Public History Career

For my interview, I interviewed a monographic specialist at UVA’s Alderman Library, Deborah Bruce. Prior to doing the interview, I had little to know idea of what a monograph was, let alone that you could specialize in it. A monograph comes from the Latin word meaning “writing on a single subject” and is a long form collection of original research. Ms. Bruce’s job is to help professors and students in organizing materials as well as the university press in publishing these, essentially, books.

Ms. Bruce graduated from Northeastern Univeristy with a Masters in English with a graduate certificate in Library Sciences which she supposes gave her the needed experience to do her job of editing, proofing, and research as well as managing aquisitions; however, school did not prepare her for the amount of administrative work she would have to do. Despite her playful detestation of tedious “busy work,” it is plain to see that she is absolutely in love with her job. She loves the intellectual challenge of having to deal with subjects ranging from contemporary poetry to 19th century Russian history to examination of politics. She also enjoys the opportunity to meet people passionate about their academic pursuits and learning from the work that they produce. Also, she has a great love of reading and being so close to such an impressive library has a lot of benefits, most notably, “being able to check out a first edition of T.S. Elliot’s poetry.” Out of all the things I had learned from this interview, the most surprising bit of information that I learned is that they have an original edition of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and a strong collection of Soviet Literature. As a fan of pretty much all Russian Literature, this was too exciting for words as Ms. Bruce was kind enough to show me and geek out about it with me.

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