Elena S. Danielson
Archivist Emerita, Writer

Elena S. Danielson, PhD, worked for 27 years in the Hoover Institution Library & Archives at Stanford University, serving as head of the archives for the last ten of those years until she retired in 2005. She began writing about the ethical dilemmas of archival practice in 1985. In 2005 she won the Posner prize for an article in the American Archivist about access to East German political police files. Her book The Ethical Archivist (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2010) analyzes topics such as equitable access, privacy, restitution, and authenticity. College and Research Libraries called her book a “masterpiece” (May 2011). Having served as the Facility Security Officer for both the Hoover Institution and Stanford as a whole she took an interest in the Wikileaks case. In 2011 she published “Secret Sharers,” an article about appropriate use of confidential U.S. documents for The American Scholar. In 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2017 she taught the ethics and law section at the Western Archives Institute. In 2012 she was an instructor for Stanford Continuing Studies, taking a look at literary papers mixed into the Hoover and Stanford historical archives. She spoke at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists on August 14, 2014 in Washington DC on “The Ethics of Secrecy and Transparency.” Her review of the film “Grand Budapest Hotel” appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of The American Scholar. An analysis of Russian Great War picture postcards appeared in fall 2016, and an essay on archival access is scheduled for publication by the Society of American Archivists in 2018. She gave presentations at the annual meetings of the Society of American Archivists in Portland, the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in Chicago, and to the Stanford Historical Society in 2017.


Stanford University, California

            Archivist emerita, Stanford University                                                     9/3/2005 - present
            Associate Director, Hoover Institution                                                   1/1/2002 - 9/2/2005
            Director of the Hoover Library and Archives                                        1/1/2002 - 9/2/2005
            Head of Hoover Library and Archives                                                    9/1/2001 - 1/1/2002
            Archivist                                                                                                              1997 - 2005
            Archivist (Acting)                                                                                               1996 - 1997
            Associate Archivist (collection development, bibliographic instruction,           1988 - 1996
                                                exhibit programs)
            Assistant Archivist (reference services and outreach)                                        1981 - 1988
            Archival Specialist (technical processing)                                                          1978 - 1981


M.L.S.                         School of Library Science, U. C. Berkeley                                            1979
Ph.D.                           German Studies, Stanford University                                                     1975
A.M.                            German Studies, Stanford University                                                     1970
A.B.                            German major, Slavic and History minors, U. C. Berkeley                   1969

Diploma de Excelenta, Fundatia Europeana Titulescu, Romania                                              2006
Silver Medal for Human Rights of the Russian Federation, Moscow                                        2005
                                    joint award for editors of The History of Stalin’s Gulag
Ernst Posner Prize, Society of American Archivists                                                                  2005
Order of Merit from President of Romania, Bucharest                                                              2004
IREX Travel Grant, Cheliabinsk, Russia                                                                                   2003
Laurel Award of Polish Prime Minister, Warsaw                                                                      2001
NEH grant $287,440, with Charles Palm, Hoover Institution                                        1999 - 2001
Fulbright Fellowship, Goettingen & Munich, Germany                                                            1976
Whiting Fellowship, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland                                                                        1973
Teaching Fellowship, Stanford University                                                                     1969 - 1972
Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, U. C. Berkeley                                                                           1969
Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Chapter, U. C. Berkeley                                                                       1969
Library School Fellowship, U. C. Berkeley (awarded, not used)                                              1969
Kraft Prize, U. C. Berkeley                                                                                                         1966
George H. Clarke Fellowship, Sacramento, California                                                              1965
Telluride Fellowship, Cornell University                                                                                   1964

Selected Papers, Publications, Interviews by Elena Danielson

Hoover Tower at Stanford University, monograph, Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2018.

“The Intriguing Imagery of Ivan A. Vladimirov in the Hoover Archives: But Is it Art?”
Slavic and East European Information Resources, forthcoming 2018.

“Preserving Access as a Core Value in the Digital Era,” forthcoming, Mark Greene Festschrift, Society of American Archivists, forthcoming 2018.

“The Museum of Russian Culture Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities,” presentation to the Museum of Russian Culture in San Francisco, May 12, 2018.

“Herbert Hoover: Stanford’s First Techie,” Sandstone & Tile, Stanford Historical Society, Spring/Summer 2017, pp. 3 – 14. Illustrated presentation to the Stanford Historical Society February 7, 2017, Stauffer Auditorium, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

“Scenes from the Revolution,” The Crown under the Hammer: Russia, Romanovs, Revolution, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2017, p. 62.

