This fall, the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education and the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library welcomed archivist Alec Kirkwood to the team. He will be working with the collections in the Oskar Schindler Archive and assisting students and outside scholars with research requests. Learn more about Alec and his role with the Rodgers Center and Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library in the interview below:
1. What is your name and title?
My name is Alec Kirkwood, and I am the Archivist for the Oskar Schindler Archive.
2. In what department of the Leatherby Libraries do you work?
My department is the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Library.
3. How long have you been at Chapman University?
I started at Chapman in late September 2022.
4. What is your job in a nutshell?
I am responsible for maintaining the physical and intellectual control of Holocaust and World War II related donations to the Oskar Schindler Archive. This includes accessioning, arranging, describing, and preserving materials. One of the exciting parts of my job is researching and discovering how the materials connect to the larger history of the Holocaust.
5. What are you most looking forward to in your new position?
To build on my last statement, I’m most looking forward to sharing the results of my discoveries, and what I’ve learned about the collections over the last few months. I hope I can facilitate a greater awareness on campus of the Archive and its diverse collection. It is remarkable that we have the largest research collection in the world on Oskar Schindler—and the Archive holds a variety of other materials as well.
6. Have you held any jobs at other universities or libraries?
Yes, most recently I completed an internship at the Claremont Heritage Archive. That was a great learning experience for me as I was able to work hands-on, learn procedures to facilitate use of their oral history collections and make suggestions about how the operations of the Archive could be improved.
7. What are your passions/interests outside of work?
My main interests outside of work are music and poetry. I’m an avid reader of poetry especially. I love going into used bookstores, looking through what’s there and finding a volume I didn’t know about before. My tastes in music and poetry are quite eclectic and I’m always open to recommendations.
8. Where did you get your degree?
I have a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of California, Davis and a Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
9. Where is your hometown?
Rancho Cucamonga, California.
10. What is the last book you read, or the last book you loved?
The last book I read was The Castle by Franz Kafka. I first read Kafka in a Comparative Literature course at UC Davis and have been reading and rereading him ever since.
11. Any fun facts about yourself?
I have never lived in Orange County before, so I am looking forward to getting better acquainted with its many resources, especially the libraries and museums. The Hilbert Museum of California Art, the Bowers Museum, and Orange County Museum of Art are at the top of my list. It’s really a terrific place to live and work—and I am so glad to be at Chapman University!