Senior Collection Development Curator/Archivist – Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Harvard University

Senior Collection Development Curator/Archivist
Harvard Library

Apply Here:

Job Summary

Although the position will remain posted until filled, applicants are encouraged to apply by end of day on March 3, 2023.
Under the direction of and in partnership with the Associate University Archivist for Collection Development and Records Management Services (AUACDRMS) in the Harvard University Archives (HUA), the Senior Collection Development Curator/Archivist (SCDC/A) has responsibility for assessing and developing the scope of archival, manuscript, and published materials documenting and providing inclusive evidence of the work and lives of the diverse individuals, offices, and organizations that make up the Harvard community. These include the personal and professional archives of Harvard faculty, senior administrators, and select Harvard alumni and students; institutional records of enduring value; records of Harvard affiliated organizations; and other historical materials documenting the intellectual, administrative, social, cultural, and creative life of Harvard.

The SCDC/A will be a member of the senior CDRMS team, along with the Senior Collection Development and Electronic Records Archivist (SCDERA), the Senior Records Manager/Archivist (SRM/A) and the Senior Digital Records and Information Manager (SDRIM), and assist the AUACDRMS in overall planning, coordination, policy, and workflow development.

Working with the AUACDRMS, and in partnership with the senior CDRMS team, the SCDC/A will take the lead in determining the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in HUA personal archives collections and institutional records, work to establish practical strategies and priorities for building HUA collections, and develop policies and procedures to carry out inclusive and ambitious collecting goals with measurable results. The SCDC/A will develop and maintain contact and relationships with potential donors and identify archival, manuscript, and historical collections of scholarly research interest for collection and preservation essential to an inclusive, authentic, and complete record of the life of the University.

The SCDC/A will oversee 3 FTEs, coordinating the acquisition operations for personal archives, institutional records, and historical collections in all formats (paper and born-digital), including management of appraising and inventorying collections, noting preservation and conservation concerns, identifying institutional records subject to University records policies, and packing, labeling and transport of collections.

The SCDC/A contributes to the development of exhibition, outreach, and community engagement initiatives to promote and interpret the Archives’ collections, including serving as a member of the Archives’ exhibition team – along with the University Archivist, Associate University Archivist for Community Engagement, and other staff members – and participating in tours and special events, writing articles, and supporting promotion of collections and social media efforts.

The successful incumbent will demonstrate a collaborative and collegial outlook and spirit and strong experience with the following: building and sustaining effective relationships with donors, administrators, faculty, and students within a complex organization; negotiating donor agreements and understanding of copyright, privacy, and other access issues; appraising and describing collections in a variety of formats, including born-digital; developing educational content in support of outreach and engagement; persuasive and diplomatic written and oral communication skills; fostering a collaborative team environment; and commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and antiracism.

Position Description

• Working closely with the AUACDRMS, determines strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in HUA’s discipline-based permanent holdings by assessing the breadth and scope (subjects, time periods, representation, etc.) of the current collection of faculty archives, institutional records, and related historical materials. Works closely with Harvard offices, faculty, alumni/ae and other donors to identify materials of research interest to preserve at the University Archives. Drafts solicitation letters for collections, including those on behalf of the AUACDRMS and, occasionally, the University Archivist.
• Evaluates and makes recommendations for the acquisition of manuscript and archival collections offered for gift, transfer, or purchase, including coordinating review of unsolicited collections; creates and secures gift agreements; acknowledges collection donations; and oversees acquisition activities for personal archives, institutional records, historical materials, and other related collections.
• Supervises three FTEs and may supervise LHTS, student employees, and interns.
• Provides guidance to faculty and administrative staff in managing their materials and preserving them, including born-digital records and content, and faculty research data, as it relates to University Archives collection development and records management policies.
• Working with the University Archivist, the Associate University Archivist for Community Engagement, the AUACDRMS and other exhibit team members, contributes to exhibitions and other outreach activities, including tours, special events, writing articles, and supporting promotion of collections and social media efforts.
• Performs research and creates supporting documentation for decisions regarding copyright permissions requests and drafts permission letters for publication requests for the AUACDRMS. Addresses copyright issues regarding requests for publication and keeps information on terms of access and use for collections updated.
• Manages all contact information and paperwork with faculty and other non-university correspondents about collection acquisition; monitors and maintains information on Harvard office and faculty changes (appointments, retirements, etc.).
• Contributes to information for grant proposals through research and data compilation; and maintaining information about faculty and other donors including contact information, potential collections, office and home visits and status of acquisitions.
• May coordinate, chair, or participate with other HUA staff teams and Harvard Library working groups and committees.