“Russian and German Great War Picture Postcards,” Slavic & East European Information Resources, 2016.

“Looking for Mr. Gustave: Who is the Inspiration for the Grand Budapest’s Concierge?” The American Scholar, Spring 2015, pp. 103-106.

“The Ethics of Secrecy and Transparency,” annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, Washington, D. C., August 14, 2014.

“Ivy Low Litvinov and D.H. Lawrence: A Literary Legacy at Stanford,” Sandstone and Tile, Fall 2013, Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 18-25.

“Archives and the Ethics of Replevin,” Journal of Information Ethics, Fall 2013, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 110-140.

“Archival Ethics: What Would You Do? How Would You Do It?” panel participant, annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, New Orleans, August 2013.

“Archives, Oral History, and the Belfast Case,” panel participant, SAA Oral History Section, live web chat, July 8, 2013.

“The Archivist as Scholar,” with Philip B. Eppard and Sara S. Hodson, Archival Outlook, March/April 2013, pp. 3, 26-27.

“Managing Archives: Ethics and Access,” presentation at the “Seminar for Artist-Endowed Foundation Leaders: Issues in Practice and Policy,” sponsored by the Aspen Institute, The New School, New York, November 16, 2012.

“Rethinking the Role of the Scholar Archivist,” paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, San Diego, August 2012.

Review, Lost Rights: The Misadventures of a Stolen American Relic, by David Howard, New York: Houghten Mifflin Harcourt, 2010, in The American Archivist, Spring/Summer 2012, Vol. 75, No. 1, pp. 251-254.

“Family Memorabilia or Valuable Documents? Issues Affecting the Value of Documents,” presentation for the California Probate Referees Association, Fall 2011 Educational Conference, Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, CA, October 21, 2011.

“Secret Sharers,” The American Scholar, Autumn 2011, pp. 39-46.

“Defining National History through National Archival Portals,” panel chair at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, Chicago, 2011.

“Voices from the Past,” TEDx Bay Area Women, SAP Palo Alto, December 8, 2010, available on YouTube.

The Ethical Archivist, monograph, Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2010. The Ethical Archivist is listed as recommended reading in the Handbook for Archival Certification, Academy of Certified Archivists, p. 41. See http://www.certifiedarchivists.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/handbook.pdf (Accessed February 25, 2014).

“Russian Archives Abroad: Safe Havens, Safe Returns?” paper, ICCEES International Council for Central and East European Studies, World Congress, Stockholm, July 27, 2010. Published in Solanus, Vol. 22, London, June 2011, pp. 201-219.

Review, Walter Benjamin’s Archive: Images, Texts, Signs, edited by Ursula Marx, Gudrun Schwarz, Michael Schwarz, and Erdmut Wizisla, translated by Esther Leslie: London: Verso, 2007, in Journal of Archival Organization (7:4) October-December 2009, pp. 229-231.

“Does Digital Reproduction Make Restitution Obsolete,” paper for panel “Russian Laws and Cultural Property,” annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Boston, November 15, 2009.

“A Revolution in the Russian Archives: A Retrospective.”

Online with Cold War International History Project, posted November 2009.

“20 Questions to Ask before You Return a Collection,” paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, San Francisco, 2008.

Review of Archives and the Public Interest: Selected Essays by Ernst Posner, New Introduction by Angelika Menne-Haritz, Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1967/2006, Journal of Archival Organization (5:3) 2007, pp. 70-72.

“My Guide to the Ancient Texts,” Stanford Magazine, May/June 2007, p. 97.

“The Boy Who Would Be Tsar,” Michael Krasny Interview, KQED, January 30, 2007.

“Privacy Rights and the Rights of Political Victims” In Privacy and Confidentiality Perspectives, edited by Menzi L. Behrnd-Klodt and Peter Wosh, Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2005. Also in The American Archivist, Vol. 67 Nr. 2, Fall Winter 2004, winner of Ernst Posner Award for 2005.

“Displaced Archives of Central Europe,” Comma, ICA, 2004, 3-4, pp. 197-203.

“Displaced Archives,” ICA, August 2004, Vienna, www.wien2004.ica.org.

“Report on the Archives of Radio Free Europe in the Hoover Institution,” Warsaw, June 22, 2001.

