Robert H. Taylor Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

(Full-time)

The Morgan Library & Museum seeks an experienced and dynamic curator to lead its Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts (LHMS).  The Robert H. Taylor Curator and Department Head will report to Director Colin B. Bailey and oversee the Morgan’s notable collection of primarily handwritten documents spanning more than 500 years and including major collections on prominent literary figures such as Voltaire, Austen, Dickinson, Joyce, and Hemingway.  This extensive manuscript collection includes literary and historical documents, correspondence, personal papers, autographs, and other special-collections materials of prime importance in the Western cultural tradition, dating from the 15th century to the present.  Among the contemporary materials in the department are the business records of the Pierre Matisse Gallery and the Paris Review archive, which includes correspondence and interviews with authors such as Jack Kerouac, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and Anne Sexton.

The ideal candidate will have exceptional skill in three key areas: 1) developing creative and engaging exhibitions, publications, and programs that illuminate aspects of the collection and fulfill the educational mission of the Morgan; 2) managing, building and caring for an exceptional manuscript collection, one of the finest in the world; 3) communicating the excitement of this work and the importance of the Morgan to the public, potential donors, collectors, stakeholders, and the press. 

The LHMS Department Head will be an intellectual leader and an advocate for the study and appreciation of literary documents, a person who can speak to the relevance and significance of these artifacts in contemporary culture.  They will have specific knowledge of the professional skills of archivists and librarians and be able to prioritize and organize departmental tasks related to accessioning, cataloging and storage; manage access and support the work of outside researchers; oversee the care and preservation of the collection; and develop acquisitions strategies.  The LHMS Department Head must have excellent interpersonal skills and be able to establish and strengthen relationships with trustees, staff, the literary community, donors, scholars, researchers, the press, and lay audiences.  The department head presently oversees a staff of two curators and two project catalogers and is expected to work collaboratively across departments.  Candidates from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

 

Responsibilities: 

Specific duties include:

Exhibitions and Programming

  • Propose and organize original exhibitions that highlight the collection and tell stories that deepen engagement with the material in innovative ways.
  • Secure loans or exhibitions organized by other institutions that help bring attention to the Morgan’s mission and collections.
  • Develop public programs and events in collaboration with other Morgan staff and departments to promote awareness and understanding of the collection and to bring attention to historical and contemporary relevance of the collection’s holdings in diverse ways.
  • Develop publications and digital projects to accompany exhibitions and programs.

Collections Stewardship and Scholarly Access

  • Identify and implement strategic acquisitions of historical, modern, and contemporary material to strengthen the collection.
  • Oversee and prioritize stewardship activities related to the LHMS Department’s collection, including research, care, storage and conservation initiatives.
  • Oversee the archives of the Morgan family and record books of the Morgan financial firms.
  • Ensure the collection is properly cataloged and made accessible across all appropriate platforms.
  • Support the work of outside researchers.
  • Build and extend networks with other museums, libraries and collections.

External Relations

  • Cultivate and help secure patronage for the LHMS Department, in conjunction with the Director and the development staff.
  • Build networks with authors, artists, critics and historians to celebrate and bring wide-ranging and dynamic conversations about the importance of the literary collection and the Morgan’s mission to a range of Morgan activities.

 

Qualifications: 
  • Seven to ten years’ experience working with primary materials in an institution that holds rare books and literary manuscripts, including experience in exhibition and publication development as well as cataloging and processing.
  • Strong liberal-arts foundation, especially in Western European and American literature and history.
  • Superior writing and public-speaking skills.
  • Strong record of publication.
  • Ability to interpret literary and historical scholarship for the general public.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, researchers, students, and journalists.
  • Demonstrable experience working with donors and identifying funding sources.
  • An excellent track record of managing staff and a commitment to collaboration and teamwork.
  • Current knowledge of the auction and dealers’ market for literary and historical manuscripts.
  • Familiarity with the principles of the care and handling of rare books and manuscripts and of reference services.
  • Professional knowledge of cataloging standards and digitization of manuscript materials.
  • Graduate degree in relevant field and/or ALA-accredited Master’s degree in Library and Information Science desirable, PhD preferred.
  • Strong reading knowledge of French or other European language desirable.
  • Working knowledge of TMS software and/or Voyager desirable.

Personal Characteristics

  • A strong commitment to literature, history and the written word.
  • Energy and enthusiasm for outreach efforts that will foster interest in what the literary and historic collections of the Morgan can offer to both specialists and lay audiences.
  • Comfortable at and enjoys social interactions with members, donors, and collectors.
  • A goal-oriented and strategic administrator, able to manage multiple tasks simultaneously while meeting deadlines.
  • Interested in creating transformative experiences for both specialists and lay audiences based on historic artifacts and contemporary documents.
  • Brings initiative to the table, as well as flexibility and tact; a good team-player.

 

To apply: 

The deadline for applications has passed.

Nominations and confidential late inquiries may be sent to retained search firm: Marilyn Hoffman and Connie Rosemont, Museum Search & Reference, [email protected] through October 19, 2018. For how to apply, additional information and updates, visit: www.museum-search.com/open-searches/.


Opportunities of the Job and Location


This position offers the opportunity to join a prestigious, established museum with an extraordinary collection located in the heart of Manhattan.

The position presents the following opportunities and assets:

  • The chance to work at the Morgan with its world-renowned collections of drawings, literary and historical manuscripts, musical scores, medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, printed books, photography, and ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets.
  • A senior, endowed position at an accredited AAMD museum with significant resources – an annual budget in the range of $20 million and an endowment of over $200 million, with strong donor support.
  • A wide scope of curatorial activities, including curating exhibitions; organizing symposia and seminars, conducting research and publishing. 
  • The ability to seek out and recommend remarkable items for acquisition; and an acquisition budget to make possible purchases beyond gifts. 
  • The appeal of serving a large audience of over 200,000 local, national and international visitors annually, plus many more online, thereby impacting hundreds of thousands of lives.
  • A competitive salary and excellent benefits.
  • A beautiful campus of three landmarked buildings, with the interior of the historic library restored in 2010 and the expansion by architect Renzo Piano completed in 2006.
  • Access to an updated, in-house professional conservation facility for paper and books
  • To work under a Director who encourages ambitious initiatives for the Morgan, including its exhibitions and publications. 
  • A location in New York City at the center of the art, literary and performing arts world, with major museums, performing arts centers, dealers and auction houses nearby, as well as antique and antiquarian book fairs.
  • The presence of many literary figures and prominent authors who reside in New York. 
  • Multiple universities and colleges, including NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts, Columbia University, Bard, and CUNY provide constant intellectual offerings, lectures, panels, and culturally transformative projects that exemplify an international intellectual and literary destination. 
  • Outdoor recreational opportunities in the city for cycling, walking, beaches, ocean and river views, and many parks and trails.

The Morgan is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed (religion), color, sex (including gender expression), national origin, sexual orientation, military status, age, disability, marital status or domestic violence victim status.