Awards and Scholarships

Outstanding Contributions to the Archives Professions

Distinguished Service Award

The American Heritage Center (AHC), University of Wyoming, was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, which was established in 1964 and recognizes an archives institution, education program, nonprofit organization, or governmental organization that has given outstanding service to its public and has made an exemplary contribution to the archival profession. Director Mark A. Greene accepted the award on behalf of the center.

Over the last two decades, the AHC has evolved into an exemplary archival institution that serves as an inspiration to the profession. The “More Product, Less Process” (MPLP) theory of archival processing, which the AHC co-developed, has amounted to a revolution in practice and has made a significant impact on the entire archives profession. In a similar vein, the AHC has contributed to the development of archival theory and practice by promoting reappraisal and deaccessioning as standard collection management tools.

The AHC serves its constituencies in an outstanding fashion by maintaining an active K–12 and undergraduate outreach program, administering History Day for the State of Wyoming, and providing consistently excellent reference service. Since 2003, AHC has adopted an accessioning process that ensures new collections do not disappear into an invisible backlog, launched a pilot project to apply MPLP theory to digitization efforts, and is currently experimenting with a new model for its acquisitions program.

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

Sister Jane Aucoin received the Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award, which honors an individual archivist who has made a significant contribution to the field of religious archives. Upon becoming the archivist for the Congregation of St. Joseph, Aucoin embraced professional membership and archival training and began employing principles of arrangement, description, access, and preservation to the congregation’s collections.

“Sister Jane Aucoin has been a faithful sister of the Congregation of St. Joseph for 66 years, and she served as archivist for the Congregation from 1999 to 2009,” said one Awards Committee member. “She organized archives from the Congregation of St. Joseph from Minnesota, Ohio, and Louisiana into a single repository in New Orleans.”

During her 10-plus years as archivist, Sr. Jane was dedicated to the organization, arrangement, and preservation of the materials in the Congregation of St. Joseph archives, both in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, forced the evacuation of the sisters from the city of New Orleans due to widespread floodwaters, and the collection had to be moved. Preparing the collection required four weeks of 10-hour days in a difficult environment. Sr. Jane persevered and succeeded in safely housing and moving the collection.

In 2008, Hurricane Gustav brought a second challenge to the Sisters and their archival collection. This time water threatened from above due to roof damage. Sr. Jane enlisted volunteers and collaborated with the Diocese of Baton Rouge Archives to temporarily relocate the most vulnerable items in the collection until repairs could be completed.

Upon Sr. Jane’s retirement late in 2009, she again directed the movement of the collection to Wichita, Kansas, where the materials remain today.

Created in 1974, the award is funded by the Society of Southwest Archivists and 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, where she served from 1960 until her death in 1974.

Spotlight Award

Ann Russell was honored with the Spotlight Award, which recognizes the contributions of individuals who work for the good of the profession and archives collections—work that does not typically receive public recognition. Between 1978 and the present, Russell worked for archives, special collections, and historical societies nationwide in staff training; emergency planning and collections salvage work; digital project planning; digital conservation; advocacy and outreach to grant funders; as well as teaching, writing, and consulting.

One nominator noted her as “one of the moving forces and creative mothers of preservation in the United States. She has shown herself to be creative, collaborative, innovative, effective, flexible, and tireless in service of the archival profession and the records we hold.”

As director of Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), Russell initiated the center’s field service office and obtained ongoing grant funding to support staff positions. She launched internship programs that seeded at least 50 conservators into the profession at labs across the country. Russell envisioned and raised funds for dPlan, an innovative online disaster planning tool used by cultural heritage repositories, particularly archives nationwide. In May 2009, after 30 years of service, Russell retired as executive director of NEDCC.

Council Exemplary Service Award

Kathleen Roe, director of archives and records management operations at the New York State Archives and David Carmicheal, director of the Georgia Archives, received the Council Exemplary Service Award for their outstanding service to SAA and the archives profession. The award cited their hard work on the Joint Task Force on Preserving the American Historical Record (PAHR) since its inception in August 2006; their collaborative advocacy efforts between and among SAA, CoSA, NAGARA, regional archives organizations, and affiliated organizations; development and support of PAHR legislation; and support of passage of PAHR in the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate.

