WWU's Elizabeth Joffrion to be Inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists

Elizabeth “Beth” Joffrion, Director of Archives & Special Collections at Western Washington University Libraries, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) on August 15, 2024, during an awards ceremony at the Annual Meeting of SAA in Chicago, IL. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

Elizabeth Joffrion

Joffrion has been active in the archival profession since 1989. She holds a master's degree in library science with an archives focus from the University of Maryland at College Park and an master's degree in American history and archives and records management from the University of New Orleans. Joffrion has held professional positions at the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art; the National Portrait Gallery; North Carolina State Archives; and the Historic New Orleans Collection.

She has taught graduate courses on archives and special collections at Catholic University and Western Washington University. In 1998, Joffrion accepted a position as head archivist at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies at Western Washington University. Here, her leadership efforts resulted in the launch of the Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA) website, which became a key resource of the Orbis Cascade Alliance (now known as Archives West). At the time, it was only the second regional finding-aid database. She also forged key partnerships with other regional institutions and engaged in significant collections management, collections development, outreach, and community documentation projects.

In 2006, Joffrion became a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Senior Program Officer in the Division of Preservation and Access, where she was responsible for the administration of multiple national funding programs that addressed critical problems in preservation and access to humanities resources found in library, archival, and museum collections. Joffrion then became director of Archives & Special Collections and associate professor at Western Libraries at Western Washington University. In this role, she supervised the libraries’ Special Collections, the University Archives and Records Management, and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.

Joffrion has served in leadership roles at national, regional, state, university, and community levels for more than two decades. She has served on conference planning committees, scholarship committees, and working groups for various organizations, including the executive committee for the American Library Association’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section. She currently sits on the SAA Foundation Board of Directors.

Joffrion has worked consistently with Native communities to promote and fund Indigenous-centered archival practices and projects, including advocating for the use of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials and co-authoring the piece “Broken Promises: A Case Study in Reconciliation,” which received an honorable mention for the Margaret Cross Norton Award. Joffrion also co-authored the recent SAA Fundamentals book Advancing Preservation for Archives and Manuscripts, which delves into a broad variety of preservation topics, including social, cultural, political, and policy issues. Through her work at NEH and the SAA Foundation, Joffrion has been a key figure in diversifying methods for funding archivists.

In the multiple teaching positions Joffrion has held throughout her career, she is widely regarded as a generous and enthusiastic mentor. One supporter noted: “She both modeled effective and inclusive leadership as well as encouraging and guiding my own leadership skills. ...Beth has contributed so much to the archival world. At the center of that work is a collaborative spirit and the desire to increase opportunities for others.” Another supporter praised Joffrion for her dedication and devotion to the archival profession, stating that she is “consistent as a visionary and advocate for archives and special collections.”

Joffrion is one of seven new Fellows named in 2024. There are currently 198 Fellows of the Society of American Archivists.


The information in this release was compiled and shared with WWU by the Society of American Archivists.