Mark A. Greene

23 June 2017
Mark A. Greene
Mark A. Greene

Mark A. Greene, the college’s first professionally trained archivist, died in a car accident on June 21st. Mark worked at Carleton from 1985–1990 and went on to an impressive archival career at three additional institutions, authoring important articles in the field, and serving as a president of the Society of American Archivists (SAA).

As the SAA website writes, “Mark’s true passion was for what he considered the art of archival appraisal—the willingness to make the hard choices. His other passion was acting as a mentor for archivists entering the field and those navigating the minefields of administration.” 

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  • 2017-06-23 15:36:24
    Jane Nelson

    Mark arrived at Carleton about a year before me. He was the College Archivist writing a retention record policy for the Board of Trustees and the President's Office. I was completely new to higher education. Mark mentored me and shared many insights with me...all of which helped me grow in my career. He enjoyed "teaching" those around him and he asked thoughtful questions. Mark was a brilliant man, one with honor and integrity. It was a pleasure to have worked with him and to have learned from him. Blessed be his memory.

  • 2017-06-23 15:53:51
    Joel Weisberg

    I became a Carleton astronomer in 1984.  One of Mark's first projects was to write a history of Goodsell Observatory and Carleton's distinguished astronomical legacy, called "A Science Not Earthbound."  It was masterful, and can still be found on the Observatory's website:

    We came to know each other as a result of this project, and I found him to be a very fine person. This is a great loss.

  • 2017-06-23 16:58:31
    Tim Vick

    I remember Mark Greene fondly. He was a most interesting and creative person and he did a lot to improve the College Archives and make them into a functional resource for students and faculty. He also introduced professional-level archival curating methods to Carleton. Mark contributed a column to the Carletonian, Raiders Of The Lost Archives, of which I was an avid fan. I have found only one example of this column online, and it is here: There should be other (and possibly better) examples to be found in other issues of the Carletonian of the era which would be interesting to pore through. Mark, thank you for having been with us.

  • 2017-06-28 15:24:16
    Eric Hillemann

    Mark was my predecessor as Carleton's College Archivist, and as such I was in a unique position to see and thoroughly appreciate the tremendous work he did in his four years in that position. He very quickly became my personal archival hero. It was extremely helpful to me in my earliest months at Carleton, when I was still trying to learn what our collections contained and where to look for answers to the regular stream of questions on aspects of the college's history about which I had not yet built up my own knowledge, to be able to call on Mark, nearby at his new job with the Minnesota Historical Society, whenever I was stumped. Over the years, as he moved on to two other positions, in Michigan and then Wyoming, and I stayed put here, we would see one another at conferences, and Mark, unsurprisingly, became a rising star in the professional archivist world, authoring or co-authoring important articles on processing strategies and other matters, and serving first the Midwest Archives Conference, and then the national Society of American Archivists in a number of leadership capacities. He always remained very interested in what was going on at Carleton, and how his successor was getting on there. Somewhere around the year 2000 Mark's then-future wife Kathy, another archivist, assisted me with work at the University of Michigan's Bentley Library while I was in the early stages of researching my biography of Larry Gould, and the three of us got together for dinner one of the nights I was in Ann Arbor. As usual, Mark's interest in what I was doing was keen, and he asked good questions and made useful suggestions. It had however now been several years since I had last seen Mark or Kathy when I was contacted last Thursday by another archivist, a Carleton alum as it happens, telling me of Mark's sudden passing. I need a better processing strategy myself for how to accept the reality of his being gone - a real loss to all who knew him.

  • 2017-07-15 23:47:51
    Kathy Marquis

    Thanks to all of you for these comments. Eric, I had forgotten about that dinner in Ann Arbor! Mark loved his job at Carleton, and the friends he made while there. He talked often about how satisfying it was to encourage undergraduates (and faculty) to use the college archives. It became part of his claim to fame in his work at the University of Wyoming - but he first put it into practice at Carleton. And, thanks so much, Tim Vick, for the column on Carleton slang. It happens that my cousin is a Carleton alum (class of '68, I think) and he'll enjoy those memories. You might also be interested to know that Mark went on to participate in an irregular comedy review with the Midwest Archives Conference, in the 1980s and 1990s, also called the Raiders of the Lost Archives.