A new Archivist of the United States
It’s one of the most important titles in the American genealogical and historical world.
The title of Archivist of the United States.
Until yesterday, only 10 people had ever held the title:
• Robert D. W. Connor, 1934-1941
• Solon J. Buck, 1941-1948
• Wayne C. Grover, 1948-1965
• Robert Bahmer, 1965-1968
• James B. Rhoads, 1968-1979
• Robert M. Warner, 1980-1985
• Don W. Wilson, 1987-1993
• John W. Carlin, 1995-2005
• Allen Weinstein, 2005-2008
• David S. Ferriero, 2009-20221
Today, we can welcome Number 11: Dr. Colleen Shogan, nominated by President Biden in August 2022 and confirmed by the United States Senate yesterday.
Her biography is pretty impressive:
On August 3, 2022, President Joseph R. Biden nominated Dr. Colleen Shogan to be Archivist of the United States. The U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Shogan as the 11th Archivist of the United States on May 10,2023. Most recently, Dr. Shogan served as Senior Vice President and Director of the David M. Rubenstein Center at the White House Historical Association. She previously worked in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Dr. Shogan was the Vice Chair of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and the Chair of the Board of Directors at the Women’s Suffrage National Monument Foundation. She taught at Georgetown University in the Government Department and moderated seminars for the Aspen Institute. She is the previous President of the National Capital Area Political Science Association and served on the American Political Science Association (APSA) Council, the governing body of the organization. Her research focuses on the American presidency, presidential rhetoric, women in politics, and Congress.
A native of the Pittsburgh area, Dr. Shogan holds a BA in Political Science from Boston College and a Ph.D. in American Politics from Yale University, where she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Order of the Cross and Crown, and the Washington, D.C. Literary Society.2
So… what else might we want to know about Dr. Shogan?
Let’s look at some excerpts from her confirmation hearings in the Senate:
• She has a “passion for the American story.”
• She understands “the tremendous value of … access to trusted sources.”
• She recognizes that the National Archives “preserves the building blocks of our nation’s democracy … by enabling access to the government records which tell our national story in the words and images of the people who make history.”
• She’s fully aware of the challenges in the job: “to find creative ways to become more efficient, to capitalize upon public-private partnerships, and to engage previously underserved communities in meaningful ways.”
• She views working through the backlog of requests for veterans’ records as “the most important discrete problem” she will face.3
And maybe the most interesting single thing we might want to know about our new AOTUS?
She’s the author of eight murder mystery novels, featuring Washington congressional aide Kit Marshall.4
Welcome, Dr. Shogan.
Can’t wait to see how you tackle these issues.
Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Welcome to Number 11!,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 11 May 2023).
- See “Archivists of the United States 1934 – Present,” Archives.gov (https://www.archives.gov/ : accessed 11 May 2023). Yes, there are gaps in the timeline. There were Acting Archivists of the United States in between permanent appointees: James O’Neill, 1979-1980; Frank Burke, 1985-1987; Trudy Huskamp Peterson, 1993-1995; Adrienne Thomas, 2008-2009; and, most recently, Debra Steidel Wall, 2022-2023. ↩
- “Colleen Shogan Named 11th Archivist of the United States and First Woman to Lead the Agency,” National Archives Foundation, News Article posted 10 May 2023 (https://www.archivesfoundation.org/news/ : accessed 11 May 2023). Note that I take issue with the “first woman to lead the agency” part of the headline. She’s the first permanent agency head, but there have been women as interim heads. ↩
- Hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 21 September 2022, S. Hrg. 117-556 (Washington, DC: Government Publishing Office, 2022), PDF at 9-11 and 15-26. ↩
- Wikipedia (https://www.wikipedia.com), “Colleen Joy Shogan,” rev. 11 May 2023. ↩