Curator for African American and African Diasporic Collections
Harvard University Radcliffe Institute
Location: USA - MA - Cambridge
Internal Number: 60417BR
The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America is a special collections library that collects broadly across formats to document American women's public and private lives and furthers the Radcliffe Institute's commitment to the study of women, gender, sexuality, and society. Our collections are strong in the areas of women's rights and feminisms, health and sexuality, culinary history, work and family life, and women's education. The Library stewards these primary sources in order to impact scholarship and to enable new stories to be told about American history with women at the center.
We seek a visionary candidate to fill the newly established position of Curator for African American and African Diasporic collections. The position will be part of a cohort of curators committed to building and sustaining collections, including the newly established Curator for Collections on Ethnicity and Migration and the current Curator for Gender and Society. The Curator plays a vital part in the Library's ongoing work to build a more complete historical record with the collections of historically excluded communities in order to support research and learning. Working as part of a collaborative team of curators as well as independently, the curator collaborates with other Library staff to ethically develop collections documenting the history and contributions of women and organizations under-represented in Schlesinger's collections.
Reporting to the Executive Director and closely collaborating with the Pforzheimer Foundation Faculty Director, other curators and Library staff, the Curator leads the development of collections in African American and African diasporic areas. The curators determine strategic priorities, manage acquisitions, and establish relationships with collections holders and their communities to support this crucial facet of the Library's mission. They work with colleagues to steward and ensure equitable access to the Library's existing collections, building sustainable relationships with donors about ongoing collection issues, and offering intellectual guidance to colleagues on the processing of newly acquired collections. The Curator works with Library and faculty colleagues to elevate inclusive stories from within Schlesinger's existing collections for the broader public.
Work collaboratively with library leadership, curators and staff to deepen our world-class collections for American women's and gender history, especially collections that document the experiences of historically excluded groups
Build relationships with potential donors of archival collections
Work with other Schlesinger curators to build and manage advisory working groups comprised of scholars, Library staff, and philanthropic supporters
Oversee acquisitions budgets, monitors funds, manages gift and purchase agreements, and documents all facets of their ongoing work
Report on their efforts in collections development to varied stakeholders, contributing, and assessing data as needed
Work with Library leadership to further a comprehensive strategy of community engagement to support our enhanced collecting mission. Such a strategy will include:
Collaborating with Radcliffe colleagues to develop vibrant public programming,
Working with Harvard faculty and colleagues in Research Services to enhance and support teaching and learning through our collections
Building partnerships with faculty across Harvard University, and engaging researchers, donors, and the broader community in learning about the Schlesinger Library
Planning and curating exhibitions of Schlesinger materials
Representing the Library at community events
Maintaining high visibility in the archival profession and in Harvard and Radcliffe publications
Serve on the Schlesinger Library's Acquisitions Committee and recommend potential acquisitions (both donations and purchases)
Negotiate the terms of deeds of gift and agreements to purchase
Promote awareness, understanding and recognition of legal issues which may arise from working with unpublished collections in areas such as copyright, privacy, confidentiality, right-to-know, and ownership
Leverage technology to expand collection development in a technology-driven collecting landscape
Represent the Schlesinger Library on Harvard Library committees
Perform other duties as assigned.
Cover Letter: Please note that cover letters are required for every application for a position at the Radcliffe Institute. Please combine your cover letter and resume into a single document that is uploaded when you are instructed by HARVARD CAREERS, Harvard's online application program, to
Content expertise in the areas of our collections, as demonstrated by a master's degree in a related field including American Studies, African American or Africana studies, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, History, Public Humanities, or related fields; ALA-accredited MLS/ MLIS is preferred.
Two or more years of collection development experience; plus, four or more years of work experience in a special collections or archival setting, or as part of collection-focused public history or cultural heritage project.
Successful candidate will have:
Demonstrated experience working with individuals, donor communities, and organizations.
Demonstrated ability to work productively, both independently and collaboratively, in a highly collegial and team-based environment.
Excellent organizational skills, including experience with budget and records management
Excellent interpersonal skills and professionalism to interact with a wide range of people at different levels of the organization and the public
Demonstrated ability to build effective long-term relationships both internally and externally and the ability to advocate for organizational goals
Demonstrated experience and background in research and writing that establishes expertise in an area of study
Exceptional verbal and written communication demonstrated presentation skills.
Advanced technology skills including social media, Google Docs, One Drive, and database-management applications
Proven ability to manage multiple priorities effectively and efficiently, with competing deadlines
Demonstrated project management skills
Experience building community relationships
Language expertise relevant to the Curator's particular collecting missions
Knowledge of archival theory, practice, and technologies, including in relation to born digital material
Familiarity with conservation and preservation practices relating to special collections and ability to assess the conservation / preservation demands of potential acquisitions, including born digital material
Familiarity with reparative and post-custodial archival practice
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER: We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education. Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.