For the Record’s “Meet the Staff” feature is an opportunity for our archivists to connect directly with the community which we serve.
Name: Kevin Nutt
Title: Collections Archivist
Specialties: Audio/Visual Media, Folklife
How did you end up working at the Alabama Department of Archives and History?
I became an archivist by a delayed and circuitous route. As a student at the University of Alabama and Auburn University at Montgomery during the 1980s, I spent most of my money on books and records, constantly reading history, current events, and literature. One of the bookstores I haunted was the Bog Sted in Old Cloverdale. In 1988, Katie Parker, an extraordinary bookseller, asked me if I wanted to help out during the upcoming Christmas season at Bog Sted. I ended up staying for two years before moving to New York City with a friend. I enrolled at Hunter College majoring in Media Studies and African-American studies and landed a job at the Bank Street College Bookstore on Broadway and 112th Street, opposite the corner of Tom’s Restaurant. The front of Tom’s was used as the establishing shot for the diner in the Seinfeld sitcom. In 1996, I took a job as assistant manager at Labyrinth Bookstore, just a half block away from Bank Street.
I returned to Montgomery in 1997 and began an internship with the Alabama State Council on the Arts, working with folklorists Joey Brackner, Hank Willet, and Steve Grauberger. The most rewarding endeavor at ASCA was accompanying Steve on dozens of field recording trips, mostly in the Wiregrass. In 1999, I was hired at NewSouth publishers to set up a bookstore in their building on Court Street. From 2000 to 2005, I worked as a stay-at-home dad, hosted black gospel radio programs on WMGY in Montgomery and WFMU in Jersey City, New Jersey, and started the CaseQuarter record label to release some of the obscure but important gospel music I played on the radio shows.
In 2009, I was hired at the Alabama Department of Archives and History to begin digitizing the several hundred cassettes and tapes of musical performances recorded by the Alabama Folklife Association from 1989 to 1995 at the City Stages music festival in Birmingham.
What is your role?
I receive and assist other archivists with any audio or visual media questions.
What is something you enjoy about working in the Collections Section?
I enjoy transferring audio materials, especially vinyl recordings and tape recordings.
What do you view as the biggest challenge facing the profession today?
Probably continued and sufficient funding and creating best practices for digital archiving.
What are your hobbies when you are not at work?
Reading and listening to music.