• 08 Dec 2015 1:59 PM | Megan Keller Young

    For those who may be interested in forming a Chicago-area study group for the 2016 Certified Archivist exam, CAA has created a sign up sheet for members to connect with each other. Sign up here

    Please note that Chicago is already selected as one of the exam sites for 2016.  Some interest has been expressed in petitioning the ACA to offer another exam location in the Chicago area, outside of the city - if this is something you're interested in, please indicate this preference on the study group sign up sheet.
    Also, the ACA is offering an early-bird discount for those who register prior to February 15.  Please see below for more details:

    News from the Academy of Certified Archivists

    The Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA) is making the certification exam more affordable by offering a reduced application fee as part of an early bird special!

    Register for the exam before February 15 and receive half-off regular registration. The rate increases to the standard fee of $50 after February 15.

    The early bird deadline also lowers the threshold for selecting pick-your-site locations! Instead of requiring 5 test takers per site, the ACA will only require 3 during the early bird period.  This change makes it easier for many candidates to have an exam site in a more convenient and affordable location.  But, like the test application fee, the required number of test participants will increase to the standard number of 5 after the early bird period ends.

    This year's Certified Archivist exam will be held August 3rd.  The predetermined locations are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

    Questions? Contact the ACA Secretariat:

  • 08 Dec 2015 12:36 PM | Anonymous member

    Chicago last hosted the Spring Meeting of the Midwest Archives Conference (MAC) in April 2010. At its May 2015 meeting, the MAC Council reviewed a proposal from Vice President David McCartney to hold the 2018 Spring Meeting in Chicago. The CAA Steering Committee wants to hear from CAA members and anyone else in the Chicago area interested in helping to bring MAC back to Chicago in 2018.

    The MAC Council will select a city for the 2018 Spring Meeting in April 2016. CAA would like to submit a proposal to the MAC Council strengthening the case for Chicago as host city before that meeting. And should the MAC Council select Chicago to host its 2018 Spring Meeting, volunteers will be needed to serve on the Local Arrangements Committee. You can read more about the MAC meeting planning process on the MAC website here:

    Do you have a passion for Chicago and the many fine archival institutions based in the Chicago area? Do you love the idea of attending MAC in your own fair city, or one of its many fine suburbs (we’re looking at you, Evanston)? Then share your passion by contacting and volunteering to help bring MAC back home.

  • 02 Dec 2015 11:57 AM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    Frank Villella discusses the CSO's Rosenthal Archives contribution. See below for an excerpt!

    At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., this giving spirit is the focus of a long-term Philanthropy Initiative announced on #GivingTuesday that includes a new display, “Giving in America” unveiled on December 1, 2015, and on view through November 2016. Included in this display is a very special artifact from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Rosenthal Archives: the oldest of Thomas’s scores for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, a work prominently featured on those inaugural concerts.
  • 19 Nov 2015 9:55 AM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    Check out the latest news from our National Archives neighbors! In this issue:

    • November is Native American Heritage Month
    • NARA Archivist Katie Dishman Returns to Corporate Archives
    • The Gales of November: Edmund Fitzgerald 40th Anniversary
    • National Archives at Chicago Joins Chicagoland Archives Month Event in October
    • Naturalization Petitions from the U.S. District Court for the Chicago Division of the Northern District of Illinois now online
    • Meet Our Newest Interns!
    • Saturday Hours End
    • Bankruptcy Case Files No Longer held at Chicago

  • 15 Nov 2015 4:18 PM | Megan Keller Young

    I am pleased to announce that Gretchen Neidhardt has joined the Chicago Area Archivists Steering Committee. Gretchen responded to our call for volunteers to fill the open seat for the 2015-17 term created when our colleague Jessica Farrell resigned to take a new job as Curator of Digital Collections for Harvard Law School.

    Gretchen is a cataloger at the Chicago History Museum, and has co-chaired the CAA Outreach Subcommittee since 2014. Thanks to Gretchen for joining our team.

    CAA members interested in the Steering Committee should watch for a forthcoming call for volunteers to fill open seats for the 2016-18 term. Voting for the 2016-18 term will be open to CAA members only and will take place online in the month prior to the Annual Meeting in March (exact date, time, and location to be determined).

    Questions or comments can be sent to

    Amber Dushman, Steering Committee Chair (2015-17)

  • 12 Nov 2015 9:32 AM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    Please check out our colleagues at the American College of Surgeons (ACS), whose Archives Catalog is now available online. Researchers have expressed enthusiasm about their newfound ability to access, not only collection descriptions, but also many of the actual photos, videos, publications, and sound recordings described in the Catalog.

    Planned further enhancements to the ACS Archives Catalog include: improved subject access, versions of the descriptions which will be accessible to Internet search engines such as Google, and the ongoing addition of more digital objects.

    The Archives Catalog is available at:


  • 02 Nov 2015 10:00 AM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    Do you know a CAA member who has worked hard to advocate for CAA and the archival field? Nominate them for the Janet Olson Award!

    Nominations may be submitted at any time to The CAA Outreach Subcommittee (or an ad hoc awards committee) will be responsible for reviewing submissions and conferring the award.

    If you would like to nominate a CAA member, please include a letter outlining his or her contributions and achievements, as well as any documentation that you find relevant. Do note that the nominee must be a CAA member in good standing. Members cannot self-nominate.

