Check out the newly updated Directory of Archival and Manuscript Repositories in California! If you would like your repository to be included, please complete this form, but be sure to first review the current directory to check the information that we have on file (organized alphabetically by repository name).
The Society of California Archivists held its annual Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 28, as part of the Society’s online Annual General Meeting for 2021. Five awards and two scholarships were announced.
Catherine Powell was presented with a Career Achievement Award in recognition of her exceptional record of community engagement and outreach as Director of the Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University. She leads an institution dedicated to preserving and making available the history of labor movements in the Bay Area, and she has forged strong bonds in the labor community, supporting the causes of working people. There are many examples of her innovative outreach to broader communities as well. She co-edited The San Francisco Labor Landmarks Guide Book, with walking tours that highlight labor history, and she has broadened awareness of labor history and archival resources through innovative collaborations with artists by means of exhibitions, photography commissions, and even hosting an aerial dance troupe. A colleague wrote: “Through her openness to innovative uses of the collections under her care, Catherine has changed the conversation about what it means to reach new audiences and bring them into dialogue about how we communicate our lives as workers.”
Gabriele Carey was presented with a Career Achievement Award, recognizing the remarkably broad and diverse reach of her career in California archives. She is currently an archives consultant and educator, and she previously worked for twenty-five years with History Associates, where she was Vice President and Senior Archivist and Historian. In the 1980s, she was the founding archivist at the Orange County Archives. Work for various clients of History Associates gave her a formative role in establishing or strengthening a great array of archival programs around the state and beyond. She carried out significant work with the Los Angeles County Archives, Southern California Edison, The National Parks Service, and the Tournament of Roses Association in Pasadena, among many others. She has been a mentor to many new archivists, and she teaches as an adjunct professor at the Claremont Graduate University.
Ellen Jarosz and her tireless work on behalf of the Society of California Archivists were recognized with a Sustained Service Award. For more than fifteen years Ellen has been involved in managing the annual Western Archives Institute, co-sponsored by SCA and the State Archives. She has served on Site Selection, Local Arrangements, and Program Committees, as well as SCA’s Nominating Committee in 2010-2012, and also on a Strategic Planning Task Force in 2012-2013. She served on the SCA Board, and was President in 2015-2016. Recently, she has been actively engaged in planning for WAI’s future and the 2021 transition to online education necessitated by COVID. Numerous colleagues have praised her as a pragmatic, steady and thoughtful leader, who is also warm and inclusive.
Terry Boom of Bancroft Library received a Special Award for 21 years as founding manager of SCA’s listserv, West_Arch. Terry was SCA’s Membership Director from 1999 to 2001. In this capacity, early in 2000, Terry established the first Society listserv, So_Ca, hosted at U.C. Berkeley. Within a few months, So_Ca’s scope was broadened to include other archivists in Western states, and it became West_Arch. In spite of a career as a library cataloger, which has taken him away somewhat from archives, Terry has remained engaged with SCA and has continued to host and manage the listserv, seeing it through its 20th anniversary.
L.A. as Subject was recognized with an Archives Appreciation Award, highlighting the organization’s exceptional online programming produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and also twenty-five years of community building among archives and their public, broadly defined. L.A. as Subject is a research alliance dedicated to preserving and improving access to the archival material of Los Angeles history. Membership in the organization is open to archivists, historians, other cultural heritage professionals, private collectors, and any member of the public interested in the history of the greater L.A. area. They have held the annual Archives Bazaar for fifteen years, and they also host Archives Forums every other month. They highlight the work of smaller community archives through their “Avery Clayton Spirit Award”, and have also formed an “Archives At Risk Committee.” For the full story of how they brought the Archives Bazaar, “Talk Shop” sessions, and other engaging activities online during 2020, see the recent newsletter posted to their website.
Two James V. Mink Scholarship recipients, for 2020 and 2021, were introduced at the Awards Ceremony.
Jiarui Sun, the 2020 recipient, is pursuing a PhD in Archival Studies at UCLA. He came to California with a strong background from his Chinese education, with both undergraduate and masters degrees focused on archival studies and technology. At UCLA he is pursuing an interest in American approaches to archives, and has a particular interest in community archiving.
