National Historical Publications & Records Commission

New Commissioner Biographies


Peter Gottlieb served as president of the Society of American Archivists in 2009-10. For nearly 20 years, he was the Wisconsin state archivist (Wisconsin Historical Society). His other professional activities included serving on the SAA Council and on the Council for the Midwest Archives Conference, chairing the Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board, the Wisconsin Public Records Board, and the steering committee of the Council of State Archivists. Gottlieb is an emeritus professor in the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and was head, Historical Collections and Labor Archives at Penn State University, 1983-1990 and Associate Curator, West Virginia Collection, West Virginia University Library, 1977-1983. Among his publications are Partnerships for Preserving Wisconsin History (with Helmut Knies) (Madison: Wisconsin Historical Records Advisory Board, 1996); "Wisconsin's Electronic Records Work, 1979-1993: A Once and Future Program" in Electronic Records Management Program Strategies, Margaret Hedstrom, ed. (Archives and Museum Informatics, 1993); and Making Their Own Way: Southern Blacks' Migration to Pittsburgh, 1916-1930 (University of Illinois Press, 1987).


George Miles has been, since 1981, the William Robertson Coe Curator of the Yale Collection of Western Americana at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, serving two terms as Acting Director of this premier source for investigations in the history and culture of the American West.

Miles is a member of the executive committee of the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders at Yale University and of the editorial board of the Lamar Series in Western History for the Yale University Press. He has consulted for the American Antiquarian Society, the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming, and the Western History Department of the Denver Public Library. Miles served on the advisory committee for "Lewis and Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition." In 2008 he received the Western History Association Life Membership Award for meritorious service.

Miles has taught numerous seminars at Yale as well as classes in rare books and American historical bibliography at Columbia University and the University of Virginia. Mr. Miles co-edited Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America's Western Past, and authored James Swan: Cha-tic of the Northwest Coast and Go West and Grow up with the Country, and co-authored Creating America and America Pictured to the Life.


Nicole Saylor was named the Head of the American Folklife Center Archive at the Library of Congress in November 2012. Before joining the Library, Saylor served as head of Digital Research and Publishing at the University of Iowa Libraries. She joined the University of Iowa Libraries in 2007. Saylor holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Iowa State University (1992) and a master's degree in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2004) with a certificate in folklore. Her previous library positions include archivist-librarian at the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures (CSUMC) at UW-Madison and reference librarian at the Davenport (Iowa) Public Library. At CSUMC, she coordinated a project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to survey ethnographic collections in archives, public agencies and private hands throughout the Midwest.

For a decade prior to becoming a librarian, Saylor worked as an editor at the Kansas City Star and Wisconsin State Journal newspapers. She was a core team member of the National Folklore Archives Initiative Project, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the survey concerning the scholarly use of digital collections conducted by Project Bamboo.


William G. Thomas, III teaches U.S. history and specializes in Civil War, the U.S. South, Slavery, and in Digital History. He is currently the Chair of the Department of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has served as the John and Catherine Angle Professor in the Humanities at Nebraska since 2005. He earned his B.A. in History at Trinity College in Connecticut and his M.A. and Ph.D. in History at the University of Virginia.

Thomas served as the founding Director of the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia. He is a Co-Editor of The Valley of the Shadow project at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at U.Va. The Civil War Institute awarded him a Lincoln Prize Laureate in 2001 along with Edward L. Ayers and Anne S. Rubin, and the American Historical Association awarded them the James Harvey Robinson Prize in recognition of the project as an outstanding contribution to the teaching of history. Thomas was a Mead Honored Faculty at the University of Virginia in 2004-05.

At the University of Nebraska, he has been the recipient of several fellowships and grants, including a Digital Innovation Fellowship in 2008 from the American Council of Learned Societies. He is the author of The Iron Way: Railroads, The Civil War, and the Making of Modern America (Yale University Press, 2011) and a digital project on "Railroads and the Making of Modern America," a web-delivered set of sources on railroads, technologies, culture, and social change. With Douglas Seefledt, Thomas leads The Digital History project at UNL.