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Former National Archivist To Share Expertise at Fair

By Staff | Jul 13, 2010

A special guest will be teaching in the classroom at the country school house at the Palo Alto County Fairgrounds during the 2010 Palo Alto County Fair. 

On Friday, July 23, at 2:30 p.m., Dr. Trudy Huskamp Peterson will be sharing her expertise on preserving documents, her experiences as acting archivist at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and her present work helping other countries preserve their archives.

Peterson is a native of Palo Alto County, and she and her husband spend a month at her farm home each summer. The couple resides in Washington, D.C. the remainder of the year.

Peterson was born in Estherville in 1945. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Iowa State University and a master’s degree and a doctorate, both in U.S. History, from the University of Iowa.

Peterson has worked as an archivist since 1968. From 1968 to 1971 she worked at the National Archives, as historian and archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, editor of the John F. Kennedy Oral History Project, and research assistant at the Office of Presidential Libraries. She was back at the National Archives from 1974 to 1993, as archivist in the Office of Presidential Libraries, team leader for the FBI Records Appraisal Task Force, chief of the Legislative and Natural Resources Branch, chief of the Machine-Readable Records Branch, archives specialist, deputy assistant archivist, and acting assistant archivist. As acting assistant archivist for eight years, she was responsible for 600 employees in more than a dozen facilities nationwide with an annual budget of $25 to $30 million.

In 1993 Peterson was appointed acting archivist and deputy archivist of the United States. She was responsible for a budget of nearly $250 million and 3,000 employees in facilities nationwide. In this position, as in her position as acting archivist, she testified before Congress, made policy-setting public speeches, dealt with major media, and worked with a variety of boards. As acting archivist she also initiated the development of a nationwide computer network for the National Archives and served as a forceful advocate of international standards for the description of materials held in archives. Peterson also served, during that time, as commissioner of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on Missing in Action/Prisoners of War.

Trudy Huskamp Peterson retired from the U.S. National Archives in 1995 and accepted a position as the first executive director of the Open Society Archives at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Her previous international work includes consulting with the Centro Estudios de la Realidad Puertorriquena, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the International Council on Archives, and the United Nations.

An accomplished writer as well as archivist, Peterson is the author, co-author, or editor of four books and the author of nearly 20 scholarly articles. Peterson has been the recipient of many honors and awards, the most recent of which was the 1995 Order of Arts and Letters from the Republic of France. She also received the Hancher-Finkbine Medallion from the University of Iowa and the University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award, both in 1995. Her professional service, far too extensive to list here, includes holding the presidency of the International Conference of the Round Table on Archives.

(Information taken from encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/4755/Peterson-Trudy-Huskamp-1945.html).

Other activities at the Country School House

On Saturday, July 24, at 3 p.m., Lisa Trump, a Palo Alto County Naturalist Intern, will present a program called “Prairie History.”

Refreshments will be served at both events.

The country school house will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 22-25. All are invited to browse, complete an art activity, try writing with the old fashioned ink pen, and take part in a scavenger hunt. Prizes will be awarded each day. Parking is available close to the school house.