Jul 6, 2023

We Visit Colleen Shogan, the First Woman Appointed U.S. Archivist

Tilda Wilson apparently interviewed Colleen Shogan, the (new) Archivist of the United States and published bits and pieces of the interview in thye NPR News web site. Here’s a sample:

Shogan is the first woman ever appointed to be National Archivist. Her job is to make sure that the nation’s history — through its documents — is preserved. The archives contain 13.5 billion records. Everything from the Constitution to the 19th Amendment to the papers your grandfather might have submitted to join the U.S. Army.

Shogan grew up in a working class neighborhood just outside Pittsburgh. She was a first generation college student. She went on to be a professor, then a Senate staffer, then deputy director of the Congressional Research Service. In her spare time, she devoured mystery novels.

“They’re puzzles, and I like to solve puzzles,” Shogan says. Not only solve them, but write them. Since 2015, Shogan has published eight murder mystery novels as part of her Washington Whodunit series. They’re all set in places she’s worked, with titles such as Larceny in the Library, Homicide in the House, and Stabbing in the Senate.

“She creates a world in each of her books,” Shogan’s editor, Jennifer McCord told NPR. McCord says the vivid settings drew her into Shogan’s writing in the first place.

McCord won’t be working with Shogan for a while, however. Shogan is holding off on writing murder novels while she’s working as National Archivist. Perhaps the role is controversial enough without her killing off senators.

The functions of the National Archives received nationwide attention last fall. Just three days after Shogan was officially nominated, the FBI raided former President Trump’s home in search of documents that should have been safely archived at the conclusion of his presidency.

The result was intense scrutiny during both Shogan’s nomination hearings in November of 2022 and February of this year, though she couldn’t be briefed on the details of the document cases until after she was confirmed in May.

You can read more at: