Seiler Curatorial Internship

Carol-Ann Mackey's picture
Summer Program
May 26, 2020 to August 14, 2020
Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies
Seiler Curatorial Internship at the American Antiquarian Society

The Seiler Curatorial Internship was established in memory of Nadia Sophie Seiler. Nadia’s passion for books and libraries began at an early age—when she was 4, she turned her room into a library and issued every member of her family library cards. Her love of words and language led her to Carleton College, where she wrote her senior thesis on the works of Joyce and Nabokov; her other passions included ancient Greek, French, and her cello. After college, Nadia worked in publishing in New York, then earned her MLIS at the University of Michigan, beginning work as a cataloger at the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2007. She was named Rare Materials Cataloger at the Folger in 2011 and, thanks to her language background and passion for puzzles, she became a leading paleographer of “secretary hand.” Working with some of the most complex manuscripts, ephemera, and oddities of the early modern era, Nadia contributed thousands of MARC records to the Folger database. Just before her death in 2014, she was promoted to Senior Cataloger. In Nadia’s memory, the Nadia Sophie Seiler Fund is dedicated to creating opportunities for early career librarians. You can read more at

About AAS
Founded in 1812, the American Antiquarian Society is a learned society that supports a preeminent national research library specializing in North American history, life, and culture through the year 1900. The library serves a world-wide community of scholars.

Internship stipend
o Stipend for 12 weeks: $8,400 to be paid in three installments, at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the internship.
o Additional travel allowance, to and from Worcester: $1,000.
o Additional allowance for conference attendance, travel, meals: $2,400.

Summer 2020 (approximately mid-May through mid-August 2020)

Worcester, Massachusetts

Housing provided
Yes, on campus

Internship description
This newly-created internship at AAS will allow the participant to work in the Society’s manuscript collection. The strengths of the Society’s manuscripts holdings (primarily pre-1900) are New England diaries, papers of New England families and businesses, and American book trades (printing, publishing, bookselling). The ideal candidate will have an interest or background in the history of the book and/or the material culture of manuscripts.

The Seiler Curatorial Intern will learn
o The care and handling of rare materials
o How libraries collect through purchase, donation, and opportunity
o How cataloging standards work and why they are used
o How to match resources to the readers who need them

In order to achieve these goals, the intern will work closely with the Curator of Manuscripts, sit in on collection development meetings, learn the process of how AAS chooses what to acquire, and assist in researching items that are available for sale. The intern will learn how to process and catalog manuscript collections related to the history of book trades and will promote and share collections they work with via AAS social media, blog posts, and with researchers in the library. By the end of the internship the Seiler Intern will have completed at least one finding aid and MARC record for a manuscript collection. The intern will be supervised by the Chief Curator.

The Seiler Curatorial Intern will have the opportunity and the support to attend a relevant conference with AAS colleagues, for example the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the American Library Association (Bloomington, Indiana, July 2020) or the Society of American Archivists conference (Chicago, August 2020).

The Seiler intern will have opportunities to engage with fellows, scholars, readers and staff in the reading room, through lunchtime colloquia, weekly staff talks, and summer seminars.

Internship qualifications
Candidates will either be enrolled in library school or in a graduate program in history or art history. Candidates will harbor a healthy curiosity about early American life, history and culture.

An ability to read cursive is required. Training in early handwriting (17th century) will be provided, if necessary.

The Seiler Intern will be part of a lively community of scholars, curators and librarians as well as a cohort of other summer staff in various departments at the Society. Brief conservation training will be conducted.

Language skills
Ability to read, understand, speak and write in Standard English; Ability to communicate effectively in English with individuals in person, over the telephone, and via the printed work

Work environment
Most duties are performed indoors in an office environment with artificial light and cool, thermostatically controlled temperatures. The noise level is low. Intern may be exposed to dust, mold, and/or other organic material or other irritants. Hazards are considered minor and controllable.

Physical demands
Duties require periods of standing, walking, sitting. Duties require occasional periods of climbing or balancing, pulling/pushing items including book trucks with materials, lifting/carrying items weighing up to approximately 30 lbs., reaching with arms and hands. Vision and hearing at or correctable to “normal ranges.” Other physical tasks include use of hands for basic grasping/manipulation, use of hands for fine manipulation, occasional reaching, stooping, bending, kneeling, crouching, keyboarding. Physical duties are subject to change. Must be able to transport oneself to work-related meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.

Applicants, as well as position incumbents, who become disabled as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act must be able to perform the essential job functions (as listed) either unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation to be determined by management on a case by case basis.

This is a paid internship for summer 2020 of $8400 for twelve weeks and includes on campus housing. Additional funding available for relocation to Worcester for the summer and conference attendence. Non- exempt full time, Generally 35 hour per week, 9am – 5pm Monday - Friday

To apply
Submit a letter of application, resume, and contact information for three (non related) references electronically to with “Seiler Intern 2020” in the subject line. The application deadline is March 1, 2020. The American Antiquarian Society is an equal opportunity employer in accordance with applicable federal and state laws​​​​​​​​​.


Contact Info: 

Carol-Ann Mackey,, Director of Human Resources

American Antiquarian Society


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