Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Residency

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It’s satisfying to put the pieces of a puzzle together when we can, but it’s just as exciting to think of the undiscovered treasures that might be hiding in this collection. — Nadia Sophie Seiler

Nadia Seiler's passion for rare materials and for cataloging inspired all of us at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Residency ("Seiler Residency" for short) is a nine-month term-limited position for new library professionals made possible by the Nadia Sophie Seiler Memorial Fund and hosted at the Folger. We who worked closely with Nadia are pleased and honored to be able to help ensure that our beloved colleague's memory lives on. Seeing the spark of enthusiasm for rare materials ignite the mind of a new librarian is seeing Nadia's spirit in the next generation.

Position description

The Seiler Resident works hands-on with rare materials in the collection while being actively trained and mentored by Folger librarians. The focus is on rare materials cataloging, but the Seiler Resident also works directly with curators, researcher services, and other professionals in order to gain a thorough and practical understanding of rare materials librarianship. We hope that this person will be inspired to learn new things, discover true passions, and make meaningful contributions to scholars and as-yet-unknown audiences, within a rich and supportive environment.

The Seiler Resident is an integral part of the Folger staff, participating in departmental meetings, joining the Saturday Reading Room rotation (working at the Reading Room service desk on a Saturday approximately once every five or six weeks), attending talks, and contributing to the collegial environment on a professional level in order to gain genuine career-oriented experience.

Application procedure

Applicants are required to submit a cover letter and CV, and must have received a master's degree within the 18 months prior to application from a program accredited by the American Library Association. The application deadline for the 2018/19 Residency was July 15, 2018.

Potential projects

  • Developing and testing an updated manual for manuscripts cataloging at the Folger (continuing the work in progress begun by the 2017/18 Seiler Resident in collaboration with Deborah J. Leslie, and Drs. Erin Blake and Heather Wolfe).
  • Cataloging manuscripts from the 17th and 18th centuries at the item level
  • Taking Introduction to English Paleography, a week-long skills course taught by Dr. Heather Wolfe, the Folger’s Curator of Manuscripts, that will provide an intensive introduction to handwriting in early modern England, with a particular emphasis on the English secretary hand of the 16th- and 17th-centuries;
  • Curating a “pop-up” exhibition for staff, researchers, and visitors that will be documented in Folgerpedia
  • Assisting curators and conservators with mounting “Before Farm to Table” an exhibition on the culture of early modern foodways (in connection with a Mellon Initiative in Collaborative Research). Exhibition opens in January 2019, and is curated by Drs. Heather Wolfe and Amanda Herbert.
  • Creating a new Finding Aid for a specific manuscript collection, which will add a comprehensive overview of a unique Folger Library collection to our resources and will include progressively detailed descriptions of the collection’s component parts;
  • Continuing work on the Uncataloged Wings project, a special project to bring records into Hamnet, the Folger’s publicly available online catalog, of previously uncataloged Wing collection holdings (books published in England between 1641 and 1700). This is an ongoing project begun by the first Seiler Resident, Anna Loewenthal, and continued by the second Seiler Resident, Brittney Washington. As such, it forms a direct link between past and present Seiler residents

Key personnel

  • Erin Blake, Head of Collection Information Services, and future Senior Cataloger responsible for early modern art and manuscripts: Erin will serve as the Seiler Resident’s direct supervisor, and primary mentor on manuscript cataloging.
  • Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts
  • Caroline Duroselle-Melish, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Early Modern Books and Prints
  • Deborah J. Leslie, Senior Cataloger


Past talks

Time-table

  • May and June 2018: Solicit applications through library schools and their alumni networks, discussion lists, and social media, and in person at the RBMS Conference and the ALA Conference.
  • July 2018: Review proposals and select candidate.
  • October 2018: Resident joins the Folger staff for nine months
  • December 2018: Resident takes week-long paleography course at the Folger
  • February 2019: Resident meets with representatives of the Nadia Sophie Seiler Memorial Fund
  • April 2019: Based on the Resident's experience, and in consultation with the Resident and representatives of the Fund, prepare materials for the 2019/2020 Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Cataloging Residency
  • June 2019: Nadia Sophie Seiler Rare Materials Cataloging Resident attends the RBMS Conference.
  • June/July 2019: Residency culminates with the Resident's public talk on a topic relevant to the substantive experience gained during the residency