At Home in the Archives

June 1, 2002

 

Timothy Pyatt '81, who has directed the nationally known Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, returned to Duke as university archivist on March 1. He succeeds William E. King '61, A.M. '63, Ph.D. '70, the founding university archivist. King, who served thirty years, left the position at the end of 2001 and is completing a six-month sabbatical leave before fully retiring.

Pyatt was selected after a national search by a committee chaired by Judith Ruderman, vice provost for academic and administrative services. Ruderman says the committee looked for someone with a Duke connection who was also nationally respected in library circles.

Pyatt, who majored in history at Duke, received a master of library science degree from North Carolina Central University in 1986. He worked at the University of Oregon library and at several libraries in the University of Maryland college system before coming to UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995. At UNC's Wilson Library, he was assistant curator of manuscripts from 1995 until 1997, when he became curator of manuscripts. In 1999, he also took on the position of director of the Southern Historical Collection.

"I come from a line of Duke graduates--my father and brother have degrees from Duke and we both married Duke graduates," Pyatt says. "My great uncle went to Trinity College. My brother and father also received degrees from the Duke Divinity School and serve (served for my father) as Methodist ministers in the Western North Carolina Conference.

"When the position of university archivist became available, I saw this as a great opportunity for me to return to the institution I love to do the profession I love. My undergraduate education at Duke, which included working as a student assistant in the library's special collections, strengthened my love of history and introduced me to the value of archives."