28th Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Distinguished Program
Living History: Documenting 2020-2021

Panelist Biographies


James Grossman

James Grossman, Executive Director

Executive Director of the American Historical Association.

James Grossman was previously Vice President for Research and Education at the Newberry Library, and has taught at University of Chicago and University of California, San Diego.   The author of Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration and A Chance to Make Good: African-Americans, 1900-1929, Grossman was project director and coeditor of the print and digital Encyclopedia of Chicago and is editor emeritus of the series “Historical Studies of Urban America.” which he abandoned to his colleagues after 50 volumes. His articles and short essays have focused on various aspects of American urban history, African American history, ethnicity, higher education, and the place of history in public culture.  Short pieces have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Time, New York Daily News, Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, and elsewhere.

Land of Hope received awards from the Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights and the Illinois State Historical Society.  A Chance to Make Good won awards from New York Public Library and the National Council for the Social Studies. Grossman was chosen in 2005 as one of seven “Chicagoans of the Year” by Chicago Magazine. Grossman’s consulting experience includes history-related projects generated by the BBC, Smithsonian, and various theater companies, film makers, museums, libraries, and foundations. Currently President of the National Humanities Alliance, he has served on the governing boards of the American Council of Learned Societies, Association of American Colleges and Universities, and Center for Research Libraries.


Lonnie G. Bunch

Lonnie G. Bunch, III

Secretary of the Smithsonian

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian. He assumed his position June 16, 2019. As Secretary, he oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers.

Previously, Bunch was the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. When he started as director in July 2005, he had one staff member, no collections, no funding and no site for a museum. Driven by optimism, determination and a commitment to build “a place that would make America better,” Bunch transformed a vision into a bold reality. The museum has welcomed more than 6 million visitors since it opened in September 2016 and compiled a collection of 40,000 objects that are housed in the first “green building” on the National Mall.

Before his appointment as director of the museum, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001–2005). There, he led a successful capital campaign to transform the Historical Society in celebration of its 150th anniversary, managed an institutional reorganization, initiated an unprecedented outreach initiative to diverse communities and launched a much-lauded exhibition and program on teenage life titled “Teen Chicago.”  In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals of the 20th century by the American Association of Museums.

A widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the black military experience, the American presidency and all-black towns in the American West to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. His most recent book, A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump, which chronicles the making of the museum that would become one of the most popular destinations in Washington.

Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2010. In 2019, he was awarded the Freedom Medal, one of the Four Freedom Awards from the Roosevelt Institute, for his contribution to American culture as a historian and storyteller; the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from the Hutchins Center at Harvard University; and the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund. In 2021, the Society of American Historians awarded Bunch the Tony Horwitz Prize honoring distinguished work in American history of wide appeal and enduring public significance.

Bunch received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the American University in Washington, D.C.

Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress

Carla Hayden

Librarian of Congress

Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016. Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library, was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13.

Prior to her latest post she served, since 1993, as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Hayden was nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board in January 2010  and was confirmed to that post by the Senate in June 2010. Prior to joining the Pratt Library, Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993. She was an assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1991. Hayden was library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago from 1982 to 1987. She began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the young adult services coordinator from 1979 to 1982 and as a library associate and children’s librarian from 1973 to 1979.

Hayden was president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling. Hayden received a B.A. from Roosevelt University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.

Patricia Hswe, Program Officer, Public Knowledge, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Patricia Hswe

Program Officer for Public Knowledge at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundations

Patricia Hswe is the program officer for Public Knowledge at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which she joined in August 2016.  In this role she works on a range of grants and initiatives supporting libraries, archives, museums, universities, presses, and other institutions that further the world’s collective knowledge of the humanities.  Previously, Hswe was digital content strategist and co-department head of Publishing and Curation Services at Penn State University Libraries (2010–2016) and, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, program manager (2008–2009) for several digital preservation projects funded by the Library of Congress.  She began working in academic libraries as a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) postdoctoral fellow, also at the University of Illinois, in 2004, the year that CLIR launched the program.  Hswe has also served as an in-house editor (2001–2003) for Bruccoli Clark Layman, publisher of reference works in literary and social history, and has taught in the Russian department at Amherst College (1990–1994).

Originally a Russian literature scholar, Hswe received a PhD from Yale University in Slavic languages and literatures.  She also holds an AB in Russian language and literature from Mount Holyoke College and an MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois.  She is active in a variety of professional associations, including the Modern Language Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Trudy Huskamp Peterson

Trudy Huskamp Peterson

Professional Archivist and Former Acting Archivist of the United States (1993-1995)

Born in Iowa, United States of America, Trudy Huskamp Peterson is an archival consultant and certified archivist. She holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Iowa. She spent twenty-four years with the U.S. National Archives, including more than two years as Acting Archivist of the United States, the first woman to hold this position. After retiring from the U.S. government, she was the founding Executive Director of the Open Society Archives in Budapest, Hungary, and then the director of Archives and Records Management for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She is a past president of the International Conference of the Round Table on Archives (1993-1995) and the Society of American Archivists (1990-1991) and chaired the International Council on Archives’ Human Rights Working Group and the ICA working group on a standard for access to archives. She consulted with the truth commissions in South Africa and Honduras, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Nuclear Claims Tribunal of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and worked for over three years with the police archives in Guatemala, training the staff in archival processes. Among her many publications are Final Acts:  A Guide to Preserving the Records of Truth Commissions, a study of the records of twenty truth commissions; Temporary Courts, Permanent Records, a study of the records of five temporary international criminal courts; and “Securing Police Archives,” containing advice on managing records of police forces from former repressive regimes. Since December 2009 she has published a monthly newsletter on archives and human rights.

Contact Us