Jennie Diaz Guilbaud
January 2006 will mark my 21st anniversary as a National Archives and Records Administration employee, following in the footsteps of my father who worked at the National Archives as an archives technician in the Motion Pictures Branch.
It was my father, through his stories and his love of the type of work that he was involved with at the National Archives that inspired me to pursue a position here as well.
While working towards my Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Anthropology, I was fortunate enough to receive a student co-op position as an archives aide at the Washington National Records Center. This position gave me an appreciation for how important the documents that the National Archives maintains truly are.
As an appraisal archivist, I teach Records Management courses and assist agencies in appraising their records for historical content and possible future research value. I find the idea of providing the public with the records that affect their lives to be extremely powerful and moving.
The one word that I would use to describe the National Archives to others would be "opportunity". Following my student co-op position, I was hired into an entry-level archivist training program which offered me training through rotational assignments, giving me a well-rounded perspective on the various programs of the National Archives. It was my introduction into the workings of the Federal government.
My first project as a lead archivist was in the Modern Military Field Branch on the Allied Control Commission (ACC) - Italy project. It was during the ACC-Italy project that I experienced one of my more memorable events as a National Archives employee. A 50-year old, unopened letter was discovered among the documents for this project. The letter was addressed to Allied Military Government officials from the mother of an Italian soldier. The mother was desperately searching for her son who she believed to be an Allied prisoner of war and needed help locating him. Until that day, her pleas were never heard or appreciated. The entire staff was awestruck and I was glad to have been able to share in that moment.
Access the Records of the Allied Control Commission