The New York State Archives and Archives Partnership Trust awarded the 2017 Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of the State Archives award to Sarah F. Rose, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History and Director of the Disability Studies Minor at the University of Texas at Arlington. This award is presented to a researcher who has used the records of the State Archives in a creative and insightful way, and has contributed to a greater understanding of a topic and an increased awareness of the research value and availability of archival resources.
Professor Rose consulted material in the New York State Archives and elsewhere to glean nuance, texture, and depth to enhance the historical understanding of disability policies in the late 19th/early 20th centuries in the United States. Her new book, No Right to Be Idle: The Invention of Disability, 1840s-1930s, places New York State institutions for disabled individuals at the center of the confluence of public understanding and state policies. Dr. Rose’s research at the State Archives allowed her to study the records of institutions with such unforgiving names as New York State Asylum for Idiots at Syracuse, the Custodial Asylum for Feeble-Minded Women at Newark, and the Rome State Custodial Asylum for Unteachable Idiots. Dr. Rose’s research was supported by a Hackman Research Residency funded by the Archives Partnership Trust in 2009.
These state records are not, as those names might suggest, dreary stories of unrelenting state control over human lives. Instead, Dr. Rose reveals a remarkably balanced account of good intentions sometimes realized, sometimes not. She describes the complex managerial challenges of navigating shifting political, social, and economic currents. Professor Rose shares accounts of inmates of the state schools – while keeping their anonymity – to relay how they made meaningful lives for themselves, including through employment. No Right to Be Idle is illustrated with remarkable images, including examples of portraits of inmates from the 1850s, the earliest photographs in the New York State Archives.
“We’re proud to present the Archives Awards to recognize and celebrate individuals, organizations, and students who have done exceptional work in preserving and promoting New York’s history,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “We congratulate all the winners on their achievements and urge them to continue maintaining and researching historical records that document our heritage.”
“The Annual Archives Awards is an opportunity to acknowledge the excellent work that organizations and individuals do every day to maintain and preserve historical records,” said Regent Roger Tilles. “We’re also honored to acknowledge the exceptional work students across the state have done to incorporate archival records in their research and bring New York State’s history to life. Congratulations to all the winners."
“The Board of Regents and I congratulate the winners of the 2017 Archives Awards,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “We’re proud to honor exemplary maintenance and use of archival records so our history is preserved for future generations. We applaud the student winners for their outstanding use of historical records in their research and encourage them to continue to explore New York’s rich history at archives, libraries and cultural institutions across the state.”
“The State Archives presents these awards annually to celebrate the significant role archives perform and to honor the archivists, researchers, educators and students who are analyzing and sharing information contained in New York’s historical records,” said State Archivist Thomas Ruller.
The annual Archives Awards program takes place every October, during American Archives Month, and recognizes outstanding efforts in archives and records management work in New York State by a broad range of individuals and organizations.
A complete list of this year’s award winners follows:
* Cheryl Steinbach Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Local Government Records Management:
Town of Livonia
* William H. Kelly Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Local Government Archival Program Development:
Warren County Records Storage Center and Archives
* Annual Archives Award for Excellence in State Agency Records Management Program Development:
NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
* Annual Archives Award for Program Excellence in a Historical Records Repository:
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
* Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of the State Archives:
Sarah F. Rose, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Disability Studies Minor, University of Texas at Arlington
* Lifetime Achievement Award for the Protection of Archives or Cultural Collections in New York State:
Richard Lord, Chief of Mitigation Programs and State Hazard Mitigation Officer, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
* Annual Archives Award for Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 9-12:
The following students from Tamarac High School, Brunswick Central School District:
o Sara Kuken
o Ryan Hayden
o Nate LaPlante
o Elizabeth Machnick
o Kaylan Comache
o Katherine Champagne
o Lillah Jacobson-Schultz
o Sophia Baldwin
o Anthony Styles
o Lexis Carista
o Shannon Walsh
o Hunter Yearsley
o Renna Poulin
Teachers: Michelle Furlong, Steve Pomposello and Mark Spitzer
* Annual Archives Award for Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 6-8:
The following student from The Wheatley School, East Williston Union Free School District:
o Manav Bansal
Teacher: JoBeth Roberts
* Annual Archives Award for Student Research Using Historical Records, Grades 4 & 5:
The following students from Drexel Avenue Elementary School, Westbury Union Free School District:
o Ryan Alvarez
o Alexander Munguia
Teacher: Patricia Matarazzo