Grace Muñoz is the 2021 Mink Scholar. She is an MLIS student in Media Archival Studies at UCLA with interests in audiovisual preservation, community-based archives, and communities marginalized in the archival record. Recently, she has worked as an Archival Description Audit Scholar at the UCLA Center for Primary Research and Training, working toward guidelines for descriptive practices that remove outdated or oppressive language from descriptions.
We welcome both these outstanding graduate students to SCA and to California archives, and we look forward to hearing about their future accomplishments.
The Society of California Archivists stands with those of Asian and Pacific Islander ethnicity in the United States against hate targeting their communities, and is deeply saddened and angered by the assaults and violent deaths that disproportionately affect AAPI seniors and women. The murders of Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue are a direct result of structural racism that infiltrates every corner of our society, including archives. We support our colleagues who are experiencing the trauma of witnessing their loved ones, peers and community members being hurt or killed. The Society of California Archivists remains committed to the acknowledgement that our profession has supported and continues to support racist systems and practices that uphold systemic inequality and perpetuate white supremacy. White supremacy is directly responsible for the model minority myth, which has served to divide minoritized people and continues to hurt the AAPI community.
California, in particular, has a long history of racism and violence against Asian American immigrants dating back to the days of the Gold Rush, supported by state and federal legislation, including the passing of the the 1875 Page Act, which barred East Asian women from U.S. entry; the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited immigration of Chinese laborers and perpetuated anti-Chinese racism; the California Alien Land Law of 1913; and the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Antiracist scholar Ibram X. Kendi tells us that policies shape attitudes; this is evident in the 145% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the past 18 months.
As archivists, we serve as witnesses to this shameful legacy, and the oppression and harm toward the AAPI community that has been a painful part of California’s wealth and prosperity. Our efforts to document the lives and contributions of AAPI Californians can counter and contextualize racist tropes and scapegoating promoted by the media and politicians for political gain, both historically and in the present. But this cannot be where our work ends.
We can also acknowledge how we may have been unconsciously biased in our archival practices. We should be reflective about how the anti-Asian policies may have affected our personal attitudes about Asian and Pacific Islander people. We strongly encourage all SCA members to look within their own institutional practices to consider how Asian and Pacific Islander archivists have historically been treated by our profession. How will we hold ourselves accountable if you notice yourself, or someone else perpetuating stereotypes about Asian or Pacific Islander people? The SCA Ethics and Inclusion committee has advocated for all members to participate in active bystander training to combat harassment or violence as it is happening, or before it escalates. The Board strongly encourages you to engage in this type of professional development, and will offer opportunities to join as an organization in such training in the coming year.
How can we center the voices of our colleagues who are the most harmed by these policies? The SCA Ethics and Inclusion Committee is in the initial stages of planning a BIPOC affinity group, to bring together underrepresented archival workers in a community-centered space. The Ethics and Inclusion Committee, with the support of the Board will facilitate ongoing discussions about actions membership and the SCA Board can take to continue to work towards inclusivity within our professional organization. If you have any suggestions, please contact the Ethics and Inclusion Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we look toward celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, we encourage fellow archivists to foster awareness of AAPI history and culture, promote historical materials that highlight AAPI contributions to our country’s success, and surface AAPI stories and personal narratives that have long been silenced in our historical record. We should also consider how we are celebrating and supporting these communities on an ongoing basis.
Executive Board and Ethics and Inclusion Committee
Society of California Archivists
SCA is celebrating 50 years! Since its founding, SCA has proven to be essential to the professional lives of its members and to the preservation of records which reveal the multi-faceted history of California. In lieu of the annual Silent Auction, please consider making a monetary donation to SCA so that we may continue to provide resources, support, and education to the archival community. Donations of other amounts are also welcome! Those who donate $50 or more during the "$50 for 50" anniversary campaign will receive a tote bag honoring SCA’s 50th anniversary.
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Society of California Archivists is a non-profit organization. c/o California State Archives, 1020 “O” Street, Sacramento, CA 95814