Basic Qualifications

• Master’s Degree in library/information science/archives or equivalent with successful completion of university-level archives coursework.
• 7+ years professional experience working with archival/manuscript collections, preferably in a university archives setting.
• 5+ years professional experience with selection and appraisal, in combination with arrangement and description of archival records and manuscript or personal papers collections.
• Demonstrated experience working with donors of archival collections and manuscript materials.
• Demonstrated supervisory experience, including training and evaluation.
• Must be licensed to drive a car and willing to travel off campus.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

• Second Master’s degree in American history or American studies preferred. Some knowledge of the history of higher education preferred.
• Strong customer service orientation, with excellent oral, written, and interpersonal skills evidenced by success working in a collaborative environment. Demonstrated ability to work effectively with culturally diverse users and colleagues.
• Demonstrated ability to manage a variety of projects and tasks in a complex and dynamic environment and work effectively with a large stakeholder community and at all levels of the University community.
• Demonstrated knowledge of trends, principles, and practices in records/manuscripts appraisal and acquisitions including issues in born-digital materials.
• Demonstrated knowledge of the principles of archival arrangement and description, and current national content and structure standards (including MARC, DACS, and RDA) related to the archival description of materials.
• Strong understanding of intellectual property, copyright, privacy, and other access issues.
• Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
• Strong and broad historical research and analysis skills; excellent attention to detail.
• General knowledge of issues in records management preferred.
• Demonstrated commitment to ongoing professional development and growth.
• Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism.
• Capacity to thrive in an environment of change.

Physical Requirements
• Must be able to regularly lift 40 lb. records storage boxes.
• This position requires bending, squatting, stretching and climbing small step stools when needed to pack collections.

Working Conditions
• The position will be based on our campus in Cambridge, MA.; however, there may be the opportunity for a flexible or hybrid work model compliant with Harvard University remote work policies.
• At times may work in basements, attics, warehouses and other records storage areas that may be dusty or moldy.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Across the Harvard Library, our work is enriched by our diverse campus community. Our unique and wide-ranging abilities, experiences, and perspectives are integral to achieving Harvard University’s mission of excellence in research, teaching, and learning for our patrons, our collections, and our workplace. We believe that an inclusive environment that cultivates and promotes understanding, respect, and collaboration across our diverse workforce enables our success.

We invite individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to be a part of our community of over 700 staff members. Our work with faculty, students and researchers to explore answers to intellectual questions, enduring and new, and to seek solutions to the world’s most consequential problems, requires that we not only reflect, but also champion our diverse society.

Harvard Library inspires collaboration, reflection, experimentation, and discovery connecting users to related disciplines and to University-wide teaching resources. The Library engages users through curated discovery, digital collections, reimagined physical space, and specialized research support. Today, Harvard Library’s holdings range from traditional print collections to rapidly expanding access to digital resources. Harvard Library provides the University’s faculty, students, and researchers-now and in the future-with exceptional experiences and comprehensive access to these materials.

Learn more about our contributions to the academic enterprise by visiting us at and about the Harvard University community at

The Harvard Library is a proud member of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Diversity Alliance.

Job Function

Sub Unit

USA – MA – Cambridge

Harvard University Archives

Time Status

00 – Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Criminal, Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement
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, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.