Our 2021 Jeffe Fellow
July 12, 2021
By Jeanette Lazo, Jeffe Fellow
I have lived here in the Empire State my entire life. I graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in history in 2011, and I returned there in 2019 to complete my master’s degree in public history.
Throughout my time at St. John’s I learned the importance of the various aspects of the public history sector. Individuals such as archivists and preservationists are all part of a network that is not only safeguarding history, but also making it accessible to the general public. It is thanks to this network of individuals that I can continue to appreciate the rich preservation history of not just my home state but also the world at large. It is through the work of many unheralded individuals that the historical narratives of numerous places and people have been preserved.
I was fortunate enough to intern with the Queen’s County Clerk’s Office from 2019 through 2020, working with naturalization records dating back to the late 1700s. In working with these historically significant documents, I glimpsed the stories of countless individuals who made their way to the United States. However, in studying these documents, I found that many were in incredibly fragile condition, and I recognized how close this history was to being lost. It is why, with a grant from the National Archives, the Queen’s County Clerk’s Office ultimately embarked on a mission to digitize the records to make them accessible and to preserve their contents. I am happy that I was able to be a part of that process to save these records. This experience propelled me to further my studies, and I am currently a graduate student at Long Island University, enrolled in the Advanced Archives and Records Management program.
My role as the Jeffe Fellow allows me to research and participate in the dissemination of knowledge concerning historic preservation. By connecting with other professionals in the field I am learning about all the moving parts associated with the work of historic preservation and how the efforts of the past have contributed to contemporary approaches to preservation. It has also been very exciting to research and create in-depth content for NYPAP’s many publicfacing communication channels, another example of the innovative ways through which organizations such as NYPAP are connecting with the general public and making the story of historic preservation more visible.
I am incredibly grateful to Elizabeth and Robert Jeffe for granting me the opportunity to work with the Archive Project. I look forward to the experiences I will continue to share with the preservation community during my time at the Archive Project.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU – The Archive Project would like to express its profound thanks to Elizabeth Rohn Jeffe for her ten years of service as the editor of our newsletter. In addition to her editorial duties, Liz has produced a steady stream of feature articles and interviews. She has been absolutely essential to the success of this publication.