Helen Samuels, who has been head of the MIT Libraries' Archives and Special Collections Department for 19 years, is stepping down to become special assistant to the associate provost, Professor Phillip L. Clay, where she will pursue her research interests in information policy. Ms. Samuels, author of Varsity Letters: Documenting Modern Colleges and Universities (Scarecrow Press, 1992), was MIT's first professional archivist.
Margaret De Popolo, librarian at Rotch Library, will become head of the department. Ms. De Popolo's management experience in special collections includes both Rotch Visual Collections and the Rotch Limited Access Collection of rare books and manuscripts. Rotch Visual Collections has been a national leader in creating digitized images for intranet and Internet curriculum support, taking responsibility for administration, collections management, and integrating the Special Collections in various parts of the MIT Libraries.
The Institute also plans to hire an archivist to assume Ms. Samuels' research and records management duties, according to Ann Wolpert, director of the Libraries.
"Under Helen's leadership, the Archives and Special Collections Department and its staff achieved strength and prominence that is the envy of universities everywhere," Ms. Wolpert said. "Her many books, articles and invited papers speak directly to her contributions to the archival profession, and demonstrate a professional influence and an intellectual reach that extend well beyond the MIT campus. Helen will continue to contribute to MIT's intellectual strength in her new research role, and we have an individual of Margaret's great caliber willing and able to lead the exceptionally capable staff in the department."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 5, 1997.