    Keep in mind that nominations for the Janet Olson Award are due on January 15th - please consider nominating a colleague for their hard work and dedication!
  • 30 Oct 2015 2:35 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    In this issue:

    • Smoky Says: “Only You Can Prevent Us From Losing the Next Nuclear War” Or Testing Soldiers Exposed to Nuclear Blasts

    • October is Archives Month! Chicago Open Archives: Collecting and Connecting

    • Stephanie Phillips Leaving the National Archives

    • National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

    • Important Announcement: Bankruptcy Case Files Are No Longer at Chicago

  • 04 Oct 2015 8:38 AM | Gretchen Neidhardt

    Congratulations to Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts and Jessica Farrell, two of our members that attended the Archives Institute Leadership this summer. See below for some of their reflections!

    Archives Leadership Institute applications are due November 30, and here to share some reflections, give some advice, and encourage you to apply are two Chicago-area members of the 2015 cohort.

    But first, if you’ve never heard of ALI, let’s catch you up. Funded by the NHPRC, ALI provides advanced training for 25 archival leaders each year, giving them knowledge and tools to transform the profession in practice, theory, and attitude. It’s a heavily-subsidized week-long summer institute (under $1000 for all included lodging, training, meals) that feels much like a retreat. In 2016-2018, the program is located at Berea College in Kentucky.

    The 6-member ALI steering committee evaluates applications through December, and the cohort is notified of their acceptance in the early months of the following year. Community building starts virtually, shortly after the cohort is identified. We were assigned small mentor groups consisting of one mentor and four mentees, got to know each other in those small groups, and then shared our introductions with the whole cohort. There were a few pre-reading and assignments leading up to the institute. After the institute, you stay in touch with your small mentor groups with periodic check-ins and there’s usually an ALI event at each SAA conference where you can mix with past and present cohorts. You may have started to catch on to a theme here, which is that ALI is NOT just a week-long one and done experience! And since ALI began in 2008, it’s accumulated many members through the years, creating an exciting critical mass full of potential for steering the archives profession in the future.

    ALI cohorts include participants with a range of backgrounds, specializations, job descriptions within the archival field, and of course, personalities! So as you can imagine people apply and attend ALI for a variety of reasons. Here are some personal reflections from two 2015 cohort members:

    Jessica Farrell, Curator of Digital Collections for Harvard Law School

    I applied to ALI because I was thirsty for more leadership opportunities that I simply wasn’t able to get from my day job. An early career archivist, I have a lot of ambition but haven’t yet snagged a paid leadership position. I supplemented my day job with serving on two professional association steering committees, but I wanted more training to prepare me for a future of leadership in archival practice as well.

    ALI taught me a ton of things I already knew and wasn’t recognizing, along with some new skills to take back to the workplace. We are all leaders in so many small and big ways, whether our job title says it or not. Recognizing how we can influence from our current position, whatever that is, is so important, and so possible. I learned that what’s more important than simply “networking” is building and nurturing your community. The ALI cohort is so much more than a network. They are - sorry to get sappy here, but - your friends, mentors, coaches, sounding boards, supporters, and partners in crime for life. Since the end of the institute this June, I’ve already got a long list of things I attribute to ALI: an SAA ‘16 panel proposal, a Twitter account, meaningful connections to way more institutions and people in the field (think ALI cohort + everyone they know + the institutions they’ve worked at in the past, etc. all as possible future connections), some job interviews and even an offer, and most importantly, a completely new level of confidence in my leadership potential...and I’m excited to see how that list will grow.

    Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts, DePaul University, Special Collections Instruction Librarian

    I have been interested in a formal leadership training program for a number of years. ALI was on my radar because several good friends and colleagues spoke highly of their experience.  And, after this summer’s immersion week and the follow up workshop at the SAA conference in Cleveland it is my turn to share my enthusiasm for this amazing program.  I gained tremendous personal insight through ALI’s curriculum, faculty, and mentor groups and I am now shaping my professional goals accordingly.  I also have a stronger grasp on how I can contribute to my institution and the special collections and archives community.  The ALI experience connected me with a group of highly motivated individuals who share a desire to learn, develop, and inspire others.  

    Now that we’ve got your full interest in applying for this amazing program, here are some of our tips for the application process:

    • Start early! Start NOW! The application is pretty lengthy and consists of a lot of writing. We recommend setting aside about 20 hours to complete it.
    • If you’ve applied before and didn’t get in but are still interested, try again. The steering committee encourages repeat applicants. They make tough decisions each year and you’ve certainly grown since the last time you applied, so go for it!
    • If you’d like some feedback on your application before turning it in, send it to Rachel Vagts [] and she will facilitate a review.
    • With constant access to email and the ability to work from a distance, it can be tough to arrange complete disengagement from your day job for a week. But we recommend it as much as possible! The retreat style of the institute means that it’s held somewhat off-the-grid. It’s designed to make you tune in and interact, staying fully engaged in growing and bettering yourself for a week.

    For more information on what ALI is looking for in applicants, visit the call for applications on their website.

    And for more tips, feel free to reach out to your fellow CAA members: Jessica, Morgen, Benn Joseph (IIT, Head of University Archives and Special Collections; ALI 2013 Cohort), or Jamie Nelson (DePaul University, Head of Special Collections and Archives; ALI 2014 Cohort).  Now, go forth and apply to ALI!

    ALI 2015 Cohort, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, June 2015

  • 15 Sep 2015 5:19 PM | Gretchen Neidhardt

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