Julia Stringfellow leaves position as University Archivist

Bridget Donnelly

University Archivist and Reference Librarian Julia Stringfellow will be leaving Lawrence this June to begin a new position as an archivist at Boise State University in Idaho. Stringfellow was the first professionally trained archivist hired at Lawrence.
Since arriving in 2005, Stringfellow has widely expanded the role of the archives, continually emphasizing the importance of Lawrence’s history through projects, exhibits and presentations.
Stringfellow has served as a faculty representative for LUCC, written articles for The Lawrentian and Voyageur magazine and has led a number of tours. She also set up exhibits explaining the university’s history for members of the Lawrence and Appleton communities.
Director of the Seeley G. Mudd Library and Associate Professor Peter Gilbert explained, “Before Julia came to Lawrence, we never had a full-time archivist and she very quickly showed us what we had been missing. From her Lawrentian articles to her alumni oral history project to the archives blog, she has been a creative and energetic colleague.”
Sophomore Samantha Smith, who works as a student intern in the archives, described the immense task that Stringfellow has assumed during her time at Lawrence. “Nothing was organized in the archives, so Julia’s work… has just been about trying to use the small space that Lawrence has to organize everything that the Lawrence collection holds,” said Smith.
Smith also clarified Stringfellow’s role in terms of her involvement with the Appleton community outside Lawrence. Stringfellow has collaborated with the Appleton History Museum at the Castle and the Midwest Archives Conference as well as working on projects initiated by individuals not directly involved in the Lawrence community.
Smith expressed her concern that no replacement for Stringfellow has yet been hired. According to Gilbert, a search committee is currently being formed to find a successor, but the complicated process of the national search makes it likely that the archivist position may remain open into the beginning of next year.
“The state of our archives frightens me,” Smith noted, “because we. have a lot of work to do to make it up to date, and if we spend the entire year doing a national search, with no one running it, no one is going to know how to access it properly, and the value of what is there will be lowered for students and faculty [who wish] do research.”
Stringfellow noted a similar concern regarding the uncertainty of the archives’ future. However, she explained that “working with LUCC and working with students, alumni and others that care about preserving Lawrence’s history has been the part of my job that I loved, and I will miss doing those things.”
Reference Librarian Gretchen Revie spoke emphatically of her colleague’s work and dedication throughout Stringfellow’s time at Lawrence: “One of the things I was always most impressed by were her public presentations. They were some of the best I think I’ve ever seen anywhere by anyone. She was always incredibly prepared, and her delivery was skillful and engaging.