonstrates that control over and within archives ultimately determines what is collected, when it is available for users, and how it is described. Users are dependent upon the archivist to keep archival politics and the relation of power they reflect as transparent as possible. He articulates the nervousness historians and, by extension, all users, feel when using archives and the questions they ask: Does this body of records represent an appropriate memory of the past? Is this body of records authentic? How can these records be verified? Has the archival mantle of objectivity disguised or distorted the picture? Archives, as an institution of social memory, implicitly gain an aura of authenticity and uncontestable fact. The challenge to the archival community is to document its activities in such a manner that reassures the user about the archivist, the process, and the resulting archival collections.

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Waldo Gifford Leland Award

SAA’s 2003 Waldo Gifford Leland Award for writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the field of archival history, theory, or practice was presented to JOAN ECHTENKAMP KLEIN of the University of Virginia Health System for the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection Web site. Established in 1959, the award is named for one of North America’s archival pioneers and SAA’s second president.

Klein embraced technology to foster an understanding of the historical record as the project director for the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant-funded digitization and World Wide Web project. Her approach exemplifies the positive transformation by archivists and curators from print to electronic media, demonstrating that digital projects can serve a multitude of purposes. In an attractive, easy-to-navigate site——beautifully written text reveals the dramatic story of the conquest of this dreaded disease. The site provides many ways to learn about Yellow Fever and its history, to view interesting images and important letters and documents—more than 5,000—and to search for persons, places and subjects relating to the disease and the collection. From an access perspective, the site offers several methods of retrieving documents and provides unique features, such as digital images of documents with transcriptions that include encoding schemes to provide rich metadata, corresponding abstracts of digital documents, and the use of controlled vocabulary to enhance subject retrieval.

Klein holds a dual appointment at the University of Virginia, where she serves as assistant director for Historical Collections and Services at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, and assistant professor for Medical Education at the School of Medicine. Her work demonstrates how archivists and curators who oversee important historical collections can become creative and imaginative, and can perform a public service that reaches beyond the archival repository.

Theodore Calvin Pease Award

SAA’s 2003 Theodore Calvin Pease Award was presented to GLENN DINGWALL of the University of British Columbia for his student paper, “Trusting Archivists: The Role of Archival Ethics Codes in Establishing Public Faith.” Established in 1987, the award is named for the first editor of SAA’s semi-annual journal, American Archivist, and recognizes superior writing achievement by a student enrolled in archival administration classes or engaged in formal archival internship programs. The award consists of a certificate, cash prize, and forthcoming publication of Dingwall’s paper in the American Archivist.

Dingwall’s award-winning paper was prepared for a directed studies course taught by Professor Heather MacNeil in the Master of Archival Studies Program at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, University of British Columbia. The paper provides a concise background on ethical theories and perspectives and examines the issues surrounding ethics and professionalism and the importance of codes of ethics for professions. It also examines existing archival codes of ethics to analyze the ways in which they can be both effective and ineffective in promoting a sense of public faith in archivists as trusted professionals.

Through careful scholarship, clear presentation, and thoughtful analysis, Dingwall’s paper strikes new ground in its comparative analysis of existing ethical codes and in the connections it makes between literature from outside the archival field and the ethical challenges that the archival profession faces. It reflects a broad understanding of the thinking behind professional codes of ethics and the challenges that must be met to make them truly effective.

Dingwall is the fourth student from the University of British Columbia to win the award.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Award

SAA’s 2003 Oliver Wendell Holmes Award was presented to JI-HYUN KIM from Korea. Established in 1979 and named for an SAA Fellow and former president, the award assists overseas archivists already in the United States or Canada for training to travel to and attend SAA’s conference. Kim received the award on Aug. 22, 2003, at SAA’s 67th annual meeting in Los Angeles.

Kim is enrolled in the doctoral program in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. She is working on several research projects, including an analysis of archival Web sites and a large-scale study of Encoded Archival Description (EAD) implementation. She recently completed a paper examining EAD encoding practices across a wide spectrum of archival repositories.

Kim completed a master’s degree at the University of Michigan School of Information with specialization in archives and records management. She has an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in library and information science from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul. Kim hopes to return to Korea and teach archives at one of the country’s library and information science schools.

Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award

MICHELLE BAILDON is the recipient of the Society of American Archivists’ 2002 Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award. The award, which is coordinated through SAA’s Archivists and Archives of Color Roundtable, recognizes minority undergraduate and graduate students of African, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American descent who, through scholastic achievement, manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of SAA. Baildon received complimentary registration to SAA’s 67th annual meeting in Los Angeles.

Baildon received a B.A. in history and science from Harvard University in 1997; an M.A. in American Studies from Yale University in 2001; and an M.L.I.S. from Simmons College in August 2003. She has received numerous awards and scholarships, including the ALA Spectrum Scholarship in 2002; the LITA/OCLC Minority Student Scholarship in 2002; and the Midwest Archives Conference Archie Motley Scholarship for Minority Students in 2003. Her archives experience includes internships at Massachusetts Historical Society, Tufts University Digital Collections and Archives, and Harvard Medical School Rare Books and Special Collections. She has also worked part-time at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Archives and Special Collections. She recently secured a professional position at the Boston College O’Neil Library, where she will be working in the areas of digital initiatives, scholarly communication, and reference and instruction.

