Head of Archival Processing – New-York Historical Society – New York, NY


Job title: Head of Archival Processing
Division: Library
Reports to: Vice President and Director of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library

The New-York Historical Society, a preeminent educational and research institution, is home to both New York Citya��s oldest museum and to one of the nationa��s most distinguished independent research libraries. The Society 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 worlda��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 Patricia D. Klingenstein Library contains over 20,000 linear feet of archival materials, including family papers, organizational and business records, and visual materials. The manuscript collections document the history of European settlement in North America, with particular strength in the 18th and 19th centuries across a core group of subject areas, including: the founding of the nation; the economic history of New York and the nation; the three major wars fought on American soil; the institution of slavery both locally and nationally; the history of childrena��s welfare in New York; and the citya��s developing social and cultural landscape. The graphic collections fall into four major categories: prints (engravings and lithographs); photographs; architectural collections (drawings, blueprints, and photographs); and ephemera (trade cards and other advertisements, broadsides, sheet music, and other paper items). The library is actively expanding its archival holdings i n all areas into the 20th and 21st centuries, including a growing number of born-digital collections.

Job Summary

The New-York Historical Society Library is seeking an innovative, experienced candidate with proven leadership skills to manage the processing of archival collections in its Manuscript Department and Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections.


  • ALA-accredited MLS or MA in American history with certificate in archival studies

Skills and Experience

  • A minimum of four yearsa�� experience with increasing responsibility as a professional archivist arranging and describing archival materials
  • At least one year of supervisory experience, including training and evaluating staff
  • Demonstrated leadership and project management skills
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with archival standards and best practices
  • Experience working with personal, institutional, and organizational materials
  • Experience working with Encoded Archival Description (EAD) and Archivistsa�� Toolkit or ArchivesSpace
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively with library staff at various levels
  • Ability to manage multiple complex tasks simultaneously
  • Strong oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Experience with processing and managing born-digital collections desirable
  • Knowledge of American history and/or related disciplines desirable

Essential Job Duties

  • Day-to-day management of archival staff; training, supervising, and evaluating two Reference Archivists and additional project staff.
  • Processing of archival collections in all formats, including born-digital collections.
  • Creating archival finding aids and marking them up in Encoded Archival Description (EAD) using Archivistsa�� Toolkit or ArchivesSpace.
  • Collaborating with the Librarya��s Head of Cataloging and Metadata to create MARC records for archival collections.
  • Working with curatorial and technical staff to develop workflows and procedures for processing born-digital materials.
  • Ensuring that archival collections are processed according to standards and best practices and at an appropriate level of detail.
  • Developing and maintaining documentation on workflows, policies, and procedures for archival processing.
  • Making decisions on arrangement and description in consultation with the Curator of and Head of the Manuscript Department and the Curator and Head of the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections.
  • Assisting curatorial staff in making decisions about prioritizing archival collections for processing.
  • Assisting in reference and public service responsibilities on an occasional basis.
  • Other duties as requested.

Physical Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee with or without accommodation, to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.
This is largely a sedentary role using a computer; however, some filing is required. This would require the ability to lift files, open filing cabinets and bend or stoop as necessary.


Salary commensurate with background and experience. Attractive benefits package.

To apply

Send cover letter, resume, salary requirements and name/contact information of three references to resumes@nyhistory.org. In the subject line please reference the job title.

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

About John Pell

John Pell is an assistant professor and librarian at Hunter College in New York City.

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