Biographies

Trevor Alvord

Trevor Alvord has been the curator of 21st Century Latter Day Saint Movements and Western Americana at the L. Tom Perry Special Collections since 2012. He is responsible for building the BYU web archive and collecting modern imprints, art, and media, to document Latter Day Saint historical and cultural expression. Before BYU, he served as a Processing Archivist at Utah State University and as Head of Special Collections at James Madison University. Trevor received undergraduate degrees from USU in History and Religious Studies in 2007 and his MLIS from San Jose State University in 2009.

Peter Blodgett

A New Englander by birth and upbringing, Peter Blodgett received his bachelor’s degree in American history from Bowdoin College and his doctorate from Yale University. Since joining the Huntington Library in 1985, he has been responsible for the library’s voluminous collections concerning the history of the North American West since 1800. His most recent projects include Geographies of Wonder, two consecutive exhibitions commemorating America’s national parks, May 2016 to February 2017 and an edited volume, Motoring West: Volume 1 Automobile Pioneers, 1900-1909 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2015).

Gordon Daines

J. Gordon Daines III is the curator of Research and Instruction Services and the curator of the Yellowstone Collection in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University. He holds an undergraduate degree in History from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, a certificate in archives and records management from Western Washington University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Brigham Young University. His research interests include western exploration, the development of primary source literacy skills, the history of the archival profession in Utah, managing with digital records, and business process management as applied to archives.

Tim Davis

Tim Davis is the Asian Studies Librarian at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  He received his PhD in Chinese history from Columbia University, his Master of Library & Information Science degree from San José State University, and his bachelor’s degree in Chinese literature from BYU. He manages the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean materials (and resources in English regarding Asian Studies) for the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU. His research interests center on the social, cultural, and literary history of Medieval China with particular emphasis on the relationship between the commemoration of the dead and the construction of family identity. He enjoys visiting national parks with his wife and their two teenage children.

Louisa Eastley

Louisa Eastley is an undergraduate honors student graduating in English and History. The emphasis of her study has been on book history and medieval literature and history. She has been an employee in the HBLL’s conservation and book repair labs since 2019 and intends to pursue a master’s degree in Rare Book Conservation after graduation. She enjoys reading, bookbinding, historical costuming, and rock climbing.

Anne Foster

Anne L. Foster has served as the Archivist for Yellowstone National Park since 2010. Previously, she was the University Archivist for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Traveling Archivist for the Montana Historical Society, and was a National Historical Publications and Records Commission Fellow in Archival Administration at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. She has published on the topic of More Product, Less Process (MPLP) theory in the journal Archival Issues and co-authored an article on archival mentoring programs in the American Archivist. She holds a Masters of Library Science (MLS) with an archives concentration from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in history from Montana State University. She is a Certified Archivist (CA) and holds certificates in Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) and Federal Records Management.

Tamsen Hert

Tamsen Hert, recently retired, was with the University of Wyoming Libraries since 1986 and most recently held the position of Special Collections Librarian in the Emmett D. Chisum Special Collections. She holds a Master’s degree in Library Science and an MA in History from Emporia State University. Author of several Yellowstone focused articles, her work has appeared in the Annals of Wyoming, Yellowstone Science, and the Yellowstone History Journal. She contributed the chapter “Rustic Roosevelt Lodge: Essence of the Old West,” to the forthcoming (2023) book, Yellowstone’s Cultural Landscape: The Evolution of America’s First National Park.

Robert Maxwell

Robert L. Maxwell is a regular presenter at the A. Dean Larsen Book Collecting Conference. He is one of the Library’s rare materials catalogers and is curator of the Orson Scott Card Collection. He holds a PhD in Classics from University of Toronto, and a JD, an MA, and an MLS from Brigham Young University. He also received his BA from BYU in French and Latin.

Chris McAfee

Chris received a BFA in printmaking in 1993 from Brigham Young University where he began learning to bind books. He went on in 1995 to receive an MFA in bookbinding from the University of Alabama where he began learning book conservation. He has spent the last 20 years conserving and preserving books, documents, photographs, and other artifacts. He currently works for the L. Tom Perry Special Collections as Head Conservator.

George Miles

George Miles recently retired from Yale University. He was the William Robertson Coe Curator of the Yale Collection of Western Americana from 1981 to 2022. He co-edited Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Past (1992) and Eye on the West: Photography and the Contemporary West (2018). His other publications include Creating America (1992) and James Swan: Cha-tic of the Northwest Coast (2003), and Mormon Stories: A Librarian’s Perspective,” Journal of Mormon History 38 (Spring 2012), reprinted in From the Outside Looking In: Essays on Mormon History, Theology, and Culture (2016).

John Murphy

John Murphy is Curator for 20th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. He has a BA in History from Brigham Young University, a MSLIS degree from Simmons College, and an MA in Comparative History from Brandeis University. John worked as a Special Collections Librarian at the University of Arizona and began his career at BYU in 2002. His research interests include documentary editing, the international history of the LDS Church, and the history of Mormon popular culture. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and traveling with his family.

Greg Seppi

Greg Seppi is Curator of 19th and 20th Century Americana Collection, in the department of Special Collections. Before coming to BYU, Greg Seppi worked as the rare book acquisitions specialist at the Church History Library. He earned an MA in the History of Medicine from Oxford Brookes University in 2011 and is working on a Master of Library Science. He also holds a BA in History from Brigham Young University (2010). His research interests include the history of LDS publishing and printing (especially ephemera), contemporary LDS culture, and the history of eugenics.

Dainan Skeem

Dainan Skeem is the curator of 21st Century Manuscripts at Brigham Young University’s L. Tom Perry Special Collections with responsibilities for preserving this century’s documentary history of the people and culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah, and the West. Upon completion of his MLISc from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, he worked as an archivist at the Hawaii State Archives and then as the manuscript archivist at the University of Hawaii’s Archives & Manuscript Department. While working at UH, he also taught Introduction to Archives Management as an adjunct professor for the Library & Information Sciences Department. Dainan is a certified archivist with the Academy of Certified Archivists and obtained the Digital Archives Specialist certificate with the Society of American Archivists.

Judy Sommerfeldt

Judy Sommerfeldt is a graduate of Brigham Young University majoring in English and minoring in French. She taught secondary education after earning her bachelor’s degree. Books have always been an important part of her life but it was in a calligraphy workshop nearly three decades ago that she was introduced to the beauty and joy of handmade books.  In the intervening years she has studied the art and craft of hand bookbinding under many well-known book binders and book artists. She currently teaches bookbinding at BYU and loves sharing with her students the skills and joy of making books. Judy is married to Vern Sommerfeldt. They are the parents of six children and grandparents of thirty-one.

Rachel Vagts

Rachel Vagts is the Manager of Special Collections and Digital Archives at the Denver Public Library in Denver, Colorado. She was the 75th President of the Society of American Archivists from 2020–2021, is a Distinguished Fellow of the Society and served as director of the Archives Leadership Institute from 2013-2018. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies (now iSchool) she previously held positions at the Wisconsin Historical Society, University of Maryland, Luther College and Berea College.