A Farewell from THS Archive Director, Kathy McLeister

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:

KathyAs 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


  1. Kathy–Thank you for all your work. The Archives are a better thing because of you. So glad to have shared a bit of the journey with you. Happy Trails, and stay in touch!

  2. Karl Warner

    Thank you for your expertise as an archivist. We will miss you and wish you the best in your next endeavor.

  3. David Peredia

    Will we see you at future conclaves, I hope so.

  4. Vincent Astor

    I will always be grateful for the time you spent with me when I visited and all the trouble you went to to find the images I asked for. Many of these are now published in my new book. Best of luck.

  5. R Bradshaw

    So sorry we will not have your company at future conclaves and very glad to have had your company in the best. The very best wishes for your future career.

  6. Darryl Jorden

    Thank you, Kathy, for your years of managing our archives. We will miss the dedication and expertise that you brought to your duties. As a volunteer, it was a pleasure working with you. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  7. John Kiesendahl

    Kathy, Thank you for all you have done at THSA these last years. It has been a pleasure getting to know you,working with you, and having fun conversations on conclave buses. Please keep in touch in the future. Send me an email once in a while. Good luck in the future. Best, John

  8. Kathy,
    I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with you during your final weeks at THS, during my visit as a recipient of the Thomas R. DuBuque Research Fellowship. Your dedication and expertise made my experience very productive and enjoyable. Thanks for all the work you’ve done to develop the THS Archives and make them more accessible. I’d like to echo your thanks to the many donors and volunteers whose work is the bedrock of the archives. My visit increased my appreciation of the members whose collections make up the Archive, and of the patient volunteers who have devoted so much time to cataloging and cross-referencing the materials.

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