|BPL archivist Jim Baggett presenting Whiting Award to Bobby Joe Seales|
The Society of Alabama Archivists and the Birmingham Public Library presented the 4th annual Marvin Yeomans Whiting Award at the society’s annual meeting at Auburn University on October 16. The award is named for the Birmingham Public Library’s first archivist and recognizes an individual, institution, or organization that has made a significant contribution to the preservation of local history in Alabama.
The 2015 award was presented to Bobby Joe Seales, who has served as president of the Shelby County Historical Society and executive director of the Shelby County Museum and Archives for 16 years. He will retire from both positions on November 1, 2015. Under his leadership the museum and archives has grown into one of the finest county archives in Alabama, and is visited by thousands of people each year. As president of the historical society he has helped increase membership from fewer than 200 people to approximately 1,000 today.
Bobby works in partnership with the University of Montevallo and other organizations to collect, preserve, and digitize the historical records of Shelby County, and his work has been recognized by Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and by the Alabama Daughters of the American Revolution.
He serves on the Board of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, as a member of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, and has served as president of the Friends of the Columbiana Public Library.
Quoting from the nomination for this award submitted by Phoebe Donald Robinson, a columnist for the Shelby County Reporter: "Bobby Joe Seales has committed his life to serve others and preserve history. I submit that no one is more deserving of this award, and that the timing is perfect to honor him."
Archives and Manuscripts Department