Society of Southwest Archivists


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  • 21 Mar 2024 11:45 AM | Perla Camacho-Cedillo (Administrator)

    It is with great sadness that we share the news that Professor Ciaran B. Trace has passed away. Dr. Trace joined The University of Texas at Austin School of Information (iSchool) in 2010 and was a passionate advocate for the archives and records management fields. She led the effort in establishing the iSchool’s partnership with the Institute of Certified Records Managers, allowing students to apply completed coursework toward examination credit for either the Certified Records Analyst (CRA) or the Certified Records Manager (CRM) designations.

    To view the full post detailing Dr. Trace's professional achievements, visit here.

  • 21 Feb 2023 8:10 PM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    The Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) Professional Development Committee (PDC) is accepting proposals for a virtual workshop series or panel presentation to be held starting early May 2023.**

    **Please note that this call for proposal is not for the 2023 SSA Pre-Conference Workshop selection process.

    Workshop/panel topics can cover any aspect of the archival enterprise (including analog, digital, and records management.) Such topics may include, but are not limited to:

    • Digital archives and applications of technology

    • GIS mapping

    • Environmental controls for archival materials

    • Rare books for archivists

    • Social Media and marketing in Archives

    • Project Management for archivists

    • Advocating for yourself in the workplace

    • Digital Humanities

    • Archival Management

    • Copyright in Archives

    • Diversity in the Profession

    • Oral histories


    Timeframe: 60 to 90 minutes

    Should include: Objectives and learning outcomes for the session, target audience, technical requirements, prerequisite knowledge or experience, time expectation.

    Panels Presentations

    Timeframe: 60 minutes, including Q&A

    The PDC is open to review any new and innovative initiatives and conceptual work (completed or under development) for training and professional development sessions with consideration to diversity and inclusion.

    We strongly encourage panel/presentation sessions that address topics from multiple perspectives and institutions.

    Proposals should address the target audience, an explanation of hands-on/interactive components, and the learning objectives and outcomes for attendees to come away with a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills that can be applied to the field of archives.

    Proposals are due by midnight on Thursday, March 16, 2023, and must be submitted using the following form.

    The PDC highly encourages co-presenters, first-time presenters, early-career professionals, lone arrangers, current graduate students, community members who work with archival (analog and digital) materials in less traditional or unconventional settings to apply.

    For any questions, please contact the SSA Professional Development Committee at

    Please submit proposals using the SSA Professional Development Call for Proposals form.
  • 21 Dec 2022 5:06 PM | Perla Camacho-Cedillo (Administrator)

    This past summer, Alexandra Levy, Communications Manager for the American Historical Association (AHA), reached out to me as SSA President regarding a jointly issued statement between AHA and the Organization of American Historians (OAH) in which they expressed their dismay concerning the US Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. Both organizations had provided the Supreme Court with an [amicus curiae] brief that included historical precedence supporting their argument that the "history" referred to in the court's majority opinion is inaccurate and a misrepresentation. According to their response, the Supreme Court “...adopted a flawed interpretation of abortion criminalization that has been pressed by anti-abortion advocates for more than thirty years. … These misrepresentations are now enshrined in a text that becomes authoritative for legal reference and citation in the future. The court’s decision erodes fundamental rights and has the potential to exacerbate historic injustices and deepen inequalities in our country.”

    Given the historical implications (not political), the SSA Board reviewed the AHA/OHA joint statement and agreed to sign on as a supporter. I encourage you to read the [amitus curiae] brief to review the historical precedence supporting their argument. As a signatory, SSA shows our support with their statement, in particular: "The OAH and AHA consider it imperative that historical evidence and argument be presented according to high standards of historical scholarship. The court’s majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson does not meet those standards and has therefore established a flawed and troubling precedent."

  • 31 May 2022 12:19 PM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    The Executive Board of the Society of Southwest Archivists encourages archival employees with federal student loans to review their eligibility under the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) programs. If you were previously denied under PSLF rules, the limited one-year waiver under TEPSLF put in place by the Education Department may now qualify you for forgiveness. The deadline to submit necessary paperwork is October 31, 2022.

    Under the PSLF program, federal student loan borrowers employed by government agencies and qualifying nonprofit organizations are eligible to have their federal student loan balance forgiven after making 10 years of qualifying loan payments. Many archival workers meet the employer eligibility criteria for the program.

