The mission of the Stanford University Archives is fairly easy to summarize. As stated on our web site, we "collect, preserve, and make available the historically and legally valuable records of the University and of Stanford community members." The university’s Board of Trustees officially established the University Archives in 1965, but reference librarians began amassing materials of historical interest many decades earlier in what was then known as the Stanford Collection.
Carrying out our mission is considerably more complicated. We collect materials in a wide variety of formats. Our holdings include administrative records; faculty papers documenting research, teaching, and other professional activities; student publications, letters, diaries, and scrapbooks; photographs; memorabilia; films and videos; dissertations and theses; maps and blueprints; oral histories, and much more. Increasingly, records of long-term historical value come to us in digital format, and so we need to consider how to keep that material accessible for future users.
I've worked in the University Archives for almost two years now and I'm still amazed by the sheer scope and diversity of activity here at Stanford. Our faculty and students do incredible things, and my job is to help ensure that what we collect adequately represents their work.
Archives staff members also assist researchers in finding answers to their questions about Stanford history. Requests come to us from administrative offices across campus, students at all levels (including grade school!), faculty members, alumni, news media, and scholars from other institutions. We conduct instructional sessions for classes on Stanford history and teach them how to use the archives for their own research.
It's a rewarding job, but a big one, and our work is never done. That's why I'm so pleased by the news that Daniel W. Hartwig, currently Records Services Archivist at Yale University, has been appointed to the position of Stanford University Archivist. This position was previously held by Maggie Kimball, who retired last year. You can read more about Daniel in this announcement from University Librarian Michael A. Keller.
Daniel will join our staff on September 7th, and will share office space with me in the Hopkins Room on the third floor of Green Library's Bing Wing. (Now I need to start clearing off the desk that will be his!)