Both Roe and Carmichael are Fellows of the SAA. Roe has served on or chaired a number of SAA committees. She has been honored by the Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College for her contributions to documenting New York's Latino communities, awarded three NEH-Mellon Fellowships for the Study of Archival Administration, and been a member of several national and international archives practices research projects. Carmicheal is a past president of CoSA, and has led a disaster assessment team that reported on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi coast.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) also received the Council Exemplary Service Award for FOIA and related services.

Advocacy / Public Awareness

J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award

The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation was awarded the J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award, which honors an individual, institution, or organization that promotes greater public awareness, appreciation, or support of archives. The Delmas Foundation was honored for its long-term support of and involvement in the archival profession’s work to address the challenges of managing, preserving, and providing access to archival records, and to fostering the development of the archival profession.

As one Awards Committee member noted, “The Foundation has had a true broad and long-term impact on the archival profession by 1) making it possible for a group of American archivists to meet with their Canadian counterparts to discuss the possible creation of a common North American descriptive standard; 2) funding the Primarily History Project at the University of Glasgow and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to address the questions of how best to configure electronic access tools to support research; and 3) funding the 1999 Working Meeting of Graduate Archival Educators held at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Studies.”

Established in 1989, the award is named for the noted American historian J. Franklin Jameson.

Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award

The Giza Archives at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston received the Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award, which recognizes individuals or institutions that have increased public awareness of archives documents. The Giza Archives was honored for its outstanding efforts in promoting its vast holdings of early-20th-century archaeological expedition records. The Giza Archives and its accompanying website provided unprecedented access to the records of the Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts archaeological expedition to the Giza Pyramids during the early 1900s. The digitization of thousands of glass plate negatives, expedition diary pages, object records, maps, and manuscripts allow people from all over the world to virtually explore Giza and learn more about the history of archeology.

“The website’s creative display, visual search, and high-resolution zoom features effectively use today’s technology to provide insight into the ancient Egyptian civilization during the Pyramid Age,” said one Awards Committee member. Scholars and enthusiasts alike now have immediate access to important primary research materials that previously had been difficult, and in some cases impossible, to examine.

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

Writing / Publishing Excellence

C.F.W. Coker Award

The North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries Special Collections Research Center was awarded the C.F.W. Coker Award for its finding aid redesign project. 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. To merit consideration for the award, nominees must set national standards, represent a model for archives description, or otherwise have a substantial impact on national descriptive practice.

“With its robust search functionality including full-text searching, faceted browsing, and a virtual book-bag for saving collection information, the NCSU Libraries Special Collections finding aid redesign project sets a new benchmark for both the accessibility and usability of archival finding aids,” said one member of the Awards Committee. Using state-of-the-art web technologies, the Center builds on standard descriptive practices to place collections more directly in users’ pathways and research expectations.

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

Waldo Gifford Leland Award

The Waldo Gifford Leland Award was presented to Karen D.  Paul (United States Senate), Glenn R. Gray (Federal Reserve Board), and L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin (University of Delaware) for their editorship of the book An American Political Archives Reader. The award is given for writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the fields of archival history, theory, or practice.

This volume, published by Scarecrow Press in 2009, addresses very real and immediate needs within the American archival community. Editors Paul, Gray, and Melvin seamlessly bring together recent scholarship pertaining to the unique challenges of documenting complex and voluminous congressional collections. The work covers a broad landscape while offering fresh perspectives in the areas of arrangement and description.  

An American Political Archives Reader also provides invaluable information on less written topics, such as the topic of building research centers. “This work will be of superior use to archivists confronted with political collections, especially those who are not in congressional research centers,” said one Awards Committee member.

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

Preservation Publication Award

Archival and Special Collections Facilities: Guidelines for Archivists, Librarians, Architects, and Engineers, edited by Michele Pacifico and Thomas Wilsted, received the Preservation Publication Award, which recognizes the author(s) or editor(s) of an outstanding published work related to archives preservation.

Archival and Special Collections Facilities, published by SAA in 2009, is the product of the SAA Task Force on Archival Facilities Guidelines and the SAA Standards Committee. The book, which includes contributions from archivists, architects, conservators, and construction specialists, is intended as a working document toward development of a national standard for archival facilities, and it should serve as a resource for archival facilities design, construction, and renovation.  The book covers topics such as the building site and construction, archival environments, fire protection, and security. Contributors include Patrick Alexander, Nick Artim, David Carmicheal, Ernest Conrad, Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, Scott Teixeira, and Diane Vogt-O’Connor.

The Preservation Publication Award was established in 1993.

Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award

The Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award was presented to Scott Cline, city archivist at the Seattle Municipal Archives, for his article “To the Limit of Our Integrity”: Reflections on Archival Being” in American Archivist (vol. 72, no. 2). Established in 1982, this award recognizes an outstanding essay dealing with some facet of archival administration, history, theory, and/or methodology that was published during the preceding year in American Archivist.

The Award Committee noted that Cline’s essay was “innovative and thought-provoking, integrating a breadth of sources and personal experience into a coherent and eloquently written piece on what it means to be an archivist in the world today. The four values proposed for archivists to inform how they do their work in a moral and ethical manner (faith, radical self-understanding, intention, and integrity) is a provocative invitation to engage in self-examination. Inspiring a discussion among archivists who are just embarking on their careers or an internal dialogue for those who are assessing decades in the profession, the piece addresses the best parts of who we are as individuals as well as a profession.”

The Awards Committee also gave an Honorable Mention to Jeffrey Mifflin for his article, “'Closing the Circle': Native American Writings in Colonial New England, a Documentary Nexus between Acculturation and Cultural Preservation,” American Archivist (vol. 72, no. 2).

The Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award is named for Ernst Posner, an SAA Fellow, former president, and distinguished author.

Theodore Calvin Pease Award

Emily Monks-Leeson, a student in the Archives and Records Management Path within the Master of Information Program at the University of Toronto, was named the winner of the Theodore Calvin Pease Award for her paper, “Archives on the Internet: Representing Contexts and Provenance from Repository to Website.”

Monks wrote the paper in a second-year course, “Archival Representation,” during the winter term of the 2009–2010 academic year. Associate Professor Heather MacNeil nominated the paper, which provides an in-depth analysis of the representational practices at play in digital archives. In examining two specific websites in the context of archival theory, the paper makes a compelling argument that these digital archives represent provenance and context in new and more flexible ways. The insights from this discussion not only apply to the digitization practices of archives, but also to the way in which archivists conceptualize the key tenets of archival theory and practice.

From choice of topic to approach to delivery, the paper demonstrates a high level of creativity and originality. The paper explores an important topic relevant to different types of repositories making their holdings available online. Professor MacNeil noted, “It is a worthwhile contribution to contemporary discussion surrounding the ‘archival turn’ in the humanities disciplines and the impact of that turn on archival theory and practice.”

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

Travel Awards

Oliver Wendell Holmes Travel Award

Elaine Goh a doctoral student at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia, received the Oliver Wendell Holmes Travel Award, which enables overseas archivists who are already in the United States or Canada for training to build upon their experience by traveling to SAA’s Annual Meeting.

Goh earned her Master of Archival Studies at the University of British Columbia and her bachelor’s degree in sociology at the National University of Singapore. Her research interests concern the impact of organizational culture on recordkeeping and the management of financial records. Her nominator described Goh as “a proactive colleague, always emphasizing the value of theory and its capacity to improve practice. . . . She is a natural leader, both in a professional and in an academic sense.”

Established in 1979, this award honors SAA Fellow and former President Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award

Miranda N. Rivers and Vivian Wong were each awarded the Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award, which recognizes minority graduate students of African, Asian, Latino, or Native American descent who, through scholastic achievement, manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of SAA.

Rivers earned a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in history and library science in archive management at Simmons College. She was a Mellon Librarian Recruitment Fellow at the James B. Duke Memorial Library at Johnson C. Smith University in 2008, and received the Mellon Graduate Library School Scholarship in 2009.

“She is learning everything she can about the archives profession, and was an intern for Project SAVE: The Armenian Photo Archive Collection, and is an archives technician at the Fredrick Law Olmsted Archives National Park in Boston,” said one Scholarship Committee member.

Wong is currently pursuing a PhD at UCLA in Information Studies, where she also received her Master's of Fine Arts from the School of Theater, Film, and Television. Her bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies was earned at Bryn Mawr College. Her research interests included the documentation, collection, preservation, and circulation of historical and cultural records in Asian American communities and archives in the Asian diaspora. “She comes to the profession as a filmmaker, and when she created a film in 2005 about her grandmother from Malaysia titled, ‘Homecoming,’ it spurred her interesting in documenting underrepresented communities,” said one Scholarship Committee member.