    To determine your eligibility for either program, visit You must apply to be considered.

    In an era of staggering student loan debt, surging inflation, and stagnant wages, there should be no shame in seeking financial relief. To assist in determining what options may be available to you, the following non-profit organizations provide additional information:

    PSLF Coalition

    Student Borrower Protection Center

    Student Loan Borrower Assistance

    Please be aware of the numerous scams regarding student loan forgiveness and consolidation. These individuals and companies seek to defraud unsuspecting borrowers through “official” looking advertisements and websites. Avoid any entity that uses high-pressure sales tactics, promises fast debt cancellation, requires upfront fees, and that limits your options when engaging their services.

  • 11 May 2022 5:01 PM | Perla Camacho-Cedillo (Administrator)

    Krishna Shenoy, Librarian/Archivist and John Slate, City Archivist, Dallas Municipal Archives. This is the fourth installment of a series of articles that commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Society of Southwest Archivists.

    A good newsletter has two uses - its immediate use to convey timely information and report on membership activities; and its later use as a historical snapshot of where we were, what we did, and how we did it. The past issues of The Southwestern Archivist area chronicle of the organization during good times and bad, a look at the past issues and concerns of the archives community, and a record of achievement among SSA?s members.

    During the1970s, one of the significant accomplishments of SSA President A. Otis Hebert Jr. was the inception of a quarterly newsletter. Hebert produced the first issue in August 1973 and it was simply named- "The Newsletter". John M. Kinney, Texas State Archivist at the time, was named as Publisher. Upon his election as SSA President, Kinney chose Larry Sall of the University of Texas at Arlington as editor. Sall produced five issues and was succeeded by Chris LaPlante of the Texas State Archives. LaPlante served from the fall of 1976 through the summer of 1980. The familiar region logo makes it's appearance during this time.

    Vicki Sullivan of the Oklahoma Historical Society served as editor during 1980-1981. She was succeeded by Lauren Brown of the Woodson Research Center at Rice University, who began her tenure as editor in 1981 and continued the post through the Spring of 1984. She was succeeded by David L. Chapman, university archivist at Texas A&M University, who served through the spring 1987 issue. Among other things, David introduced clip art and fajita recipes to the still untitled newsletter. During his editorship the Sterling C. Evans Library at Texas A&M graciously printed "The Newsletter" at no cost to SSA.

    Michael Heskett of the Local Records Division of the Texas State Library and Archives assumed the editorship with the Summer 1987 issue and continued through the Winter 1989 issue. He changed the numbering system from a simple consecutive number to a volume and issue number. Dr. Frank de la Teja, then assistant archivist at the Texas General Land Grant Office, began to edit the newsletter with the Spring 1989 issue and continued to serve through the Winter 1991 issue.

    Frank de la Teja was succeeded by Leon C. Miller of Tulane University, who made a lasting impact upon the look and content of the publication. His first issue appeared under the new and current title The Southwestern Archivist, a name approved by the executive board in May 1990. Lee introduced a number of new and exciting features into the newsletter including for the first time, identifying authors of articles.

    Issues of The Southwestern Archivist were traditionally printed and mailed to members and institutions. Its look was greatly improved, and consistently generous advertising revenue ensured a professional, good looking product. Miller stepped down in 1996 and was succeeded by Barbara Rust of the National Archives Federal Records Center in Fort Worth; she was succeeded the following year by a series of editors with brief terms between 1997 and 2003, including Glenn McMullen, Casey Greene, Carol Roark, Sharon Perry Martin, John Slate, and Tara Z. Laver. In 2003, the first digital issue was introduced and recipients had the option of receiving both the print and/or digital version of the newsletter.

    The newsletter covered local events, new exhibits, projects, and employment opportunities, but it also reported on national and international developments, archival publications, and notable changes in archival leadership across the region.

    Amanda York Focke, Rice University, assumed the editor's mantle in 2003 and served through 2007. She was followed by Katie Salzmann and Kris Toma, both Texas State University, who co-edited through 2012. They were followed by Lauren Goodley (Texas State University) and Kate Blalack (Woody Guthrie Center), who co-edited through 2014. Lisa Cruces, University of Houston, served as editor 2014-2016. She was followed in by Amanda Norman, who served 2016-2019.

    In mid-2018, the editorial team decided to transition the newsletter from the old program (InDesign) to LucidPress. Streamlined, and user-friendly LucidPress, made designing the newsletter easier and wouldn't require the same level of technical training for incoming Editors that InDesign demanded. The transition made a huge improvement on the aesthetic quality of the newsletter, as seen between the August 2018 issue and the November 2018 issue. In addition to new software, which ultimately reshaped the design and feel of the newsletter, a cover page was included, giving the newsletter more the appearance of a journal. Furthermore, the "Talk Of The Region" section was added to distinguish articles about individual repositories from those that covered a broader range of institutions or areas in the southwest.

    In 2020, under the leadership of Editor Nicholas Wojcik, Scholarly Publishing Librarian at the University of Oklahoma Libraries, the newsletter went to a solely digital format, and the print version was discontinued. In keeping with the times, Wojcik and the Diversity and Outreach Committee began a bi-annual feature highlighting diverse collections and diverse voices in archives. The move to a digital only format allowed for more editorial and creative freedom, and under the editorship of Krishna Shenoy, Librarian/Archivist, the newsletter is now in color and not bound to traditional print layouts. This move to color, conveniently coincided with SSA's new branding scheme creating a more unified appearance across all of SSA's communication platforms, including the website, social media, and the newsletter. The newsletter continues to serve admirably as the principle means of communication to the membership about activities and actions of the Society.

    Caption: Images in this blog post prior to 2003 are from the Society of Southwest Archivists Collection, Texas Collection and University Archives at Baylor University.

  • 18 Feb 2022 9:13 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    John Slate, 50th Anniversary Ad Hoc Committee Chair

    This is the third installment of a series of articles that commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Society of Southwest Archivists.

    In the past 50 years, SSA has welcomed speakers whose presentations encompass a variety of subjects, but ultimately express the importance of archives in the field of Humanities. A.M. Gibson was the featured speaker at SSA’s first annual meeting in 1973. A George L. Cross Research Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma, Gibson’s speech focused on how archives were used for his Oklahoma and New Mexico history research. The following year, the president of the Society of American Archivists, F. Gerald Ham, served as the keynote speaker.

    Caption: SSA Annual Meeting 1988 at the University of Texas at Arlington. From left to right: university benefactor Jenkins Garrett; Archivist of the United States Don W. Wilson; University of Texas at Arlington Director of Libraries Charles B. Lowry; university benefactor Virginia Garrett; SAA Executive Director Donn C. Neal. Wilson and Neal were the featured speakers. (SSA Archives)

    A few celebrity VIPs have attended the Annual Meetings, such as Lady Bird Johnson’s appearance at the Lyndon Johnson Library and Museum during the 1980 Austin meeting. Archives professionals joined the trend of invited speakers, such as the Archivist of the United States, Don W. Wilson, who discussed the National Archives’ future. Execute Director Donn Neal of the Society of American Archivists followed with a presentation about the future of the archival profession. The 2006 meeting invited L. Reynolds Cahoon, Senior Advisor on Electronic Records at the National Archives. His topic of discussion involved the challenges of email and electronic records preservation.

    Caption: Dr. Matthew Whitaker, 2012 (photo by Jennifer Green)

    Some keynote speakers discussed the impact of archival enterprise on regions part of SSA, such as SSA founding member Leon Metz speaking about the History of El Paso at the 1994 meeting. In 2006, historian and author David Dorado Romo presented “Exploring the Different Layers of Micro-History”, a speech about the use of archival resources to uncover El Paso and Juarez cultural history.

    The trend of speakers has shifted to include a wider range of diverse backgrounds and experiences. Donald Harington, writer of “Ozark Surrealist”, spoke about how archives impacted his writing career at the 2000 meeting in Fayetteville. Brenda Toineeta Pipestem, chair of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Board of Trustees, talked about repatriation at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City. In 2018, Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, a renowned scholar of Latina/o arts and culture, was invited to present at the San Antonio meeting.

    Caption: Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, 2018 (photo by Melissa Gonzales)

    Dr. Andrew Torget’s (University of North Texas) 2015 keynote made a strong impact when lighting struck the hotel the meeting was held at. Despite the venue’s loss of electricity that prevented his use of a digital presentation, a fitting example of a modern peril, Torget persevered with his speech on the “Promise and Perils of Digital Archives”.

