Meet the Staff: Paige Newman
From answering phone inquiries to photographing new acquisitions, the staff at the VHS have a wide range of talents that help make our collections accessible to the world. Who are the talented men and women of the VHS? In a series of “Meet the Staff” blog posts, we will introduce you to the people who work behind the scenes to collect, preserve, and interpret Virginia history.
What is your job title?
Associate Archivist for Collections Processing
When did you begin working at the VHS?
I began working at the VHS in January 2003.
What are your job duties?
The short answer is that I help provide access to manuscripts at the VHS. A somewhat longer answer, though in no way complete, is that I arrange and describe manuscript collections, research, transcribe handwriting, answer reference questions related to manuscripts, and talk to the public about manuscript collections at the VHS.
How did you become interested in history?
In college, I was a history and classics major and really enjoyed learning about Roman and Greek history.
What is the favorite part of your job?
The favorite part of my job is diving into a collection, finding out what the collection is about, and figuring out how this information will be useful and interesting to patrons.
What has been your most memorable moment at the VHS?
I have more than one…helping process the Mary Custis Lee collection (you may listen to a podcast of Lee Shepard’s 2010 Banner Lecture about the Mary Custis Lee trunks online); meeting and working with Phyllis Galanti on the papers she donated and assisting with the exhibition, “Bring Paul Home: Phyllis Galanti and Vietnam War POWs” (the podcast of Phyllis and Paul Galanti’s 2009 Banner Lecture is available online); speaking to the public about Unknown No Longer; and most recently, tasting the persimmon beer brewed by Ardent Craft Ales from a historic recipe in the VHS collection.
What is your favorite item in your office? Why?
One item that always makes me smile is a photocopy of a postcard from our collection. It is titled “Greetings from Virginia” and includes drawings of Lee and Grant at Appomattox, George Washington, Natural Bridge, the seal of Virginia, and a giant cat.
What is your favorite collection piece at the VHS?
Again, it’s hard to pick a favorite! For now, the postcard mentioned in the above question.
What is your favorite historical period?
Whatever the period of the collection I’m currently working on. So, at the moment my favorite historical period is the seventeenth century though the twenty-first century.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies include reading, in depth research on beer and wine, socializing with friends and family, and enjoying sunshine.
If you did not work at the VHS, what would you be doing?
What?!? Not work at the VHS.