The award, established in 1993, honors the late Dr. Harold T. Pinkett, who served with distinction during his long tenure at the National Archives and Records Administration and was a Fellow of SAA.

Colonial Dames Scholarship Award

Two newcomers to the archival profession, SISTER FRANCES M. GIMBER, RSCJ, and ELI NAEHER, received SAA’s 2003 Colonial Dames Scholarship Award. Established in 1974, the award enables new archivists each year to attend the Modern Archives Institute of the National Archives and Records Administration. Each scholarship covers up to $1,200 of the total tuition, travel, and housing expenses associated with attending the institute. To be eligible for this scholarship an individual must have been employed less than two years as an archivist and work in an archives or manuscripts collection where a fair percentage of the repository’s holding’s predate 1825. The award is funded by the Colonial Dames of America, Chapter III, Washington, D.C.

Sister Frances M. Gimber of the Society of the Sacred Heart Provincial Archives in St. Louis, Mo., attended the winter Modern Archives Institute. Eli Naeher, archives assistant at the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society in Wilmington, N.C., attended the summer Modern Archives Institute.

Council Exemplary Service Award

SAA’s governing council selected four individuals to receive the Council Exemplary Service Award in 2003:

BRENDA BANKS, deputy director of the Georgia Archives, was honored for challenging SAA to embrace a diverse membership and for encouraging the protection and preservation of historical records, especially those documenting the African American experience.

While many encourage change, Banks has worked throughout her career to make it happen. Most recently, she has served as consultant for the Cooperative HBCU Archival Survey Project, which surveyed the archival collections at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This important project assisted HBCU archivists in creating descriptions of their collections and making these descriptions available on the Internet, thereby providing access to some of the richest resource material on African American history.

Banks has coordinated and served as lead instructor for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Archival Institute, a program to help provide education and training for archivists and librarians who care for archival and manuscript collections at these institutions. As part of the curriculum, institute attendees are encouraged to join SAA and, in 2002, she shepherded 27 of the 47 participants from the first two years of the institute to the SAA conference in Birmingham, Ala. For many, it was their first time at an SAA conference. This year an additional 17 archivists and librarians from HBCUs and other African American archival repositories are participating in the archival institute.

In addition she has helped in the development of the Archival Assistants training program providing formal training for archival assistants working at HBCUs, formal training not often provided to these staff members. She has worked with her alma mater, Spelman College, to obtain grant money to fund these projects and many others to help ensure the preservation of materials that document the activities of HBCUs, including those of her alma mater.

A Fellow and former president of SAA, Banks continues to make SAA a stronger and diverse organization by being a model of activism and excellence through her work and example.

ALEXANDRA S. GRESSITT of Richmond, Va., was honored for her unflinching service during her two consecutive terms as chair of the SAA Awards Committee.

The recognition of one’s professional peers is the highest personal or institutional achievement one can reach. At the same time, the SAA awards process helps the archival profession identify the very best it has to offer and, as a result, helps improve the entire profession. Thus, chairing the SAA Awards Committee is one of the most important tasks in the association and also one of the hardest. The chairperson coordinates the work of thirteen different awards subcommittees as well as the Awards Committee itself, serving on half of those subcommittees. In Gressitt’s case, because her first co-chair could not continue to serve, she took on these duties for a second term. She did more than just make sure the awards subcommittee did its work, however; she also organized lists of appropriate nominations to fill vacancies on all the subcommittees. In addition, she compared the description of each of the awards subcommittees to existing committee documentation, ultimately refining and enhancing the end product.

CARROLL DENDLER and DEBRA NOLAN were cited for their “yeomen’s work as interim executive co-directors of SAA, providing invaluable leadership” throughout the ten-month-long search process. In addition, their extraordinary talents have benefited SAA for many years.

Dendler arrived at SAA in 1992 to serve as the finance and human resources director. She quickly proved her value to the organization with her meticulous attention to financial details. Her reputation for hard work, dedication, attention to detail and ability to “squeeze every possible dime out of SAA’s budget” is well noted. Dendler previously received this award in 2001 for her “extraordinary grasp of SAA’s financial minutia and human resources.”

Nolan joined SAA in 1991 as meetings/member services director, and within very little time became a standout member of the staff. She was promoted to assistant executive director in 1995, and served in that capacity for two years. In 1997, she moved to Florida and has since served SAA as a meetings consultant. Nolan has an astonishing ability to juggle lots of details, always maintaining a positive relationship with hotel staffs, vendors, presenters, Council members, staff members and SAA members.

When SAA’s former executive director departed in September 2002, Dendler and Nolan agreed to divide the responsibilities of the position while continuing to maintain their regular duties. The search for a new executive director took ten months and, throughout that process, Dendler and Nolan maintained a considerable workload. They did an outstanding job maintaining member services, meeting the governing council’s information needs, providing guidance and assistance to staff, and moving forward with scheduled events and a new budget. Although their responsibilities as interim executive co-directors officially ended July 15 when the new executive director joined SAA, they continue to play a key role in helping with the transition.