Sara Davis, State Archivist at the Wyoming State Archives in Cheyenne, is the 2022 recipient of the Mark A. Greene Emerging Leader Award from the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award celebrates and encourages early-career archivists who have completed archival work of broad merit, demonstrated significant promise of leadership, and performed commendable service to the archives profession.
Since her initial position as an archives intern at the Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic Site to her current role at the Wyoming State Archives, Sara has been a strong advocate for archival collections, users, and colleagues. At the State Archives, she successfully applied for a National Historic Public Records Commission grant to support a traveling archivist program to build a network connecting the state’s numerous cultural institutions. She effectively uses her role as a spokesperson for “people’s history” for the state to preserve the voices of those not traditionally represented by the archives. For example, she established a community speakers’ bureau to communicate with members from underrepresented communities about the crucial role their records play in documenting Wyoming state history. With the institution’s recent acquisition of the Latin American Federation’s papers, these efforts are already bringing positive results.
Sara’s leadership is also evident in her previous work as a university archivist for the University of Wyoming at the American Heritage Center. Sara played an essential role in founding the institution’s Diversity Committee, as well as curating a digital and physical exhibit to commemorate Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming who was murdered in 1998. Within SAA, she has led continuing archival education efforts as an active member, vice chair, and then chair of the Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Education Subcommittee, where she reviews curriculum to ensure courses meet the needs of a growing number of archivists seeking to learn more about digital archives.
As her nominator writes, Sara’s “rapid growth from consultant to state archivist demonstrates her increasing responsibility, proven track record, and potential in the profession.” One former mentor writes that they “[look] to her as a guide and role model where we were once in opposite roles. I have watched Davis become an expert at whatever she takes on while leading with compassion and grace. She is clearly dedicated to and passionate about her work as an archivist.” A former supervisor adds that “Davis creates programs from scratch, sees projects successfully to completion, and ensures that every product is of high quality.”
Established in 2011 and renamed in 2017, the award honors the memory of SAA Fellow and Past President Mark A. Greene, the director of the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center from 2002 to 2015. He was Emeritus Director of the AHC at the time of his death in 2017.