AHA Member Spotlight: Nathalie Belkin, Archivist

Matthew Keough | Aug 18, 2016

AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.

Nathalie Belkin is an archivist in the Department of Records at the New York City Municipal Archives. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has been a member since April 2016.

Belkin_PicAlma maters: BA, Brooklyn, CUNY, 2013; MLIS, Palmer School of Library and Information Science, LIU Post, 2015

Fields of interest: preservation and documentation of 19th- to early 20th-century New York City history, focusing on the poor and destitute; appraisal and accessioning in women’s archives and repositories; working women in New York City slums during the 19th to early 20th centuries; connecting scholars, researchers, students and academics with primary source material

When did you first develop an interest in history?
I honestly cannot remember a time that history did not intrigue me. As a child, I read history books for fun and always wanted to know more about everything, especially America and New York City.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am the project archivist for the Almshouse Ledger Collection, 1758–1952. I am cataloging these records and creating an item-level finding aid. This includes an in-depth historical note on the various departments in New York City that oversaw the almshouse and its related entities. These records include census data, admissions records, discharge records, death records, hospital ledgers, and food and medical supply records. The collection provides a valuable resource into the social, cultural, medical, and corrections history of New York City.

Have your interests evolved since graduation? If so, how?
How poverty, immigration, gender, and the growing role of local government in the 19th century influenced social, medical, and cultural decision making in New York City.

Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members? The NYCARCHIVES Instagram page.

What do you value most about the history profession?
Preserving and protecting the past to share with others. I often feel like we are anchored time-travelers!

Other than history, what are you passionate about?
Sharing with others random or unique finds I have made in the collections.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.


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