“Bulgarian World War II Documentation,” 2001, Sofia, Bulgaria.

“The Stasi Archives,” American Library Association annual meeting, June 17, 2001.

“Documenting Romania’s Long Struggle,” Hoover Digest, 2001, Nr. 1, pp. 198-226.       

“I Ring Only for Peace,” Hoover Digest, 2000, Nr. 2., pp. 196-203.

“Accesul la Documentele Istoriei Recente,” Bucharest, May 18, 2000.

“The Romanov Legacy,” photo essay for the Hoover Digest, 1999, Nr. 3, pp. 149-158.

“Die russischen Sammlungen in den Hoover Institution Archives,” presentation in German for a colloquium sponsored by the Lehrstuhl für Geschichte Osteuropas, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, March 18, 1999.

“Ein Gespräch mit Dr. Elena Danielson,” Der Stacheldraht, 1999, Nr. 7, Berlin.

“A Fierce, Freedom-Loving Man,” Hoover Digest, 1999, Nr. 1, pp. 163-168.

“Ethics and Reference Services,” The Reference Librarian, Nr. 56, 1997, pp. 107-124.

“Vladimirov's Russia,” Hoover Digest, no. 1, 1996, pp. 107-111.

“Patriotic and Profitable: World War I Postcards in the Hoover Institution Archives,” Popular Culture in Libraries, Vol. 3, Nr. 2, 1995, pp. 95-107.

“The Commission for Relief in Belgium,” The United States in the First World War: an Encyclopedia, edited by Anne Cipriano Benzon, Garland Press, 1995, pp. 154-159.

“Herbert Hoover,” The United States in the First World War: An Encyclopedia, edited by Anne Cipriano Benzon, Garland Press, 1995, pp. 283-289.

“The United States Food Administration,” The United States in the First World War: An Encyclopedia, edited by Anne Cipriano Benzon, Garland Press, 1995, pp. 737-738.

“Without Consent: The Question of Third Party Privacy Rights in Collections of Personal Papers,” paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, Indianapolis, September 1994.

“A Poetic Vision,” Stanford Magazine, September 1993. Relates to Pasternak materials in the Hoover Institution Archives.

Review of SAA manual Providing Reference Services for Archives and Manuscripts, The American Archivist, Spring 1993.

“Revelations from the Archives: Confidentiality and Access to Public Records,” paper delivered at the annual conference of the California Library Association, Oakland, November 1993.

Making Things Work: Russian American Economic Relations 1900-1930. Stanford: Hoover Institution, 1992. Primary author of text for pages 35-124 of exhibit catalog, Parliament Building in Moscow, November 1992 and in the Hoover Institution February 1993.

“The Elusive Litvinov Memoirs,” Slavic Review, December 1989.

“The Ethics of Access,” American Archivist, Vol. 52, Winter 1989, pp. 52-62.
            Translated into Hebrew and published in Arkhiyyon, Jerusalem, 1991.

“Ethical Dilemmas of the Present and Future Archivist,” paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, Chicago, August 1986.

“An Archivist's Perspective on the Sigmund Freud Archives,” paper delivered at the annual meeting of the Society of California Archivists, Berkeley, October 1985.

Herbert Hoover: A Register of His Papers in the Hoover Institution Archives, compiled by Elena S. Danielson and Charles G. Palm, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1983.

 Recent Projects

Instructor, Stanford Continuing Studies, “Great Literary Letters at Stanford”                          2012
Faculty member, Western Archives Institute, ethics and law  2003, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017
Frank Lloyd Wright Archives, Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona                                           2007
Santa Clara University Library, Exhibition Program                                                                 2007
Reagan Papers of Thomas C. Reed                                                                                            2006
Proquest, Microfilm Project Management, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Germany                  2005

Selected Service Activities

Chair, Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable, Society of American                           2012 - 2013
Member, Committee of Ethics and Professional Conduct, Society of                            2010 - 2012
American Archivists
Chair, Advisory Committee of the Russian Museum Archives, San Francisco                         2008
Member, Archives Committee, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation                                              2008
Member, ALA/SAA Joint Statement in Access Review Task Force                              2007 - 2009
Chair, Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable, Society of American                           1998 - 1999
Facility Security Officer for Stanford University                                                           1996 - 2005
Chair, Reference, Access and Outreach Section, Society of American                          1991 - 1992