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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

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

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