Welcome to Conversant, the new blog for the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.
Contributors include Sidney Berger, The Ann C. Pingree Director; Erin Britt, Assistant Catalog Librarian; Anne E. Deschaine, Reference Librarian; Kathy Flynn, Head of Reference Services; Tamara Gaydos, NHPRC Grant Project Manager and Manuscript Processor; Jennifer Hornsby, Assistant Manuscript Processor; Barbara Pero Kampas, Head of Library Collections; Catherine Robertson, Assistant Reference Librarian; and Ruth M. Stewart, Head Catalog Librarian. Each contributor will highlight special items in the library collection, identify recently processed manuscript collections and update patrons about the current library renovation project.
We invite your participation and look forward to many interesting conversations. You can also follow us on Twitter @PEMLibrary for updates on the renovation and additional insight into our collections.
The Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum
Sidney Berger’s Ph.D. is from the University of Iowa, in Medieval English Literature and Bibliography. His MS in Library and Information Science is from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana. He has been curator of printed books and curator of manuscripts at the American Antiquarian Society, head of special collections and university archivist at the University of California, Riverside, director of the California Center for the Book, and a professor in English, communications, and library and information science. He has published widely on literary and bibliographic topics, and he was editor for six years of Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarianship. He worked for six years at the University of Iowa Center for Textual Studies, preparing editions of the works of Mark Twain. He continues to publish and give lectures and workshops on many library and bibliographical topics.
Assistant Catalog Librarian
Erin Britt holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from St. Michael’s College and an M.L.I.S from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She had internships at the State Library of Massachusetts and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her recent travels took her to India, where she studied and practiced yoga.
Anne E. Deschaine
Anne Deschaine joined the Phillips Library in 2011 as a reference librarian assistant. She earned a B.S. in political science, international studies and French from Iowa State University, with a semester at University College Cork in Ireland. After several years working for a public library in Iowa, she relocated to Boston and earned her M.L.I.S. from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Deschaine has had archives internships at the Arnold Arboretum and the Phillips Library, a metadata internship at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a conservation internship at the Mary Baker Eddy Library. She spent a month in the United Kingdom studying British cultural heritage institutions. She also worked with rare maps at the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Frances Loeb Library and was a circulation clerk at the Boston Architectural College library. An inveterate generalist, Deschaine loves working with the varied collections of the Phillips Library and learns something new every day.
Head of Reference Services
Kathy Flynn has been with the Phillips Library since 1994 and has held her current position since 2000. She earned a B.A. in anthropology from Marquette University and an M.L.I.S. from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Rhode Island. Flynn oversees the operation of the library’s reading room, assisting scholars from around the world, as well as Peabody Essex Museum staff and interns.
NHPRC Grant Project Manager and Manuscript Processor
Tamara Gaydos has served as the manuscript processor at the Phillips Library since 2007. She holds a B.S. in Russian from Georgetown University and an M.L.I.S. from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She is an active member of the New England Archivists and Society of American Archivists. Her archival career includes work done at the Beverly (Mass.) Historical Society, Steven Phillips Memorial Trust House and Northeastern University. She successfully manages a busy internship program with Simmons College GSLIS interns and is the grant project manager for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Assistant Manuscript Processor
Jennifer Hornsby received her M.L.I.S. from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She interned at the State Library of Massachusetts Special Collections, the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the Baker Library Historical Collections at Harvard Business School and the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria. She joined the Phillips Library as a manuscript processor for a National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant and is now working on processing the Pingree Family Papers. Hornsby holds a B.A. in history from Union College.
Barbara Pero Kampas
Head of Library Collections
Barbara Pero Kampas has worked at the Phillips Library since 2006 and is currently the head of library collections. She holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.L.I.S. from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College. Kampas’ role is to steward the library collection, develop digital initiatives and work on special projects within the library and with museum curators. An avid quilter, Kampas researches the collection for design ideas; for a quilt displayed at the New England Quilt Museum, she incorporated writings from The Lowell Offering onto the quilt created to honor the city of Lowell, MA. She is the voice of @PEMLibrary on Twitter and is the author of The Great Salem Fire of 1914: Images from the Phillips Library Collection.
Assistant Reference Librarian
Catherine Robertson is the newest member of the Phillips Library staff. Prior to joining the Peabody Essex Museum, she received her M.L.I.S and a master’s degree in history from Simmons College, where her studies focused on race and social history in 19th-century America. As a reference librarian, she is excited to help others develop and expand their passions for history through the collections at PEM.
Ruth M. Stewart
Head Catalog Librarian and Voyager System Administrator
Ruth Stewart is a former musician and maker of stringed instruments. She has worked at the Peabody Essex Museum since 1994 and has been in her current position as head catalog librarian since 1999. She has been administrator of the Voyager System since 2003. Her love of fine music, fine books and treasures comes together at PEM. Some of the challenging and interesting aspects of her work include cataloging materials from various cultures, including those in Asian languages, as well as the wonderful range of subject matter in the Phillips Library collection. Stewart’s education, at Western Michigan University, is primarily in music, piano and cello. She worked in the Music Library there. Stewart also completed the String Instrument Making and Repair program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston.