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Public Libraries

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
  • Online Webinar & In-Person Training Sessions

Library & Archives Advisory Board

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
  • Brandeis University
    Matthew Sheehy; University Librarian

  • Carnegie Mellon University
    Erica Linke; Associate Dean & Director of Collections and Information Access

  • Columbia University
    John Tofanelli; Research Collections and Services Librarian, Humanities/History

  • Cornell University
    Eric Acree; Director, John Henrik Clarke Africana Library

  • Emory University
    Yolanda Cooper; University Librarian

  • Harvard University
    Marilyn Dunn; Executive Director of the Schlesinger Library and Librarian of the Radcliffe Institute

  • Johnson C. Smith University
    Monika Rhue; Director of Library Services and Curation

  • Northwestern University
    Kathleen Bethel; African American Studies Librarian
    Charla Wilson; Archivist for the Black Experience

  • Princeton University
    Steven Knowlton; Librarian for History and African American Studies

  • Rutgers University
    Consuella Askew; Director, Dana Library

  • University of Arkansas
    Carolyn H. Allen; Dean of Libraries

  • University of Chicago
    Brenda Johnson; University Librarian

  • University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
    Harriett Green; Head of Scholarly Communication and Publishing; Scholarly Communication and Publishing Librarian, Associate Professor

  • University of Iowa 
    Dan Johnson; Consulting Archivist

  • University of Pennsylvania
    Nicholas Okrent; Coordinating Bibliographer and Librarian for the Humanities, Bibliographer and Liaison for World History and Humanities

  • University of Virginia
    Sony Prosper; Resident Librarian; Special Collections

  • Virginia Commonwealth University
    John Ulmschneider; University Librarian

Subscribing Libraries

We work with educational institutions around the country. And the list is growing. Contact us to learn how to partner with The History Makers and integrate our Digital Archive into your University or Library. Join our community today.

  • Boston Public Library
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library
  • Chicago Public Library
  • Cleveland Public Library
  • Forsyth County Public Library
  • Library of Congress
  • Milwaukee Public Library
  • Salt Lake City County Public Library
  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Library Projects

Screenshot of Western Union archival paper

Archival papers

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.

Screenshot of a library guide cover for Rebecca Crown Library

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.