After serving as the director of Emory’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Books Library (MARBL) for more than 15 years, Steve Enniss has accepted a position at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.
Enniss has helped Emory’s Woodruff Library earn its reputation as one of the fastest-growing literary archives in the country.
Enniss has had a hand in acquiring what is now over 200,000 printed volumes and 1,200 manuscript collections and visual and audio media.
He also acted as one of the principal negotiators of the gift of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, a 75,000-volume English-language poetry library believed to be among the largest ever assembled by a single collector.
Other collections Enniss has helped bring to MARBL include the papers of the Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and the archive of the British poet Ted Hughes.
During his time at the University, Enniss has also helped the library raise $3.2 million of the $27 million the library plans on raising with Campaign Emory, an ambitious campus-wide fund-raising plan that will provide funds for schools and units such as the Emory libraries, the Emory hospitals, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Division of Campus Life, among many others.
Enniss wrote in an e-mail to the Wheel
that he does not think his departure will affect campaign plans.
Instead, he said, Emory should be concerned about the turmoil of the U.S. economy in recent weeks and months.
“The question in my mind is how will that affect Emory’s campaign goals,” Enniss wrote.
While he can say with confidence that campaign plans can carry on without him, he wrote that he only hopes that his leave will not affect deals currently in the works.
Enniss wrote that MARBL is strong and that he does not credit that to himself or his work.
“MARBL’s strength is not in any single person but distributed across the organization,” Enniss wrote.
MARBL is prepared to step up and continue the work that the former director has accomplished.
As of Oct. 1, Naomi Nelson, who has worked with the Emory Libraries since 1991 and has been an assistant director of MARBL since 2004, has been named interim director until a permanent director is located and chosen.
“We are committed to continuing and enhancing the stellar trajectory Steve and his predecessors have set for MARBL, and we are proud to see him take on this new endeavor at the Folger,” said Rick Luce, vice provost and director of Emory University Libraries, in a University press release. “We are thrilled to have someone on our team with Naomi Nelson’s experience who knows our collections so well.”
Enniss agreed with Luce and expressed a similar view.
“It is important that Emory recruit someone with an understanding of the opportunities unique to this institution and someone with the commitment and creativity to continue Emory’s trajectory,” Enniss wrote.
Enniss wrote that he feels that after his 15 years of work he will leave MARBL in a good place, and that he thinks Emory’s library will continue to grow and succeed in the following years.
“I think Emory’s star is on the rise,” Enniss wrote, “and I look forward to watching it shine even brighter in the years ahead.”
Enniss added: “The special collections at Emory is one of the most remarkable success stories of this University. That very success will attract investment.”
Enniss wrote that it was a surprise to be asked by the Folger Shakespeare Library to step into a leadership role at one of the finest research libraries in the country.
The Folger Library is home to the world’s largest collection of the printed works of William Shakespeare and holds many rare materials from the early modern period.
Despite the surprise, Enniss wrote that he is ready and excited to take on the opportunity.
“It is intellectually thrilling to step into the 16th century, and to join colleagues at the Folger who are committed to the important cultural work that research libraries do,” he wrote.
“I expect to be challenged and to grow, and I believe such opportunities are to be seized,” Enniss wrote.
Enniss’s last day at MARBL is Oct. 31.
— Contact Alice Chen.