Established in 1993, the award honors the late Dr. Harold T. Pinkett, who served with distinction during his tenure at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Donald Peterson Student Scholarship

Keara Duggan was awarded the Donald Peterson Student Scholarship, which recognizes a graduate student or recent graduate for exceptional leadership and the desire to become actively involved in the archives profession. Duggan, a recent graduate of New York University, completed her master’s degree in archives and public history in January 2010. In 2009, she founded the first SAA Student Chapter at New York University, and has served as an intern at the American Philosophical Society and worked as an archivist, researcher, and metadata consultant on a digital archive of Ojibwe Indian material. Duggan’s involvement in the “Protocols for Native American Archival Materials” particularly impressed the Peterson Award Subcommittee members.

“As part of her master’s thesis, she developed a website featuring case studies for archivists, museum professionals, and tribal communities grappling with issues surrounding Native American archival materials,” said one Scholarship Committee member. “Despite her young age, she has already made a significant contribution to building bridges between archives and Native American communities.”

The Donald Peterson Student Scholarship was established in 2005, and honors the memory of New York lawyer and philatelist Donald Peterson.


Mosaic Scholarship

LaNesha DeBardelaben and Susan Gehr were each awarded the Mosaic Scholarship, which offers financial support to minority students who manifest a commitment both to the archives profession and to advancing diversity concerns within it. DeBardelaben and Gehr both received a $5,000 scholarship, a one-year membership in SAA, and complimentary registration to DC 2010.

DeBardelaben has a MA degree in history from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and is a student in the MLS program with a specialization in Archives and Records Management at the School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University-Bloomington. In her past work with the Missouri Historical Society’s “Through the Eyes of a Child” project, she taught students and teachers how to incorporate the program’s curriculum unit within the classroom to develop oral history projects. As project manager for the Teaching American History Grant for Flint (Michigan) Community Schools, she organized history summer institutes and speaking engagements for and about the history of diverse ethnic communities. 

“LaNesha’s goal is to further the work of documenting, archiving, and digitizing the records of African American women’s history,” said one Awards Committee member.

Gehr is earning a master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences at San Jose State University. As member of the Karuk Tribe (California), she acted as the Karuk Tribe’s tribal language program director where she co-published with linguist William Bright a dictionary of the Karuk language. After attending the Western Archives Institute, she prepared a preservation and use report for Humboldt State University’s Center for Indian Community Development as they planned their Native Languages Archive. Currently, she volunteers with Humboldt State’s Special Collections Unit where she processes an anthropologist’s collection that includes field notes and recordings gathered in preparation for a book on Yurok Indian spirituality.

“Susan’s goal is to understand and address the comprehensive archival needs of tribes in the northwestern California region and to contribute to the field of archival studies for Native American/Alaska native people,” noted one Awards Committee member.

F. Gerald Ham Scholarship

Venus E. Van Ness, a student in the combined MSIS/MA program at the State University of New York at Albany, was awarded the F. Gerald Ham Scholarship, which offers $7,500 in financial support to a graduate student in his or her second year of archival studies at a U.S. university. Scholarship selection criteria include the applicant’s past performance in her or his graduate program in archival studies as well as faculty members’ assessment of the student’s prospects for contributing to the archives profession. Ness received a bachelor of science degree from Cornell University and a juris doctorate from Marquette University Law School before returning to graduate school at SUNY-Albany to pursue archives.

“Among a large number of deserving applicants, Ms. Van Ness distinguished herself by her outstanding writing and analytical skills in her paper ‘Legal Liabilities and Archives: Orphan Works and Copyright Issues,’” said one Awards Committee member.

The award was created in 1998 by SAA Fellow, past president, and longtime member F. Gerald Ham and his wife Elsie.

Modern Archives Institute Scholarship

Sarah L. Patterson of the Maryland State Archives received the Modern Archives Institute Scholarship, whereby she was able to attend the Winter 2010 Modern Archives Institute of the National Archives and Records Administration. The two-week program provides an introduction to archives principles and techniques for individuals who work with personal papers and the records of public and private institutions and organizations. The institute seeks to help archivists acquire basic knowledge about caring for archival materials and making them available.

Patterson received her MLS degree from Indiana University in 2008, before starting her professional career at the Maryland State Archives. Patterson works with records dating from the founding of Maryland in 1634 to the present day.

“It is her love for history and the records which tell the story of the past that influenced her decision to make archives her profession,” said one committee member. “Sarah's desire to become a more well-rounded professional prompted her to apply for Modern Archives Institute Scholarship.”