Curator of American Literature Drama and Prose Writings – Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library – Yale University

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

The Beinecke Library is Yale’s principal repository for literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books. One of the great collections in North America, the Beinecke collections are internationally known and heavily used by scholars from around the world. For further information about the Beinecke Library, consult the library’s web site at: .

The Yale Collection of American Literature

The Yale Collection of American Literature is one of the largest in North America. Its holdings extend across the course of the development of American Literature and reflect the vast diversity of American culture with significant collections embracing African-American, Native-American, Chicano, Latino, and Gay-Lesbian literature.A� The collection includes the James Weldon Johnson Collection of African-American art and literature, which has strong holdings relating to the Harlem Renaissance collection.A� The collection is especially strong in American Modernism and 20th century American theater.

The collection is especially strong in American Modernism as well as in the Harlem Renaissance and related fields through the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection for African-American art and literature.

Position Description

The Curator of Prose and Drama for American Literature is one of two curators who share responsibility for the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Library. Alongside and in collegial cooperation with a curator whose chief responsibilities reside with American poetry, the successful candidate for this position will focus on prose, drama, and performance in American Literature. The two curators share responsibility for the James Weldon Johnson Collection in their respective areas. It is essential that these two curators work in a cooperative and mutually supportive fashion.

Job Duties

Under the general guidance and supervision of the director of the Library, the Beinecke Library Curator of Prose and Drama for American Literature will be responsible for developing, interpreting, and promoting the collection; for helping students and researchers make effective use of it; for identifying and setting priorities for cataloging and conservation ofA�A� the collection; and for establishing the digital priorities of the collection.

The collection development responsibilities of this curator include research and selection, dealer and donor relations, and acquisitions negotiations across a broad range of materials, including books, manuscripts, ephemera, broadsides, photographs, and electronic media relating to American drama and prose writings. The collection has a substantial budget to support an extensive acquisition program. The curator will participate in the weekly discussions and sessions of the Beinecke Library Acquisition Committee. This curator will participate in regularly scheduled meetings of the Beinecke curatorial staff to collaborate with other curators in planning and implementing collection- and exhibition-related academic and public programs, including lectures, conferences and symposia, public performances, master classes, and fellowships. At some time in the course of appointment this curator may be named to the revolving position of Lead Curator.

The Curator has the responsibility of interpreting the holdings of the collection for both the scholarly community and broader public, particularly the New Haven community. These responsibilities include designing and organizing exhibitions and planning special programs such as conferences, symposia, and lectures as well as writing and editing brochures and catalogs. The Curator may also be called upon to issue news releases, grant interviews, conduct tours, and make presentations beyond the Beinecke Library itself. Outreach extends toA�cooperation with the other units of the Yale Library System, the Lewis-Walpole Library, the Yale Center for British Art, the Yale Art Gallery, and the Whitney Humanities Center. The Curator is encouraged to publish scholarly works that promote the collection and is expected to be active professionally in publishing, conference attendance, and participation in professional organizations.

The Curator is expected to forge strong associations with relevant Yale faculty and to encourage the use of the Yale Collection of American Literature and other Beinecke collections in Yale-related teaching and research. This curator is expected,A�as invited,A�to participate in presenting Beinecke Library materials to Yale classes and to other groups who may visit the Beinecke. An important assignment is both to build upon existing strengths and to undertake new directions of collection development and a formal program of publicizing and interpreting the collection in the United States and abroad. The Curator provides specialized assistance to researchers in person, by telephone, letter, and e-mail and collaborates on reference service and instruction relating to the collection with the Research Librarian and the Access Services unit. The Curator cooperates with Beinecke Library units responsible for cataloging, manuscript processing, systems, and access services units as well as the preservation units of the Yale Library System, to see that the collections are well described and cared for. In all these respects, the curator is expected to function in a collegial fashion as part of a larger team of curators and librarians sustaining a broad program of collection development, scholarly outreach, cataloging, and international research in the humanities.

In addition to activities relating directly to Yale Collection of American Literature the Curator participates in policy decisions and planning at the Beinecke Library and may be assigned special projects relating to the overall needs of the Library and particularly to its fellowship, master class, and publications programs.

May be required to assist with disaster recovery efforts.A� May be assigned to work on Yale Universitya��s West Campus.


Absent a completed Ph.D., a candidate must possess a Mastera��s Degree in a field related to post-Civil War American literature, theater and performance, culture, or other appropriate area of specialization such as American Studies, African-American Studies or Women Studies with a commitment to ongoing scholarly growth beyond the area of initial disciplinary specialization.A�A substantial record of publication in journals, books or other refereed venues.

Candidates for Librarian II should have at least two years of relevant experience and professional achievements. Candidates for Librarian III must demonstrate at least five years of relevant experience and professional achievements. Appointment at the Level of Librarian IV requires at least eight years of relevant experience and professional achievements. Appointment at the Level of Librarian V requires at least twelve years of relevant experience and professional achievements.

Demonstrated skills in managing programs and bringing projects to completion as well as the managerial and organizational skills required to oversee an extensive program of acquisitions, collection management, and exhibition and conference planning.

Other required qualities include evidence of bibliographical and scholarly accomplishment, commitment to organizational collegiality, familiarity with technological change in library work, and excellent interpersonal and communication skills in both writing and public speaking.

Preferred Education, Experience and Skills:

Completed Ph.D. in a field of study listed above with a commitment to ongoing scholarly growth beyond the area of initial disciplinary specialization. Reading knowledge of at least one modern European language beyond English. Teaching experience; publications; or work experience in a research library, archive, or museum are preferred.

Salary and Benefits

We invite you to discover the excitement, diversity, rewards and excellence of a career at Yale University. One of the country’s great workplaces, Yale University offers exciting opportunities for meaningful accomplishment and true growth. Our benefits package is among the best anywhere, with a wide variety of insurance choices, liberal paid time off, fantastic family and educational benefits, a variety of retirement benefits, extensive recreational facilities, and much more.


Applications consisting of a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information of three professional references should be sent by creating an account and applying online at for immediate consideration – the STARS req ID for this position is 15708BR.A� Please be sure to reference # 15708BR in your cover letter.

Background Check Requirements

All external candidates for employment will be subject to pre-employment background screening for this position, which may include motor vehicle and credit checks based on the position description and job requirements. Internal candidates may be subject to a motor vehicle or credit check for this position based on the position description and job requirements. All offers are contingent on successful completion of the required background check.

Please visit for additional information on the background check requirements and process.

Yale University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.A� Yale values diversity in its faculty, staff, and students and strongly encourages applications from women and members of underrepresented minority groups.

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