Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Archivist of the United States resigns

This afternoon, a couple of my colleagues received e-mails stating that Dr. Allen Weinstein had resigned, and now it's official:
Washington, DC…On December 7, historian Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, submitted his resignation to the President, effective December 19, 2008. Professor Weinstein, who has Parkinson’s disease, cited health reasons for his decision.

Deputy Archivist of the United States, Adrienne Thomas, will serve as Acting Archivist until a new Archivist is appointed, in accordance with the National Archives governing statute, 44 USC 2103(c).
The circumstances surrounding Dr. Weinstein's nomination engendered quite a bit of controversy, but he seemed to take his responsibilities very seriously and made a real effort to reach out to the archival community. Shortly before his confirmation (if memory serves me correctly), he visited the New York State Archives and met informally with staff for about an hour. He seemed genuinely interested in learning about what we were doing, and he was shocked to learn that none of his predecessors had ever paid us a visit.

It's sad to learn that Dr. Weinstein is leaving because of ill health, not the desire to return to academic research or simply ease into a quieter life, and I wish him all the best.

Given the timing of Dr. Weinstein's resignation, I suspect that the next Archivist of the United States will be an Obama appointee -- and that the archival profession as a whole will be avidly interested in the selection and nomination process.

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