ETSU's Irwin choice for Washington County’s first archivist

Gary B. Gray • Jan 26, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Jonesborough native Ned Irwin was the unanimous choice Wednesday morning by the Washington County Public Records Commission to become the county’s first archivist.

Irwin, 57, has been East Tennessee State University’s archivist since 1994 and has worked as a specialist in the field for 25 years, including a stint at the Chattanooga Public Library.

“I really feel very humbled by this, because this is a first for Washington County,” said the soft-spoken Irwin.

He will have to be confirmed by the full County Commission next month, but Mayor Dan Eldridge said he felt comfortably about Irwin’s chances.

“We started with 27 candidates and narrowed that down to three,” Eldridge said. “When these three were interviewed, it became evident he was an excellent candidate. We’re really fortunate. One of the things about Ned is he recognizes what an asset our archives are. He’s been involved in this for a while, and he has a successful record of managing archives.”

If approved by commissioners, Irwin would make a base salary of $50,000, Eldridge said.

“We will get together and discuss a possible compensation package,” Eldridge added. “I expect it will be a few months before he’ll come onboard.”

The two other finalists were Bobby Holt, a resident of Dallas currently working for the George W. Bush Presidential Library archives, and Kathy Cuff, an assistant archivist at Tusculum College’s Museum Studies Program.

Irwin is past president of the Society of Tennessee Archivists, the Washington County Historical Association, the Tipton-Haynes Historical Association, a member of the Watauga Regional Library Board and former chairman of the Washington County-Jonesborough Library Board of Trustees.

He is a graduate of ETSU and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is the author of numerous articles in historical and professional publications and received the McClung Award from the East Tennessee Historical Society in 2003.

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