Bethany Fair is an independent oral historian and archivist at the Vermont State Archives & Records Administration. With a background in historical research, oral history, and digital asset management, Bethany has been thrilled to bring her diverse skill set to state government. As an archival public servant, she makes meaningful connections with Vermont citizens through providing reference services, processing historical collections, and conducting strategic public outreach and education campaigns. Her work is motivated by the fervent belief that those who take up the role of public records steward must constantly strive to rectify disparities that exist in information access, both digital and physical, by actively connecting citizens to the public records that will help them make informed decisions and fully participate in their democracy by holding their elected representatives accountable.
A first-generation college student from East Tennessee, Bethany earned her Bachelor’s degree in English literature at The University of Florida and then made her way to New England where she earned two Master’s degrees in history and library and information science with a specialization in archival management from Simmons College in Boston. During her graduate studies, Bethany was honored to serve as Dean’s Fellow for International Initiatives throughout her tenure.
Her history thesis and current academic research pertain to the anthropological evaluation of space/place and how identity becomes embedded within culturally constructed spaces. She received several student travel and merit awards for her thesis, “Non-Places & Neofundamentalism: Mohamed Atta’s Quest to Reconstitute Anthropological Space.” As an information professional, she seeks to find innovative ways to use this research to answer questions about how space/place may impact our information identities and define how people interact in digital spaces.
As a relatively new Vermonter and Waterbury resident, she spends her free time in pursuit of activities that may aid her in shedding her “flatlander” status such as skiing, hiking, and voraciously reading as many Vermont history books as she can obtain from the Waterbury Public Library. She is a dedicated activist and can usually be found at the nearest protest, Women’s March, or phone banking party. Most recently, she has taken an active role in the 2020 Vermont Suffrage Centennial Celebration committee and is thrilled to be working alongside diverse women from across the state to educate Vermonters about the history and result of woman suffrage and to engage women in the ongoing quest for equal citizenship.