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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Project Archivist, NY Historical Society (NY)

The New York Historical Society is seeking a Project Archivist.

Job title: Project Archivist, Ethical Culture Fieldston School Records (1 year, full-time, grant-funded position)
Division: Library

Reports to: Head of Archival Processing

Preferred start date: November/December 2017

The New-York Historical Society, a preeminent educational and research institution, is home to both New York City’s oldest museum and to one of the nation’s most distinguished independent research libraries. N-YHS is dedicated to presenting exhibitions and public programs, and fostering research that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, its holdings cover four centuries of American history, and include one of the world’s greatest collections of books, manuscripts, graphic materials, historical artifacts, and American art documenting the history of the United States as seen through the prism of New York.

The records of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School were acquired this year by New-York Historical. The Ethical Culture Fieldston records include about 400 linear feet of correspondence, school publications and other print matter, photographs, audiovisual formats, administrative files, student projects, curriculum guides, and other documents. Ranging from the late 1800s to the early twenty-first century, this documentation spans the entire history of Ethical Culture Fieldston, and covers the school’s philosophical underpinnings, governance, curriculum, programs and activities, student life, athletics, and associated organizations, such as the Parent & Teachers Association.

Job Summary:

The New-York Historical Society Library is seeking an experienced Project Archivist to work on a one-year project to process the Ethical Culture Fieldston records in order to make them accessible to researchers and the general public. The collection is stored at an offsite location, so a key responsibility of the archivist will be the identification of material to be shipped to and from that location in support of the processing project. The Project Archivist’s worksite will be New-York Historical’s Central Park West building, where all processing will be done.

Essential Job Duties:

  • Develop a comprehensive processing plan and timeline for project implementation
  • Coordinate the flow of unprocessed material from the offsite location and the return of processed material to it in relation to the project’s needs
  • Physically process the collection, including refoldering and rehousing portions of it
  • Describe the collection in a sufficiently thorough manner to identify for potential users the many strengths of the material
  • Identify documentation with privacy concerns that might require restriction
  • Document the collection in a collection management system, Archivists’ Toolkit or ArchivesSpace
  • Oversee the work of any volunteers or other project assistants
  • Generate a DACS-compliant, on-line finding aid for the collection
  • Establish name and subject access terms with controlled vocabularies
  • Write occasional blogs about documents found in the collection
  • Maintain a pace of work that accomplishes the project’s processing and descriptive goals within the set timeframe.

Education Requirements:

  • ALA-accredited MLIS or equivalent degree, with concentration in archival studies


Skills and Experience Requirements:

  • A minimum of three years’ experience as a professional archivist arranging and describing archival materials, especially institutional records
  • A track record of success in the timely completion of large projects
  • Experience in developing processing plans, benchmarks, and timelines for complex archival projects
  • Demonstrated ability to manage the logistics of processing a large collection, preferably including the challenge of coordinating shipments to and from an offsite location as needed during processing
  • Demonstrated ability to scale the level of processing up or down based on the attributes of the record series at hand
  • Demonstrated ability to perceive important subject matter within a large collection and describe it effectively within set time constraints
  • Experience with overseeing the work of an intern, volunteer or other processing assistant
  • Knowledge of and experience with archival standards and best practices, such as DACS and Library of Congress headings
  • Strong written, oral and interpersonal communication skills
  • Experience working with Archivists’ Toolkit or ArchivesSpace
  • Ability to work independently within a collaborative workplace team structure.


Physical Demands:

The position requires the ability to lift and carry for short distances storage boxes weighing up to 40 lbs.



$50,000/annual. Attractive benefits package.


To apply:

Send cover letter, resume, the names and contact information of three references, and a finding aid writing sample (or a link to an on-line sample) to In the subject line please reference the specific job title to ensure your resume is forwarded properly.


The New-York Historical Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer.