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Gateway is the community newsletter of Pratt Institute. It is published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement. For a list of contributors, click here.

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Friday
May132011

EYE ON ALUMNI

JILL GOLDSTEIN, M.L.S. ’09

Project Archivist, Hank Kaplan Boxing Archive, Brooklyn College Library

 

Jill Goldstein (M.L.S. ’09) is a native New Yorker who got her job through The New York Times—not owing to an advertisement but to a story. Having long been interested in the cultural and social history of boxing, she noticed an article about the Hank Kaplan Boxing Archive being posthumously donated to Brooklyn College, which aroused her curiosity. As a student in Pratt’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS) taking an Archival Management course with Visiting Assistant Professor Anthony Cucchiara, chief archivist at Brooklyn College Library, she was excited to read about the boxing archive comprising 2,600 books, 500,000 photographs, clippings, and assorted artworks and scrapbooks, dating back to the 1880s. Valued at $3 million, it is believed to be the largest such collection in the world.

“When Professor Cucchiara responded to my interest by offering me an opportunity to work on this national treasure, I took it immediately,” Goldstein recalls. Though she was still pursuing her M.L.S. degree, she began working in the Hank Kaplan Boxing Archive 10 hours a week as an intern, and the job evolved from there. Under an NEH grant, she has been a full-time project archivist at Brooklyn College Library since 2010.

Goldstein’s academic background—she graduated from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts in New York City—served her well in this transition from her earlier life as an independent contractor. She had worked in the graphics art field for more than 20 years, and most of that time she was self-employed. “Since graphics is such a fluid field I had to constantly re-tool and adapt to changing technology,” Goldstein says. “I had to face the reality that the world of print was getting smaller and smaller, and I knew I had to really transform my career.”

After deciding to pursue library science, she attended a SILS open house where she met SILS Dean Tula Giannini. “Her background as a musician, and wide knowledge base attracted me to the school,” Goldstein explains. “The fact that Pratt is a world-renowned art school that encourages independent thinking seemed like a natural fit for me.”

Since completing her SILS master’s degree, Goldstein has literally put a new face on the boxing archive: re-designing its website, creating a digital and print press kit, and building from the ground up resource tools utilizing library 2.0 such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. She’s attended a couple of boxing matches, too, and assisted major boxing historians and some Ph.D. candidates in their research, though the archive is not officially open to them until spring 2012. “So much can be learned through the lens of boxing history,” she says, citing Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis as “true cultural icons.”

A longtime resident of the West Village, Goldstein now pursues a second master’s degree at Baruch College, this time in public administration. Also a talented musician, she finds time to play drums in the What 4 band and performs in local bars at least once a month. Boxing fan Hank Kaplan, whose archive she’s preserving, would no doubt have approved.

Photo: Jonathan Weitz