Curator, Archives of Women of the Southwest

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Curator, Archives of Women of the Southwest

DeGolyer Library

Southern Methodist University

Dallas, Texas

The DeGolyer Library seeks a qualified professional for the curation, arrangement, and description of manuscript collections, personal papers, and other materials in the Archives of Women of the Southwest. The person in this position may supervise student workers, interns, or volunteers assigned to processing tasks. He or she reports to the director of the DeGolyer.

The DeGolyer Library is the principal repository at SMU for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, and the history of science and technology. Its rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other materials are available to all SMU students, faculty, visiting scholars, and other researchers. DeGolyer Library’s holdings of primary sources are supported by exhibitions, lectures, publications, and other events. Dedicated to enhancing scholarship and teaching at SMU, the DeGolyer Library is charged with maintaining and building its various collections “for study, research, and pleasure.”

Library holdings consist of over 150,000 rare books, over 2.5 million manuscripts, several thousand maps, a large and growing collection of ephemera, and a collection of over 1,000,000 photographs. The Library employs a dedicated and knowledgeable staff, complemented by a student workforce. More information can be found at the Library’s web site:

Established in 1993, the Archives of Women of the Southwest is one of the special collections of DeGolyer Library. The primary mission of the Archives of Women of the Southwest is to document the historical experience of western women, with a special emphasis on the region that includes Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and the Spanish Borderlands. The position is supported by an endowment recently raised for the purpose.

Housed in the DeGolyer Library, the Archives currently has over 200 accessions. The collections include letters, diaries, speeches, photographs, scrapbooks, organizational records, ephemera, periodicals, and other print, audio and video materials.


Collection development: the curator should be able to cultivate donors and to work effectively with individuals, families, and organizations, paying particular attention to the legal issues involved in the transfer of materials to the library. In addition to archival collections, the curator may also play a role in the selection of other primary materials in women’s history, including books, pamphlets, broadsides, and other media. The curator will also help coordinate semi-annual meetings of the advisory board of the Archives of Women of the Southwest and keep the board apprised of needs and opportunities.

Processing: the curator will process incoming and existing collections and create finding aids.  He or she will be familiar with the application of standards for manuscript and archival description such as DACS and EAD; demonstrate flexibility and adaptability in an ever-changing technological environment; have the ability to compose clear, concise descriptions, as demonstrated in a finding aid/other functional document; have strong analytical, problem-solving, decision-making skills; and have the ability to work in a collegial setting and to communicate effectively, in writing and in speaking.  She or he will also work with the libraries’ digitization unit on digital collections and digital preservation projects.

Reference: the curator will provide reference services in person, through email, and over the telephone. He or she will consult with SMU students and other researchers about their projects and advise them on the use of library finding aids such as reference books, collection guides, databases, and indexes as well as tools available via the internet. The curator will advise in the selection of short-term visiting research fellows. All staff work regular shifts in the reading room.

Instruction/Outreach: In collaboration with other members of the staff, provide high quality instruction using special collections materials to diverse audiences, principally classes of undergraduate and graduate students but also community groups, alumni, and others.

Research: the person in this position will curate exhibitions, contribute to library publications (in print and online), and develop areas of professional expertise through research, writing, publication, and involvement in local, regional, and national organizations.

Regular hours are 8:30-5, M-F. Occasional night or weekend work may be required for special events.


Master’s degree from an ALA-accredited program or advanced degree in a related discipline with professional experience in archives or special collections.

Candidate must be mobile, able to lift up to 40 pounds, climb ladders, push carts, and stand and sit for long periods. Exposure to dust and other foreign objects is routinely part of the processing experience as collections are acquired.


A second master’s degree in women’s studies, American history, literature, or a related field.

One to three years’ experience processing archival collections and writing finding aids.

Archival certification.

Experience in use of an integrated library system; knowledge/awareness of current trends in digitization of rare/unique original research materials, and of metadata formats; experience with social media in a special collections library.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applications must be submitted online through the SMU Human Resources site and must include a c. v, cover letter, and a list of three references with contact information. This position is subject to the University’s background check policy. Salary will range from $47,000-$54,000, depending on qualifications and experiences. This is designed as an entry-level / early career position. SMU offers a full range of benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, and tuition benefits for employees and families.

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