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NEW YORK, October 23, 2013Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, has announced that Michael T. Ryan, current Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University, will become Vice President and Director of the New-York Historical Society’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, one of the foremost American history research institutions in the world, effective January 1, 2014. Dr. Ryan follows Jean Ashton, who retired as Executive Vice President and Director of the Klingenstein Library in July 2012, and Nina Nazionale, Director of Library Operations, who served as Acting Director since July 2012.

“Michael Ryan has an extraordinary breadth and depth of experience that meshes beautifully with the collections and ambitions of the New-York Historical Society,” said Pam Schafler, New-York Historical Society Board Chair. “He is perfectly poised to build on the strong foundation established by his dynamic predecessor, Jean Ashton.”

“Michael Ryan is a distinguished, intellectual and experienced leader who has followed the work of the New-York Historical Society for years and is enthusiastic about working to develop the strategic direction for the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library,” said Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “We thank Jean Ashton for her many years of service to New-York Historical and her creative thinking about new ways to bring documents to life for scholars and the general public.”

“I am enthusiastic about joining the New-York Historical Society with its superb staff, deep and rich collections, and engaged Board. It is a marvelous institution, and I am privileged to be able to guide its fine Library,” stated Ryan.

Michael Ryan has had an illustrious career managing libraries and overseeing special collections at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University and the University of Chicago. He has spent the last seven years building academic links and outreach programs for the library at Columbia. Since 2009, Dr. Ryan has also acted as the library's Gift Officer, working with the University development team to cultivate donor relationships and solicit funds.

Dr. Ryan earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in History from New York University and completed his undergraduate studies at Stanford University. After graduating from Stanford, he served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve for five years while in graduate school at NYU. He then completed a post doctorate program at the University of Chicago and worked as an Assistant Curator for the University of Chicago Special Collections and Archives in 1978. After four years there, Dr. Ryan returned to Stanford University as the Director of Special Collections to spearhead a unit expansion. He later worked at the University of Pennsylvania as the Director for the Rare Books and Manuscript Library. During his nine-year tenure at the University of Pennsylvania, he developed a strategic plan to allocate funding to collection imaging, founding the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Texts and securing federal challenge grant funding to ensure the permanent funding of the center's work. In 2005, Dr. Ryan became the Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University.

Jean Ashton joined New-York Historical as Vice President and Library Director in January 2006 after serving as Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University for twelve years. Prior to her time at Columbia University, Dr. Ashton, who earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University, had an extensive history with the New-York Historical Society, where she started out as an intern in 1984 and went on to work as a reference librarian. After earning her M.A. in Library Science in 1985, Dr. Ashton served as assistant, then associate librarian for public services and as acting director until her appointment as director in 1990. Since 2006, she was responsible for a variety of publications and exhibitions on historical subjects, including New York’s ratification of the constitution, Hudson River School authors, and the invention of Santa Claus. She also instituted several fellowship programs, including Andrew W. Mellon Fellows, Bernard & Irene Schwartz Fellows, Patricia and John Klingenstein Short-Term Fellows, and the Roger Hertog Fellow.

About the New-York Historical Society Patricia D. Klingenstein Library

The New-York Historical Society’s research library is one of the oldest and most distinguished in the United States, containing more than three million books, pamphlets, maps, atlases, newspapers, broadsides, music sheets, manuscripts, prints, photographs and architectural drawings. The Library is one of only 16 libraries in the United States qualified to be a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association. Among its collections are far-ranging materials relating to the founding and early history of the nation; one of the best collections of 18th-century newspapers in the United States; an outstanding collection of materials documenting slavery and Reconstruction; an exceptional collection of Civil War material, including Ulysses S. Grant’s terms of surrender for Robert E. Lee; collections relating to trials in the United States prior to 1860; American fiction, poetry, and belles-lettres prior to 1850; a broad range of materials relating to the history of the circus; and American travel accounts from the Colonial Era to the present day. The Library continues to receive important research materials relating to education, philanthropy, social service, and the history of New York and the nation, among them the papers of the Children's Aid Society, the archives of the New York Sun, and significant additions to the architectural and photographic collections. In 2013, the New-York Historical Society Library was a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

About the New-York Historical Society

Founded in 1804, the New-York Historical Society has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history. New York Historical is recognized for engaging the public with deeply researched and far-ranging exhibitions, such as Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America; Slavery in New York; Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School at the New-York Historical Society; Grant and Lee in War and Peace; Lincoln and New York; The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society; Nueva York; Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn and WWII & NYC. Supporting these exhibitions and related education programs is one of the world's greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States and New York.

From October 11, 2013 through February 23, 2014, New-York Historical is presenting The Armory Show at 100, which revisits the famous 1913 New York Armory Show on its 100th anniversary by bringing together over 100 works from the original show.

Press Contacts

New-York Historical Society

Laura Washington

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
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