    Caption: Michelle Light, 2019 (former), Director of Special Collections and Archives at the University of Nevada , Las Vegas (photo by SSA member)

  • 19 Nov 2021 9:25 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    Lilly Carrel, 50th Anniversary Ad Hoc Committee

    This is the second installment of a series of articles that commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Society of Southwest Archivists.

    What once began as a business meeting raffle during breakfast has transformed into the annual tradition known as SLOTTO. SLOTTO made its first mark in SSA’s history on May 20, 1993 with David Murrah hosting the raffle and raising $515 for the Herbert Scholarship.

    Caption: Charles Schultz, SSA President 1978-1980, with his “Bluebirds of Happiness” at SLOTTO in Fayetteville, AR, 2000. Photo: Shelly Kelly.

    The following year at SSA’s annual meeting in El Paso, Kim Allen Scott filled in as host, a role he would continue to undertake throughout the next decade. His weeks-long preparation served him well as he entertained attendees and helped drive up raffle ticket sales. Kim’s years in this role for the event would pay off in 2001 when he was presented the Distinguished Service Award. Since the beginning of SLOTTO in 1993 until 2001, up to $1,570 had been raised through the raffle.

    Caption: Long-time host, Kim Allen Scott, and Gerri Schaad at SLOTTO in Austin, TX, 1999. Photo: Shelly Kelly.

    SLOTTO’s tradition evolved as SSA leaders and members added prize runners, such as Mark Lambert who dressed up as Elvis Presley in 2002 to distribute winnings during the event. In the mid 2000s, John Slate, Robert Schaadt, and others took a turn at being hosts to introduce their own comedic talents to SLOTTO.

    Caption: LBJ bust, recurring SLOTTO prize, “The Louisiana Years.” January 2021. Photo: Mark E Martin.

    Caption: Buy SLOTTO Tickets! Bob Sloan, Tara Zachery Laver, and Cindy Smolovik. San Antonio, TX, 2004 SSA Annual Meeting. Photo: Shelly Kelly.

    In the following decade, Melissa Gonzales took on the emcee role, wearing costume concepts such as “Jock Jams” in 2015 and “I Dream of ‘Wonder Woman Genie’” in 2019. During this year, $2,700 was raised at SLOTTO.

    Caption: SLOTTO emcee, Melissa Gonzales, in “I Dream of ‘Wonder Woman’ Jeannie” costume, Tucson, AZ, 2019. Image courtesy of Melissa Gonzales.

    The year 2020 with COVID-19 brought some abrupt changes in the cancellation of SSA’s annual meeting and SLOTTO raffle. Both returned in 2021 as members adapted to the virtual world of remote meetings. Melissa committed to her hosting responsibilities for the fundraiser while wearing a crafted Moulin Rouge tiger costume, successfully bringing a comedic sense of normalcy and hope to attendees through the computer screen.

    SLOTTO returns to its roots in 2022 at SSA’s 50th anniversary annual meeting in Houston.

    Let Us Hear From You – Celebrate SSA’s 50th Anniversary

    What can you do to help? Send in your most memorable moments of SSA! Whether it took place this year, fifteen years ago, or fifty years ago, we want to know what memorable moments stand out when you think back over your SSA membership. Was there a particular session or workshop that changed the way you practiced Archives?

    Did something memorable happen at the annual meeting? How did you meet your best SSA friend? Whether it’s funny or sad, poignant or boring; we want to know your most memorable moments in SSA. Send memorable moments to John Slate

  • 06 Oct 2021 9:30 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    If you would like to serve, or know an ideal candidate, please submit your nominations for the following positions:

    Vice-President/President Elect (three year term-one as VP, one as President, and one as Immediate Past President)

    Executive Board (3 positions, two-year term)

    Nominating Committee (1 position, two-year term)

    Scholarship Committee (1 position, three-year term)

    Secretary (two-year term)

    The responsibilities of each position are outlined in the SSA Officer & Committee Procedures Manual.

    To submit a nomination or nominate yourself, please fill out this form: 2022 Nominations Form

    The deadline for submitted nominations is January 1, 2022.

    Remember, if you are a Certified Archivist, or are planning to become certified, participating in the leadership of a professional organization such as SSA will earn you recertification credit.

  • 10 Aug 2021 9:31 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    John Slate, Chair, 50th Anniversary Ad Hoc Committee

    This is the first installment of a series of articles that commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Society of Southwest Archivists.

