November 19, 2017

Mark Greek | Movers & Shakers 2008

Restoring History

As photo archivist for the DCPL’s Washingtoniana Division at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the city’s main, Mark Greek restores historical photos from the ravages of time and invisibility by constructing a database of holdings, writing finding aids, producing exhibits, and adding new images to the collection. He even discovered a long-forgotten document signed by Thomas Jefferson and enlisted PBS’s History Detectives to research it. Ultimately, they aired a piece on the document, which brings to light Jefferson’s efforts to launch a public school system.

On April 30, 2007, however, when fire destroyed the Georgetown Neighborhood Library, he quickly turned his attention to saving its Peabody Room collection of Georgetown history as well.

Greek’s team, aided by local preservation experts, immediately identified what was salvageable, hauled it out, and arranged freeze-drying to prevent mold. Chief librarian Ginnie Cooper says that by May 2, Greek had rescued 95 percent of the Peabody Room’s manuscripts, photographs, and maps and had removed some of the room’s undamaged, distinctive furnishings to the Washingtoniana Division.

The work may have been more adrenaline-charged than Greek is used to, but it’s very satisfying for a man who loves to preserve and share our past.

Vitals

CURRENT POSITION Photo Archivist, District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL)

DEGREE M.A., History, University of South Carolina, 2003

MASTER Washington historical trivia

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