Careers for Students of History
Greg BradsherDirector, Holocaust-Era Assets Records Project
National Archives and Records Administration
"I do not have any regrets about becoming an archivist rather than a professor, for I am very committed to deciding what records will be available for scholars in the future and making those records more accessible. But, teaching history is important and basing history on the documentary record is crucial. Without the historian and archivist working together both professions would suffer."
In the mid 1970s, as Greg Bradsher was beginning his dissertation research in American history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he and his colleagues realized the job market for college professorships was not good. They began looking for other career paths, and most of them found employment outside academia. Bradsher, who had an interest in archival records and research, and who did not particularly enjoy teaching, ended up at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
During the past twenty-three years Bradsher has found great enjoyment and fulfillment in his work as a government archivist. He has worked, in various capacities, with the records of government agencies: appraising records for their historical value, arranging and describing them, and providing reference on them. In the process he has had some interesting assignments. During the early 1980s he spent a year on a team project to determine which FBI case files should be kept indefinitely and which should be destroyed.
Since 1996 Bradsher has been the federal government’s archival
expert on records relating to Holocaust-era looted assets. In that
capacity he worked for two years with an interagency group headed
by then-Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat and now works on
an effort to declassify records relating to the Holocaust. He has
authored a 1,100-page guide to Holocaust-era assets records, represented
the United States in international conferences, given numerous speeches,
and written many articles.
- Return to Chapter 4: Historians in Archives
Last Updated: May 22, 2007