Kay Grigsby

Kay Grigsby

Northwest Iowa native Kay Grigsby is the inaugural Grant Price Endowed Archivist at Wartburg College.

Grigsby earned her Bachelor of Arts in history and anthropology, as well as a certificate in museum studies, from the University of Iowa. She later earned a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Most recently, Grigsby served as the resource management librarian at Graceland University, and prior to that she was the archives and special collections librarian at Des Moines University.

At the University of Iowa, she served as a collections processing intern where she processed the collections of two university professors and fell in love with the archives.

“It was everything I loved about history and being able to peer into the lens of their lives. I was working with the physical elements they left behind and bringing order to the chaos so it could be accessible for others,” Grigsby said. “That sealed the deal for me.”

The Grant Price Endowed Archivist position was established through a $1.2 million gift from David McCartney and James Petersen of Iowa City. The position is named for the pioneering Iowa broadcast journalist and former chair of the college’s communication arts department. It is the college’s 21st endowed position and the eighth in the past decade.

In 1994, the Wartburg College library saw an expansion of the Wartburg Archives and addition of the Archives of Iowa Broadcasting (AIB), initiated by Price. After Price’s death in 2008, a $2 million gift from his estate funded both a chair in communication arts at Wartburg College and an endowment to support the AIB.

“James and I both felt that, in fulfilling Grant’s vision, this would be an appropriate way to help the long chapter that we have had in attempting to make this a lasting and permanent position,” said McCartney about the donation from him and his husband, a retired arts administrator and longtime musician.

Grigsby was not familiar with Price prior to interviewing for the position.

“Despite that, one of the most interesting aspects of being an archivist is going from being completely unaware of people and events and their contributions, to being personally invested and involved in their impact and the continuance of their legacy,” she said. “I hope that my work is a testament to the investment of all of those who have poured their time, passion and financial contributions into AIB, including Grant Price.”