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John Reed

January 27, 2024


Hudson, NY


Recorded by

Liza Yeager

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This interview with John Reed was conducted on January 27th, 2024 in Hudson, New York, as part of OHSS’s interview corps.

John worked for decades at the New York Botanical Garden’s library, where he spearheaded the organization of the library and eventually moved the entire collection from one building to another. John has worked at many libraries during his lifetime, and speaks about multiple full-scale collection reorganizations and moves. John grew up inWyoming, where he spent time doing fieldwork and fishing with his dad, who was a botanist. He met his wife, Judy, in graduate school for library sciences. Judy became a book restorer, and they both worked at the New York Botanical Garden library while raising their children in Croton-on-Hudson.

John also speaks about his family cabin in rural Michigan, where he and Judy lived in their retirement, and where he still spends time every year. He talks about trying to raise his children to be independent and to appreciate the outdoors. At the time of this interview, John lived in the first floor apartment of his daughter’s home in Hudson, and he discusses building community in a new place and collaborating with his daughter to share household labor. John also discusses volunteer work around environmental issues, as well as a part of his childhood spent in Burundi.

This interview would be of interest to those hoping to learn about archives, libraries, books, multi-generational living, environmental stewardship, community building, fishing, or the AmericanWest.

Interviewer Bio:
Liza Yeager

Liza Yeager is a freelance audio documentarian and writer who grew up in Oregon. She has worked on many long form radio stories and projects with a particular focus on history and historiography, queerness, and the environment.

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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

Part of this interview may be played in a radio broadcast or podcast.

Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”

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