Curator of Western North American History
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)
May 31, 2022
Post date: March 1, 2022

Curator of Western North American History

Beinecke Library - Collections, Research, & Education


University Job Title

Western North American History Librarian

Bargaining Unit

None - Not included in the union (Yale Union Group)

Time Type

Full time

Duration Type


Compensation Grade


Compensation Grade Profile

Librarian (00)

Wage Ranges

Click here to see our Wage Ranges

Work Location

University Library System

Worksite Address

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Work Week

Standard (M-F equal number of hours per day)

Searchable Job Family


Total # of hours to be worked:


Position Focus:

The Yale Collection of Western Americana documents the histories and cultures of Indigenous North America as well as the multiple trans-national migrations that have repeatedly transformed the Trans-Mississippi West from northern Mexico to the Arctic Circle. The collection offers deep resources for the study of Native American languages and cultural expression from the 16th century to the present. It documents encounters between Indigenous communities and later settler-colonizers throughout the West. Renowned for its holdings about northern Mexico in the Spanish colonial and Mexican national eras and for its holdings about Russian-Alaska in the early 19th century, the collection documents 19th and 20th century migrations to the West from eastern North America, Asia, South America, and Europe as well as the religious, social, cultural, economic, and political histories of the West into the 21st century.

We seek a curator to create and implement a robust and agile strategy for developing, interpreting, and activating this collection area for multiple audiences. The curator’s responsibilities include: collection development, including identifying historic gaps and areas for strategic growth, and exploring non-custodial partnerships; helping faculty, students, and researchers make effective use of the collection in the reading room, the classroom, and online; collaborating with colleagues on identifying and setting priorities for cataloging, processing, conserving, and digitizing the collections; fostering organizational collegiality and inclusivity, and contributing to the successful fruition of library and departmental initiatives; interpreting the collections through exhibitions, programming, publications, and teaching; fostering collaborative relationships with the communities and individuals whose histories are documented in the collections, and other duties as assigned.

This position will be assigned a rank of Librarian 1 to Librarian 5. Librarian ranking information can be found at .

Application review will begin on March 21, and continue until the position is filled.

Essential Duties

1. Collection Development: collection development responsibilities encompass active research and selection of materials across a broad range of formats, including manuscripts, archives, visual materials, and digital media, as well as all formats of print materials from books to ephemera; dealer and donor relations, including establishing fair price and market value, understanding the total cost of acquisition, drafting deeds of gift and purchase agreements, and keeping abreast of evolving legal and ethical considerations for provenance, international export guidelines, intellectual property rights, privacy, and respectful stewardship of cultural heritage materials. The curator will be responsible for managing multiple endowed funds with a variety of foci and restrictions. 2. Support Teaching and Research: The curator will foster the use of the collection by Yale faculty, students, as well as local, national, and international researchers. The curator is expected to forge strong associations with Yale faculty to encourage the use of the collections in Yale-related teaching and research. The curator will also present materials to classes and to other groups who visit the library, collaborate with colleagues to respond to general reference and instruction requests, and participate in the library’s fellowship selection committee.3. Ongoing Collection Stewardship: The curator collaborates with colleagues in other units of the Library as well as with colleagues Yale’s cultural heritage institutions to ensure that the collections are discoverable, accurately and appropriately described, and well preserved.4. Activate and Interpret the Collections: The curator is responsible for interpreting the holdings of the collection for both the international scholarly community and the broader public. The curator will conceive and organize exhibitions; collaborate with faculty, students, and external scholars to organize conferences, symposia, and lectures; and write and edit various publications about the collection. The curator may be called upon to issue news releases, grant interviews, conduct tours, and make presentations. The curator is encouraged to publish works that broaden our understanding of the histories and cultures of the North American West.5. Collaboration and Collegiality: The curator is expected to function in a collegial fashion as part of a larger team of curators and librarians sustaining a broad program of collection development, scholarly and educational outreach, description, digitization, preservation, and research in the humanities. We seek a candidate who is a collaborator with the ability to foster organizational collegiality and impart empathy, humility, and a positive outlook in their work. The candidate should be thoughtful, approachable, positive, intellectually curious, and undeterred by obstacles while demonstrating personal warmth, generosity of spirit, and a good sense of humor. Demonstrated consensus-building and problem-solving skills, experience coordinating multiple projects, and the ability to bring projects to fruition are vital to the success of this position.6. Service to the Department, University, and Profession: In addition to activities relating directly to Yale Collection of Western Americana, the curator participates in library projects, committees, policy decisions and strategic planning and may be assigned special projects relating to the overall needs of the library. The curator is also expected to participate actively in professional associations, foundations, and government agencies as appropriate.

Required Education and Experience

A masters degree and course of study related to the history and culture of the North American West and a commitment to ongoing intellectual and professional growth beyond the area of initial specialization. Professional experience in a related field, including but not limited to higher education, museums, foundations, or libraries.

Required Skill/Ability 1:

The candidate should possess an understanding of the history and cultures of the Trans-Mississippi West from northern Mexico to the Arctic Circle and have an awareness of the multiple trans-national migrations that have transformed the North American West.

Required Skill/Ability 2:

Reading knowledge of at least one language beyond English and demonstrated cultural competencies in the histories and cultures of Indigenous North America.

Required Skill/Ability 3:

Superb analytical, creative, and communication skills in both writing and public speaking. This may be demonstrated through teaching, publications, exhibitions, public programming, or collaborative projects.

Required Skill/Ability 4:

Demonstrated track record of excellence in teaching. Exceptional classroom demeanor and a commitment to higher education and community outreach.

Required Skill/Ability 5:

Adept collaborator with ability to fostering organizational collegiality and impart empathy, humility, and a positive outlook in their work.

Preferred Education, Experience and Skills:

Ph.D. in a related field. Experience with donor relations; commercial market & book trade; awareness of legal and ethical issues in acquiring cultural heritage materials. Knowledge of archival theory, practice, technologies, and born digital material. Experience with collections in archives, library, museum, or related. Proficiency using library or museum discovery & documentation systems.

Drug Screen


Health Screening


Background Check Requirements

All candidates for employment will be subject to pre-employment background screening for this position, which may include motor vehicle, DOT certification, drug testing and credit checks based on the position description and job requirements. All offers are contingent upon the successful completion of the background check. Please visit for additional information on the background check requirements and process.

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement


Please note that the university has a COVID-19 vaccination requirement; visit for details. For up-to-date information visit the COVID-19 website

Posting Disclaimer

The intent of this job description is to provide a representative summary of the essential functions that will be required of the position and should not be construed as a declaration of specific duties and responsibilities of the particular position. Employees will be assigned specific job-related duties through their hiring departments.

Affirmative Action Statement:

Yale University considers applicants for employment without regard to, and does not discriminate on the basis of, an individual’s sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a veteran, or national or ethnic origin; nor does Yale discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from sex discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, at, or to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 8th Floor, Five Post Office Square, Boston MA 02109-3921. Telephone: 617.289.0111, Fax: 617.289.0150, TDD: 800.877.8339, or Email:


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Application Instructions 
Review Begins: 
March 21, 2022

Job, fellowship, and CFP listings are services that are offered by the American Studies Association to support its members in exploring professional opportunities in American studies. Any questions should be directed to the program, department, or center that has posted the opportunity.