Dr. David B. Gracy II, the keynote speaker at SGA’s 40th Anniversary Celebration and Conference, has reflected on his long career and provided the following answers to our five little questions.
How did you become an archivist?
When I was first driving I had to find a way to pay for gasoline that would be more intellectually stimulating than carrying groceries. I loved history, had done historical research, and won awards for my history writing. Consequently, I wanted to find something in the history realm. Through a friend of my mother, I was introduced to the Texas state archivist who gave me a gofer job in the state archives in the summer of 1959. I enjoyed the work, and though I left archival enterprise twice during the next several years I was in university, I always came back to it and have worked uninterruptedly as an archivist since January, 1966.
What’s changed the most since you became an archivist?
So many things have changed that selecting the one greatest change is difficult to do. The advent of electronic records is the easy answer. In the talk I will give in a little over a month I will offer a few other changes that from my perspective represent very different but equally fundamental changes.
What’s stayed the same (for better or worse)?
This one is easy: the friendly, helpful, dedicated, congenial character of the men and women who choose archival enterprise as their profession.
Your career has many facets. Which one has been the most rewarding?
I simply cannot pick one. But ranked at the top has to be establishing the Southern Labor Archives at Georgia State University and having the opportunity to see how we could strengthen archival enterprise and Georgia through the Society of Georgia Archivists.
What advice do you have for new archivists or those interested in the profession?
Get involved with the work of their profession! You will be rewarded professionally and personally, and you can’t help but have a good time along the way.
For more information about Dr. Gracy, please check out his extensive and impressive CV, and make sure to join us in Savannah for the keynote!