Dr. Blythe Roveland-Brenton is one of the newest members of the professional staff at the University Libraries, accepting the position of University Archivist in early 2000. Dr. Roveland-Brenton has held a variety of posts at the University since 1996, including adjunct professor for the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology and the University Core, where she has taught Discover New York courses with a focus on the archeology of New York City. She was also a graduate assistant in the University Archives while enrolled in the Division of Library and Information Science, and she continues to offer instruction in Archives and Manuscripts to DLIS students. Additionally, she co-taught a session in anthropological and sociological issues with her husband, St. John’s University professor Dr. Barrett Brenton, in the annual Acculturation Seminar for International Priests sponsered by the Vincentian Center for Church and Society.
Dr. Roveland-Brenton holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and German from Binghamton University, a master’s degree and doctorate in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a master’s degree in library science from St. John’s University. She has received many academic honors, including the Fulbright-Hays grant for graduate study abroad, the Javits Fellowship for graduate study, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research pre-doctoral grant and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst PhD research grant. Dr. Roveland-Brenton is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Beta Phi Mu (the Library and Information Studies honor society).
Dr. Roveland-Brenton’s area of expertise is in Archives and Special Collections with a concentration on preservation and digitization, making her aptly suited to serve as the guardian of the university’s most valuable historical documents; her additional subject specialties of Anthropology and Archeology (her particular area of expertise is European Paleolithic archaeology) create a winning combination for University Archivist. The focus of Dr. Roveland-Brenton’s research includes the history of archaeology, children in the archaeological record, and juvenile literature with prehistoric themes, making her a valuable resource for anyone “digging” for information on these topics. She regularly contributes articles to the Alumni Magazine on the historical topic relevant to St. John’s University, and has a forthcoming article in the Ethnographies of Archaeology entitled “Reflecting Upon Archaeological Practice: Multiple Visions of a German Late Palaeolithic Site.” Her other recent publications include “Footprints in the Clay: Upper Palaeolithic Children in Ritual and Secular Contexts” in Children and Material Culture (Routledge) and “Archaeological Approaches to the Study of Prehistoric Children: Past Trends and Future Directions” in Children and Anthropology: Perspectives for the 21st Century (Bergin & Garvey).
Students are welcomed and encouraged to use the resources in both the Special Collections and the University Archives, says Dr. Roveland-Brenton. She has helped to enhance the learning environment of the library by working with many of the university professors, including those in Theology, English, Fine Arts and History, to introduce their classes to the Archives and Special Collections. Freshmen, in particular, have made good use of the Archives, utilizing the materials to complete class assignments and projects such as those for their Discover New York classes. A number of student projects from DNY were on display in the library this spring, which, while encompassing both physical and virtual features, showcased the creativity and ingenuity of class participants. As the chair of the Queens Library Exhibits Committee, Dr. Roveland-Brenton has worked with colleagues within the library to enhance the learning opportunities in the library and incorporate library materials in library displays.