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Processing Archivist, Massachusetts Historical Society (Boston)

The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) located in Boston, Massachusetts seeks a Processing Archivist.  This is a full-time (35 hours/week) position, Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm.  The MHS is an independent, scholarly research library founded in 1791 for the threefold purpose of collecting, preserving, and disseminating sources for the study of American history.  The MHS holds more than 3,700 manuscript collections dating from the 17th century to the present, as well as extensive collections of early American imprints, newspapers, maps, printed ephemera, photographs, engravings, and other research materials.

Duties: The Processing Archivist is responsible for processing collections of personal and family papers and institutional records, including arrangement, basic preservation, and description according to MHS standards; encoding of finding aids using Encoded Archival Description (EAD); creating MARC collection-level records for entry into OCLC and ABIGAIL, the Society’s online catalog; surveying and inventorying newly-accessioned manuscript collections both on- and offsite; preparing collections for offsite storage; and supervising student interns.  The MHS is currently in the process of adopting a digital preservation system; the successful candidate will also assist with the development and implementation of workflows for the appraisal, ingest, preservation, and processing of digital records.  The Processing Archivist may also assist with exhibit preparation, reference service, presentations for students and visitors, and moving of collections.  The successful candidate will be a member of the Collections Services Department and report directly to the Vice President for Collections.


An MLS from an ALA-accredited program in library science, with a concentration or significant coursework in archives management; a minimum of three years’ experience processing manuscript collections, including 18th and 19th century material; encoding finding aids using EAD and Oxygen (or other XML editing software); and MARC cataloging of manuscript collections in OCLC, Voyager, and/or other automated cataloging systems.  Advanced coursework in history or a related field; experience supervising student interns and implementing More Product Less Process (MPLP); and familiarity with digital records and preservation systems are preferred.  The ability to write clearly and succinctly, as well as a strong attention to detail, is essential.  The successful candidate must be self-motivated and able to work independently, as well as part of a team.  This position requires the ability to lift boxes weighing up to fifty pounds and to transport materials loaded onto wheeled carts.  Interviewees will be asked to complete a transcription test to demonstrate their ability to read cursive handwriting.

Full/Part Time

Full Time




The MHS offers a competitive benefits package and salary commensurate with experience

Closing Date

July 31, 2021

How to Apply

This position is available on or about September 15, 2021.  Applications must be received by July 31, 2021.  Send a cover letter, resume, example(s) of completed finding aids and/or writing samples, and the names of three references by email, to:

Brenda Lawson, Vice President for Collections

Massachusetts Historical Society

The Massachusetts Historical Society is an equal opportunity employer. We aim to be a diverse workforce that is representative, at all job levels, of the citizens we serve. Candidates of all backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to apply. We are committed to creating a work place free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, gender identity and expression, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, genetic information, disability, military or veteran status, or any other category protected by law (also known as membership in a "protected class"). 


2021-07-09 |  Quick link to this job