Welcome to Conversant, the new blog for the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Contributors include Tamara Gaydos, Manuscript Processor; Jennifer Hornsby, Assistant Reference Librarian;  Sarah Jennette, Assistant Cataloger; Catherine Robertson, Reference Librarian; Ruth M. Stewart, Head of Technical Services; and Hilary Streifer, Manuscript Processor. 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.

Tamara Gaydos

Tamara Gaydos
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.


Jennifer HornsbyJennifer Hornsby
Assistant Reference Librarian

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.


Sarah JennetteSarah Jennette
Cataloging Assistant

Sarah Jennette joined the Phillips Library shortly after receiving her M.L.I.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. She also holds a B.A. in History as well as Gender and Women’s Studies from Plattsburgh State University. Prior to the Phillips Library, she was a Cataloging and Acquisitions Assistant for the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She also interned for the State Library of Massachusetts Special Collections Department and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum with their oral history collection. As an Assistant Cataloger, she not only enjoys the technical service aspects of librarianship, but also the opportunity to work with the eclectic and diverse collections at the library.


Catherine RobertsonCatherine Robertson
Reference Librarian

Prior to joining the Peabody Essex Museum, Catherine Robertson 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.  She has worked at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and interned at Emerson College.  As a reference librarian, she is excited to help others develop and expand their passions for history through the collections at PEM.


Ruth Stewart

Ruth M. Stewart
Head of Technical Services

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.


Hilary Streifer

Hilary Streifer
Manuscript Processor

Hilary Streifer received her M.L.I.S. from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences.  She has interned at Framingham State University’s Archives, the Wellesley Historical Society, and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.  She holds an M.A. in Modern European History from Villanova University.



Located in Salem, Massachusetts, the Phillips Library is the research and documentation division of the Peabody Essex Museum. The library specializes in Essex County history, maritime art and history, and Asian, Oceanic and Native American cultures. The library is internationally known; scholars frequently work with our manuscript and rare book collections. Please visit our website pem.org/library to learn more about the scope and depth of these special collections.