Star of the Week: M. Nathalie Wheaton, Librarian/Assistant Archivist, Rush University Medical Center Archives

by | Feb 10, 2012 | 0 comments

Born and lived:  Atlanta, GA; Chapel Hill, NC; Chicago, IL.

Early life:  I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, and majored in Anthropology at the University of Georgia at Athens.  After graduation, I worked at a cultural resources firm, New South Associates, in Stone Mountain, GA.  I analyzed and curated prehistoric and historic artifacts in the archaeology lab for four years and performed archaeological field surveys throughout the Southeast.  I worked in the graphics department preparing reports and graphic elements for a year.  I realized all of the tasks I enjoyed in these positions corresponded well to archives, particularly organizing and describing items, collections, and reports.  I decided to pursue a master’s degree in library science.

Professional career and activities:  I earned a Master of Science in Library Science degree from the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006.  While in graduate school, I was a research assistant at the Southern Historical Collection, part of the Manuscripts Department at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library.  I processed collections ranging from antebellum correspondence to the papers of modern Southern writers and wrote EAD finding aids.  I moved to Chicago, IL, and became assistant archivist at Rush University Medical Center Archives, a position I have held since 2006.  I serve as Web Moderator for the Chicago Area Medical Archivists and created and maintain the CAMA blog.

Family:  I married fellow archivist and SILS graduate Benn Joseph in 2007.  He is currently Manuscript Librarian at Northwestern University’s Special Collections and Archives.  We welcomed our first child, Sophie Carolina Joseph, in February 2010.

In my spare time:  I have been dancing and singing for many years and continue to perform every chance I get.

Favorite books:  I enjoy reading books on the history of anything, such as the alphabet, Alpha Beta by John Man, or chess, Master Pieces by Gareth Williams.

Pet peeves:  More and more people are using their cell phones to type professional emails, and, unfortunately, it often results in poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Philosophy:  My father taught me, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.”  You have to try, even if it means making mistakes.  Learning from mistakes is the only way you’ll end up accomplishing anything worthwhile.

Most memorable career achievement:  I very much enjoyed presenting “Getting There is Half the Fun: Implementing Big Changes in Small Archives” as part of a session titled “Where is Everyone? Staying Current with a Small Staff” at the Society of American Archivists annual conference in Austin, TX, 2009.

Goal I hope to achieve five years from now:  Become a master of light processing!

How/where do I see the industry in five years:  For many researchers, if archival material isn’t digitized and available online, it might as well not exist.  Archives will have to prioritize large-scale digitization of historic collections without sacrificing processing standards.


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