Job Description

Processing Archivist (Presbyterian Historical Society)
Philadelphia, PA, United States of America


The Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS), organized in 1852 and located in Philadelphia, PA, is the oldest denominational archives in the United States and serves as the national archives for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessor denominations. PHS is part of the Office of the General Assembly, headquartered at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, KY. Together with Presbyterian Investment and Loan, Presbyterian Mission Agency, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, Presbyterian Women, and the Administrative Services Group, the national agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) serve and work with mid-councils, congregations, and partner organizations to carry forth the mission of Jesus Christ in the  World.

Purpose of the Position: Processes archival collections; assists with collection development including conducting oral histories; oversees preservation activities including environmental monitoring and contributes to disaster planning; contributes to PHS communications; and provides remote reference services.

Job Skills / Requirements


  1. Plans and executes processing of personal paper and records collections in analog and born-digital formats and creates finding aids.
  2. Works with donors and potential donors to bring in archival materials that meet collecting criteria; plans and conducts oral and video histories with living subjects to enhance specific collecting initiatives.
  3. Creates, enhances, and manages descriptive data for archival collections, including contributing to efforts to implement a reparative and inclusive approach to archival description.
  4. Oversees archival preservation activities including environmental monitoring and ordering and maintaining archival-quality supplies for storage of collection materials. Serves on Disaster Response Team and contributes to disaster planning.
  5. Occasionally supervises interns and/or volunteers on processing-related projects.
  6. Writes for PHS communications (blog posts, newsletter articles, etc.) on topics associated with processing projects.
  7. Assists with remote reference as assigned.
  8. Other duties as assigned by the supervisor or the Office of the General Assembly.


Education: ALA-accredited Masters in Library Science/Information Studies with an emphasis in archival administration; Masters in History with archival administration component; or Masters in Archival Management.


Skills, experience, and competencies: At least one year of full-time processing experience or part-time equivalent in an archives or special collections library. Knowledge of descriptive standards common to archives and libraries (DACS, LCSH/LCNAF, etc.) and comfort with using archival management systems or databases. Ability to communicate clearly, positively, and effectively both verbally and in writing. Ability to work in a consultative and collaborative style. Demonstrated commitment to value differences and the benefits to be derived from working with a broad range of people.  Ability to effectively manage interpersonal relationships. Fluency in English. Able to use current technology and equipment.

Sensory or Physical Requirements: Sight and hearing required. Ability to lift and shift thirty-pound boxes and ability to reach overhead, stoop, and climb stools and ladders to retrieve collection material. Ability to travel as scheduled. Ability to use the computer for extended periods of time. Ability to communicate via telephone and via Zoom and other computer technologies.

Desired Qualifications: Familiarity with born-digital processing procedures and standards. Knowledge of basic preservation and conservation issues as they relate to archival collections. Collection development, oral history, and/or reference experience in an archives or special collections library. Fluency in Spanish, Korean, or another language.

Additional Information / Benefits

We believe a balanced life, with time for work, leisure, and spiritual nurture, makes us healthier and more productive colleagues at the Presbyterian Center.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) offers a competitive benefits package for eligible employees including Medical, Dental, Pension Plan, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Flexible Spending accounts, 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan, Vacation Days, Sick Days, and Paid Holidays.

Presbyterian Church (USA) is committed to being not only an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer as defined by the U.S. government,
but with the inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation as well.

Candidates from Presbyterian communities in the global south and other historic Presbyterian Communities of Color,
preferably with theological training and fluency in languages other than English, are encouraged to apply.

This job reports to the Director of Programs and Services

This is a Full-Time position 1st Shift.

Number of Openings for this position: 1