Tom Hyry named Florence Fearrington librarian of Houghton Library
By Beth Giudicessi, HCL Communications
June 5, 2014 – Vice President for the Harvard Library and Roy E. Larsen Librarian of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Sarah Thomas announced today that Tom Hyry will lead Houghton Library as Florence Fearrington librarian starting this September. Houghton Library is Harvard’s distinguished repository for rare books and manuscripts, including those of the Harvard Theatre Collection, the Woodberry Poetry Room and the collections of Samuel Johnson, Emily Dickinson, Theodore Roosevelt, T.S. Eliot, Henry James, James Joyce and others.
“Tom Hyry brings outstanding leadership qualities to Houghton, and he will also be a valuable contributor to the team of library managers in FAS and the Harvard Library. I look forward to working with him to increase access to Houghton’s extraordinary collections,” said Thomas.
Hyry currently serves as director of special collections at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Library, where he has worked since March 2010. At UCLA, Hyry led the integration of five formerly separate units into a single, library-wide special collections department of 40 staff members dedicated to acquiring, preserving and providing access to the University’s rare books, archives, manuscripts and historical materials. Hyry oversees the UCLA Library’s long-range and annual planning, fundraising, collection development and coordination of special collections services and programs with other library and campus groups.
Prior to his work at UCLA, Hyry spent 13 years at Yale University, where he was head of the manuscript unit at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and, in a separate position, was head of arrangement and description in the Manuscripts & Archives department.
Hyry has published articles and papers on born digital archives, archival backlog remediation, appraisal of faculty papers and the evolution of the finding aid. He has held numerous professional appointments that include serving as an elected member of the Council of the Society of American Archivists. He holds a master’s degree in library and information studies with a specialization in archives from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in history from Carleton College.
“The Houghton Library is an incredible institution,” said Hyry. “Its collections and staff make it a pre-eminent repository for rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other special collections and I am honored and very excited to become the next Florence Fearrington librarian. I look forward to working with my new colleagues at Houghton and Harvard to build and preserve the library’s remarkable collections and to connect them with a wide set of audiences in new and innovative ways.”
As Florence Fearrington Librarian, Hyry will lead Houghton’s collections, programs and operations and will sustain and expand the library’s ongoing efforts in acquisition, curatorship, service and outreach.
“I want to thank Rachel Howarth and Susan Pyzynski, who served spectacularly as co-acting librarians at Houghton during the search for our next Florence Fearrington Librarian,” added Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Collection Development Dan Hazen.
The Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library was endowed in 2000 by avid book collectors Florence Fearrington HRP ’61 and her husband James W. Needham. Fearrington is the former president and founder of the investment management firm Florence Fearrington Inc., which was sold to the United States Trust Company of New York in 1997.
The Houghton Library is part of the Harvard College Library of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Its collections focus on the study of Western civilization and comprise of materials relating to American, Continental and English history and literature, as well as special concentrations in printing, graphic arts and theatre. Houghton Library regularly exhibits highlights from its collections in its Edison and Newman Room and its Amy Lowell Room. Recent exhibits have included “The Natural History of Edward Lear,” “From Austen to Zola: Amy Lowell as a Collector,” “Charting the River of Doubt: The Roosevelt-Rondon South American Expedition, 1913-1914,” and “Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Celebrating the Tercentenary of the Composer's Birth.” Harvard’s collection of medieval scrolls is currently on display.
Houghton Library is open Monday through Saturday to all adult researchers.