About the National Archives

Trudy Huskamp Peterson, Acting Archivist of the United States (1993-1995)

refer to caption

Portrait of Trudy Huskamp Peterson, Acting Archivist of the United States, 1993-1995.

Trudy Huskamp Peterson was named Acting Archivist of the United States on March 25, 1993, following terms as Acting Assistant Archivist (1985–1987), and Assistant Archivist for the National Archives (1987–1993). She was the first woman to hold the position of Acting Archivist of the United States.

Peterson, who holds a B.S. from Iowa State University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, held many positions at the National Archives. She began in 1968 as a historian and archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa. She subsequently worked as an editor with the John F. Kennedy Oral History Project; a research assistant and archivist in the Office of Presidential Libraries; a member of the FBI Records Appraisal Task Force; Chief of both the Legislative and Natural Resources Branch and Machine-Readable Records Branch; and an archives specialist with the Archival Research and Evaluation Staff.

From 1990 to 1991 Peterson served as president of the Society of American Archivists, and from 1993 to 1995 as vice-president of the International Council on Archives.

During her tenure as Acting Archivist, Peterson led the agency through the completion and opening of the new National Archives at College Park, Maryland. She also helped to create and implement a new strategic plan aimed at increasing the efficiency of the agency and building stronger relationships between the agency and the public and government. She was responsible for 3,000 employees and a budget of nearly $250 million.

As Acting Archivist, she introduced the development of a nationwide computer network for the National Archives and was an advocate to improve international standards for descriptions of materials held in archives. Peterson retired from the National Archives in 1995 after accepting a position as director of the Open Society Archives at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.

Since leaving the National Archives, she has worked as an archivist for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and founded an archival consulting company in 2002. Through her company, Peterson has worked with several other departments in the United Nations, the governments of multiple countries, and internationally known organizations in an effort to improve their archival practices. She has worked extensively in the preservation of records of human rights and truth commissions, including publishing a book on the topic entitled Final Acts: A Guide to Preserving the Records of Truth Commissions (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005).

Read more about Peterson in the blog: Acting Archivist Trudy Huskamp Peterson.