Welcome to Conversant, the new blog for the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.
Contributors include Sidney Berger, Director Emeritus; Kathy Flynn, Head of Reference Services; Tamara Gaydos, NHPRC Grant Project Manager and Manuscript Processor; Jennifer Hornsby, Assistant Reference Librarian; Catherine Robertson, Reference Librarian; and Ruth M. Stewart, Head of Technical Services. 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.