Steering Shares: Beth Myers

Steering Shares is an opportunity for the WAR Steering Committee to introduce themselves to BMyers_2you! WAR Steering Committee Member Elizabeth (Beth) Myers is the Director of Special Collections at Smith College. Prior to Smith, Beth held directorships at the Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola University Chicago and the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, at Wayne State University. A Certified Archivist, Beth also holds a BA in History from Northern Illinois University and an MA and PhD in 20th Century U.S. History from Loyola University Chicago. She was elected to the WAR Steering Committee in 2013, serves on SAA’s Committee on Education (2014 appointment), and is a Steering Committee Member of the Archives Leadership Institute.

What drew you to Archives?
Even though I was trained as a traditional historian, I was always interested in the archival side of the business. I became fascinated with the archival profession and the people who fell under its broad umbrella, not just because archivists are amazing people (we are) but also because of the enormous power archivists have to shape the historic record. Understanding how that power gets exercised profoundly shaped my thinking of archives as a form of activism, especially for those regularly silenced in the traditional records of history.

Why did you get involved with WAR?
I’m a proud feminist with a long record of involvement in women’s history so it’s a natural fit. I also wanted to recognize that my identity was more than just an archivist interested in women’s archives, but also I am a woman who is an archivist. I think it is very important for women and supporters of women’s issues to build community when and where we can. WAR has always been a place for that community within the profession.

What is your favorite memory from an SAA conference?
I don’t think I have just one. I enjoy SAA for a lot of reasons, but mainly because of the community building and networking that happens at the conference. Each year I meet new people and reconnect with colleagues, friends from around the country.

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