    Let’s begin at the beginning! On May 5, 1972 thirty-five archivists, librarians, and historians met at the University of Texas at Arlington to form the Society. The group drafted a constitution and bylaws. According to Charles Schultz’ institutional history of SSA, attendees sought most of all to foster and promote cooperation within the archival profession as well as among the several professions interested in archives and manuscripts as creators, collectors, preservers, and users. Next they sought to provide opportunities for educational development, not only for archivists, but also for users of archives. They also wanted to advance what today would be called “best practices.”

    Caption: Clipping from the Arlington Daily News, Monday, May 8, 1972, courtesy of the SSA archives, Baylor University. “Historical Meeting – The first meeting of the Southwestern Archives Society was held recently at the University of Texas at Arlington. Among those in attendance were, left to right, Dr. Edwin A. Davis, Managing Editor of the “Louisiana Historian” at Louisiana State University; John M .Kinney, Director of the Texas State Archives; Samuel A. Sizer, Curator of Special Collections at the University of Arkansas; Robert L. Clark, Jr., Archivist for the State of Oklahoma, and Ivan D. Eyler, Regional Director of the National Archives and Records Service in Fort Worth.”

    The first roster of elected officers of the Society reads like a who’s who of the archives and history community of the Southwest. A. Otis Hebert, Jr., director of the Louisiana Department of Archives and Records was named president. Dr. Sandra Swickard Myres, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington, was elected vice president. C. George Younkin, chief of the branch archives at the National Archives and Records Center at Fort Worth, was elected secretary – treasurer.

    The first board was composed of a number of legendary heavy hitters in the archives community. Sister M. Claude Lane, archivist of the Catholic Archives of Texas, and Chester V. Kielman, university archivist of the University of Texas at Austin were elected to two-year terms on the executive board. Leon Metz, local historian, author, and archivist at the University of Texas at El Paso, and Bob Clark, state archivist of Oklahoma were elected to one-year terms. SSA sponsors and funds the Sister M. Claude Lane, O.P., Memorial Award, presented annually since1974 by the Society of American Archivists. It is the only SAA award sponsored by a regional organization. SSA has also sponsored and awarded the A. Otis Hebert, Jr. Continuing Education Scholarship since 1977. This led up to our first annual meeting, which was held at the University of Oklahoma in Norman on June 7th and 8th, 1973. At that first meeting, presentations and discussion revolved around copyright law, preservation and conservation, arrangement and description, reference topics, microfilming, and photographic collections preservation and access.

    Let Us Hear From You – Celebrate SSA’s 50th Anniversary

    What can you do to help? Send in your most memorable moments of SSA! Whether it took place this year, fifteen years ago, or fifty years ago, we want to know what memorable moments stand out when you think back over your SSA membership. Was there a particular session or workshop that changed the way you practiced Archives?

    Did something memorable happen at the annual meeting? How did you meet your best SSA friend? Whether it’s funny or sad, poignant or boring; we want to know your most memorable moments in SSA. Send memorable moments to John Slate

  • 23 Nov 2020 9:33 AM | Jaimi Parker (Administrator)

    On September 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order (13950) on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. The Executive Order (EO) seeks to “combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” and to end so-called “divisive concepts” such as “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” “intersectionality,” “systemic racism,” and “unconscious bias” covered in workplace trainings used by institutions receiving federal funding. The EO further establishes requirements aimed at “promoting unity in the Federal workforce,” by prohibiting messages in workplace trainings that imply “an individual, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

    The Society of Southwest Archivists (SSA) views this EO as a brazen effort to silence diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives in the workplaces of our membership. Libraries and archives should not deny the lived experience of Black/Brown, Indigenous, and other people of color, nor cast aside scholarship and research into the history of race relations in the United States in order to receive critical federal funding. The archival records held by repositories across the American Southwest are frequently accessed to provide evidence of the formation and spread of institutionalized racism. This EO requires SSA archivists to ignore this reality and silence the past, thereby calling into question the relevance of maintaining historical records.

    SSA is committed to the long-term work of dismantling structural racism through the continued processes of education, listening, and action. We cannot remain neutral regarding EO13950 and its toxic and ahistorical approach to our country’s past and the complexities of its culture. We are dedicated to an inclusive archival profession that respects our BIPOC colleagues and supports the care of diverse archival holdings. We oppose EO 13950 and its efforts to divide archival workplaces.

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