Russ Davidson


Russ Davidson


Professor and Curator Emeritus


University of New Mexico



Graduation year: 


Since retiring from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2004, I have worked as an independent contractor, translating scholarly monographs in Latin American history and working on short-term projects for book dealers supplying Latin American imprints to university libraries.

Over the previous 25 years, I held several positions in UNM’s Zimmerman Library, including the directorship of the Division of Iberian & Latin American Programs and Services, a multi-departmental until that encompassed public service, collection development, and outreach functions. I was active in various professional organizations and societies, notably the ALA-affiliated Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials. In addition, as a corollary to my work, and also because I simply enjoyed the task, I published a good many essays and articles in both historical and library journals and texts (my personal favorite being “Adolf Sutro as Book Collector: A New Look,” first published in the Bulletin of the California State Library Foundation, No. 75 (Spring-Summer 2003) and reprinted in No. 104 (2012) of the same journal. 

In recent years, as I’ve reflected back on my time in the SILS, I’ve come to appreciate even more how valuable the experience was—the classes I took, the exchanges I had with fellow students, the encouragement I received from such educators as Lester Asheim, Edward Holley, and Robert Broadus, along with adjunct faculty members Paul Koda and Mattie U. Russell, gave me the foundation and the intellectual framework for whatever successes I later achieved. The practical experience that is available to SILS students (in my case, working as an assistant in the old Humanities Reference Room in Wilson Library, having an EPA fellowship, and interning in the Manuscript Dept. of Duke’s Perkins Library) is a tremendous asset. My debt to UNC-Chapel Hill can never be fully cancelled, but I’ve started to repay a small portion of it by serving as a member of the Board of Visitors.