As the United States continues to confront systemic racism on several fronts, archival repositories are rethinking the idea of space and how it pertains to inclusivity. A leader among these conversations is Dr. Jesse Erickson, author of “The Gentleman’s Ghost: Patriarchal Eurocentric Legacies in Special Collections,” published in Archives and Special Collections as Sites of Contestation (2020) and Astor curator and department head of Printed Books and Bindings at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. In this episode, Dr. Erickson discusses his path to special collections and the physical spaces that gave him entry into the field. Dr. Erickson also shares insight into “The Gentleman’s Ghost” and encourages archivists to think critically and imaginatively about reading rooms of the future.
Dr. Erickson most recently worked as coordinator of special collections and digital humanities and assistant professor in the department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, and as associate director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center at the University of Delaware. Prior to this role, he worked as a bibliographic researcher and archival processor in the manuscripts division of the Charles E. Young Research Library and the Center for Oral History Research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He recently served as the vice president for programs for the American Printing History Association. He has also served on the editorial boards of the University of Delaware Press and Publishing History, and he is co-editor for the Papers of Bibliographical Society of America. His research specializations are in ethnobibliography, alternative printing, non-canonical textuality, African American print culture, and the transnational publishing history of the works of Ouida. Dr. Erickson holds a master’s degree in library and information science and a doctoral degree in information studies from UCLA.
This episode is sponsored by the San José State University School of Information.
Check out Dr. Erickson’s essay “The Gentleman’s Ghost: Patriarchal Eurocentric Legacies in Special Collections Design,” in Archives and Special Collections as Sites of Contestation, edited by Mary Kandiuk (Library Juice Press, 2020).
Also mentioned is Ashley Farmer’s essay “Archiving While Black” (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 22, 2018). Read her essay and listen to her Archives in Context conversation.