As October ended we wished Archive Director Kathy McLeister, a heartfelt goodbye as she left THS to pursue new opportunities. A member of the THS family for over 3 years, she wanted to share a few thoughts as she bid THS farewell:
As October comes to a close, so does my time as Archive Director for THS. The Society has changed dramatically since I first started as Office Assistant in 2003 and has made great strides since I came back on staff as Archive Director in June 2010. When I started as the first professional in charge of the archives, I was excited to dive into the work to be done. As I leave, I am proud of what I have accomplished in the last 3 ½ years.
My time at THS allowed me to apply my archival science training in a hands-on situation. The “behind-the-scenes” work of processing collections is just as satisfying as the thrill of helping an eager researcher find that long sought information or photograph on the treasure hunt through the archives. I am also pleased with the progress to make information about the collections more accessible both on-site and online. I am proud that nearly 20,000 records are available in the collection management software, most of which are available in the online catalog. I am also honored to have been part of establishing the Thomas R. DuBuque Research Fellowship. This support for scholars to come to Elmhurst to use the collections is important in fulfilling the purpose of the archives. Finally, I am grateful for the experience of managing an archives and building the framework necessary to implement best practices. No matter where my career leads me, the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of areas from creating policies to grant writing to managing a budget has given a better understanding of the administrative workings of archives.
I will miss many things about my time at THS. Aside from the obvious opportunity to work with historical materials, I will greatly miss the friends I have made, the conversations with members as the Conclave buses made their way to the next destination, and hearing the stories and history of America’s theatres. I wish to extend a special thanks to all the Board members, volunteers, and interns who have been so supportive and giving of their time and talents over the years.
I look forward to seeing THS and the archives continue to move in a direction that better serves individuals and organizations interested in the historic documents, photographs, and artifacts of theatres in the United States.
Kathy McLeister, MLIS