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First and foremost, The HistoryMakers is an archive. The organization’s relationship with the library and archival community has been a long one, and the advisement and support of the community has been essential to the organization’s growth. As an oral history collections, The HistoryMakers works directly with librarians and library staff at each of its subscribing institutions to serve as a resource for instruction and primary source research. In addition, The HistoryMakers seeks partnership with subscribing libraries, so that the resource not only is used and consulted, but so subscribers can diversify their collections, lost and forgotten collections can be brought to light, and critical contextual evidence for the stories told in The HistoryMakers Digital Archive are identified and made accessible.

In working with college and university libraries, The HistoryMakers provides:

  • MARC records at the interview level, to aid in discovery;
  • EAD and EAC-CPF Finding Aids; and
  • Online Webinar & In-Person Training Sessions

Beyond simply providing support and access to The HistoryMakers Digital Archive, the organization has also matched several institutions with African American alumni they had lost touch with, in an effort to have their personal papers and collections preserved. Though The HistoryMakers does not deal in material collections, the photos, letters, essays, articles, flyers, and ephemera found in these collections provide essential context and support evidence for the lived testimony of those interviewed for The HistoryMakers Collection. Unfortunately, just as the 20th century passed with very little documentation of African America life, history, and culture in the oral medium, the same is true for archival collections. More than 90% of those interviewed for The HistoryMakers Collection would never write an autobiography – or have a biography written on them – but the percentage of those who have made decisions regarding where and how their personal collections will be saved is even greater. The HistoryMakers looks to its university archive partners to help in reversing this trend. 

Do you have personal papers? Click here to learn more!

Members of The HistoryMakers Library & Archives Committee are made up of librarians, archivists, and library administrators at each of The HistoryMakers partner institutions. Rather than serving solely as a database for partner institutions, The HistoryMakers also seeks to facilitate connections that will enrich the physical collections of partner libraries, as well as exploring mechanisms for connecting The HistoryMakers oral history interviews with other oral history collections or supporting contextual materials.

Projects of the Library & Archives Committee have included working with The HistoryMakers on the re-institution of a training program for minority archivists at Yale University, Harvard University, and Emory University; facilitating the donation of the personal papers of HistoryMakers like Angela Davis (Schlesinger Library), Daphne Maxwell Reid (Northwestern University), and Senator Emil Jones (University of Illinois, Chicago) to institutional repositories for preservation. 

Boston University

-Vita Paladino, Director, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center

Carnegie Mellon University

-Erika Linke, Associate Dean of Libraries & Director of Research and Academic Services

Columbia University

-John Tofanelli, Research Collections and Services Librarian for British & American History & Literature

Cornell University

-Eric Acree, Director John Henrik Clarke Africana Library

Emory University

-Yolanda Cooper, University Librarian

Harvard University

-Marilyn Dunn, Executive Director, Arthur Schlesinger Library

Howard University

-Alliah Humber, Head of Acquisitions & Serials

Johnson C. Smith University

-Nooma Monika Rhue, Director of Library Services

Northwestern University

-Kathleen Bethel, African American Studies Librarian

-Charla B. Wilson, Archivist for the Black Experience at Northwestern   

Princeton University

-Steven Knowlton, Librarian for History and African American Studies

Rutgers University

-Consuella Askew, Director, Dana Library

University of Chicago

-Brenda Johnson, University Librarian

University of Pennsylvania

-Nicholas Okrent, Coordinating Bibliographer and Librarian for the Humanities

Virginia Commonwealth University

-John Ulmschneider, University Librarian

Library Guides

At Dominican University, instruction and outreach librarian Elizabeth Lang built an outstanding module for Dominican’s students and faculty to visit when interested in integrating The HistoryMakers Digital Archive in the classroom. Lang provides instructions on the functionality and feature set of the resource, but also gives users a glimpse at the databases value as a source for research and instruction.

Check out Lang’s research guide here.

Internships and Fellowships

Application Deadline: Friday, April 5, 2019


The purpose of The James A. Lindner Digital Archive Summer Fellowship is to provide hands-on experience working with a one-of-a-kind digital video oral history archive, and a professional and focused experience in archival work, structured around processing and preservation of moving image archival collections, migration and digitization, cataloging and archival descriptive practices and standards. The James A. Lindner Digital Archive Summer Fellowship is open to any individual who is interested in working with collections of African American and/or video oral history materials and is a recent graduate of a master’s program in archival science, archival management, digital archives, special collections, library science, information management, computer science, or a related program prior to the start date of the fellowship. Further application eligibility and guidelines are outlined below.

The requirements for consideration are:

- Citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

- Recent graduate (within six months) of a master’s program in archival science, archival management, digital archives, special collections, library science, information management, computer science, or a related program.

- Demonstrated interest in oral history interviews, archive administration and management. This interest can be demonstrated through academic coursework, volunteer or work experience, or through a personal statement in application essay.

- Demonstrated interest in African American history. This interest can be demonstrated through academic coursework, volunteer or work experience, or through a personal statement in application essay.

- GPA of 3.50 or higher

Internship Duration: 10 weeks from start date

Stipend: $5,000

Lodging: Lodging arrangements are the responsibility of the intern.

CLICK HERE for more details, and to submit an application for the James A. Lindner Digital Archive Summer Fellowship

FOR INQUIRIES please contact

In 2009, The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive was awarded an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grant # RE-06-10-0080 entitled Increasing African American Diversity in Archives: The HistoryMakers Fellowship, Mentoring, Training and Placement InstituteTwelve archivists were selected and trained over a two year period and placed in African American archives across the country. In 2016, the work begun under The HistoryMakers Institute continued in a new collaboration with Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Book Library, and The Harvard Library’s Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, where eachuniversity appointed a visiting archivist – all of whom will have recently received an MLS – who started in their position in Fall 2016. Over time, it is expected that more institutions will be recruited to participate in this program whose goal is to increase the number of archivists from underserved populations.

The Minority Archival Fellowship’s purpose is to:

1)      Provide a meaningful and valuable post-masters training experience that incorporates an intensive training program at a world-class university archive, including professional development, presentation at academic conferences, and interaction with lesser-known African American collections around the country;

2)      Encourage the inclusion of minority archivists and recent MLIS graduates in the field of archives management;

3)      Encourage the fellows to engage in outreach activities in the community.

4)      Build and support a network of people committed to the same goal of increasing diversity in the profession.

FOR INQUIRIES please contact