Briscoe Center Names Brenda Gunn First Janey Briscoe Archivist
AUSTIN, Texas – Brenda Gunn, associate director for research and collections at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named the first Janey Slaughter Briscoe Archivist.
“When Gov. Briscoe created his endowment to the Center, he had a vision that it would fund special positions of importance to our mission, and I am very pleased that we are able to fulfill that vision with the creation of the Janey Slaughter Briscoe Archivist position,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “Brenda Gunn’s exceptional accomplishments as an archivist and as the head of our research division make her an outstanding candidate to receive this honor. Her assumption of this important role ensures that the governor’s vision will be well-served.”
Carleton continued, “The governor was keenly aware of the need to provide public recognition and support for archivists, who undertake the critical, and too-often unheralded, work of preserving the historical record. I am very grateful to the late governor for his endowment to the Briscoe Center, which made the creation of this position possible.”
In naming the position for Janey Briscoe, the Briscoe Center will provide a legacy in memory of Mrs. Briscoe’s personal commitment to the causes of history and education, and her loyalty to the university.
“I’m deeply honored to be associated with the Briscoe name in this very special way,” said Gunn, in accepting the position. “Mrs. Briscoe’s service to The University of Texas System, to the state, and to the larger cause of historic preservation is a model for others to follow, and one that I am proud to carry forward.”
Gunn joined the Briscoe Center in 1999 as head of archives and manuscripts. She was named assistant director for research and collections in 2005, and associate director for the division in 2007. Gunn earned the MLIS with an emphasis in Archival Enterprise from the University in 1995 and became a certified archivist in 1996. She also received an MA in English and BA in History from The University of Texas at Tyler.
Gunn’s contributions to the archival field have earned her a number of honors. The Academy of Certified Archivists recently elected her vice president and president-elect for 2010-2011. She served as president of the Society of Southwest Archivists in 2005-2006 and received the society’s Distinguished Service Award in 2009. Also in 2009, Gunn was one of four individuals selected for the 2009 “Movers and Shakers in Archives” awards from ArchivesNext, which recognizes “innovative and creative” individuals in the United States who are “making a difference in the archival profession.”
The wife of Governor Dolph Briscoe, Janey Slaughter Briscoe, was the First Lady of Texas from January 1973 until January 1979. A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Janey Briscoe was a lifelong student of Texas history and a leader in the historical preservation movement. Before her death in October 2000, she was a strong supporter of what was then known as the Center for American History, and she played a key role in the Center’s acquisition of the famed daguerreotype of the Alamo Chapel (1849). Mrs. Briscoe also served as a regent of The University of Texas System and she was designated a Distinguished Alumnus of the university in 1996.