UMSI alum named to endowed position at Harvard’s Houghton Library

Tom Hyry

School of Information alumnus Tom Hyry (MILS ’96) was named June 5 as the Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library at Harvard University. 

The endowed position, which Hyry will start in September, leads the library that serves as Harvard’s repository for rare books and manuscripts, including those of the Harvard Theatre Collection, the Woodbury Poetry Room, and the collections of Samuel Johnson, Emily Dickinson, Theodore Roosevelt, T.S. Eliot, Henry James, James Joyce, and others.  

As Florence Fearrington Librarian, Hyry will lead Houghton’s collections, programs and operations, and will sustain and expand the library’s ongoing efforts in acquisition, curatorship, service and outreach.

Hyry is currently the director of special collections at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Library, where he has worked since 2010. At UCLA, Hyry integrated five separate units into a single, library-wide special collections department of 40 staff members dedicated to acquiring, preserving, and providing access to the university’s rare books, archives, manuscripts, and historical materials. He also oversees the library’s long-range and annual planning, fundraising, collection development, and coordination of special collections services with other library and campus groups.

Prior to his position at UCLA, Hyry spent 13 years at Yale University, where he was head of the manuscript unit at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and, in a separate role, the head of arrangement and description in the Manuscripts & Archives department.

In addition to his work at UCLA and Yale, Hyry has published articles and papers on born-digital archives, archival backlog remediation, appraisal of faculty papers, and the evolution of the finding aid. He has held numerous professional appointments that include serving as an elected member of the Council of the Society of American Archivists. 

Before earning his master’s degree in library and information studies with a specialization in archives from UMSI, Hyry obtained a bachelor’s degree in history from Carleton College.

The Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library was endowed in 2000 by avid book collectors Florence Fearrington and her husband James W. Needham. The Houghton Library is part of the Harvard College Library of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Its collections focus on the study of Western civilization and comprise of materials relating to American, Continental and English history and literature, as well as special concentrations in printing, graphic arts and theatre. 

Posted on June 12, 2014