Steering Shares is an opportunity for the WAR Steering Committee to introduce themselves to you! Carrie Hintz is the Head of Archives Processing at Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. She received her MSI from the University of Michigan and holds an MA in American Studies from Columbia and a BA in English from Kalamazoo College. She was elected to the WAR steering committee in 2013 and also serves on the SAA Standards Committee.
What drew you to archives?
I’ve always been really interested in the process of research, so working in an academic library with primary sources was a really logical step for me, though the route there was a bit circuitous. I worked at a bookstore for a while after college and intended to pursue a PhD in literature. While applying to PhD programs I threw in a couple of library school applications almost on a whim. However, when it came time to actually commit to a graduate program, I realized that the things I most valued about my work in the bookstore (connecting people with information, providing research assistance) and the things I most enjoyed about academia (the research and the process of discovery working with great sources) actually came together pretty nicely in the archives field. I was also really drawn to the idea that I could play a role in documenting communities that don’t always have a voice in the historical narrative. I take very seriously the role that archivists can and do play in shaping what can be known and studied in the future.
Why did you get involved with WAR?
Feminism and being an advocate (and troublemaker) for equity and social justice have always been pretty central to my identity, but I came to WAR specifically because of my commitment to women’s issues in the workplace and in the profession. As I have moved into a management position I have become increasingly attuned to gender politics in professional settings and committed to thinking about how to improve the experience of women archivists in the office and in the field as a whole.
What is your favorite memory from an SAA conference?
Is it bad to say that my favorite conference memories usually involve ditching the conference entirely? Because skipping out on the all attendee reception in New Orleans with a great group of archivists for a fantastic meal in the Bywater followed by a night of dancing to zydeco was pretty great. Of course, while I do always love reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones, I think the thing I value most about the meetings is the opportunity to step back, think big picture, and recontextualize the day-to-day tasks that happen at my desk or at the processing table. It is extremely refreshing and energizing to shift perspectives and to see where the field is moving and how we’re all contributing to that.