William Stingone has been the Charles J. Liebman Curator of Manuscripts at The New York Public Library since 2003. He was recently named Assistant Director for Archives and Manuscripts, making him responsible for the coordination and oversight of the acquisition, processing, preservation, and servicing of the Library's archives and manuscript collections in a diverse range of subjects and a variety of media. From 2001–2003 Stingone was curator of the Carnegie Philanthropy Collections at Columbia University. He began his professional career as an archivist in NYPL's Manuscripts and Archives Division in 1995. He also spent 18 months at NYPL working as the assistant to the Mellon Director. While earning his MLIS at University of Texas, he interned at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.
What are your favorite books?
Thomas Bernhard, Wittgenstein's Nephew
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Olof and Lena Landström, Will Gets a Haircut
Edmund Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Robert Motherwell, editor, The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology
Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities
What are your favorite movies?
Down By Law, directed by Jim Jarmusch
Fitzcarraldo, directed by Werner Herzog
Out of Sight, directed by Steven Soderbergh
Trust, directed by Hal Hartley
Wings of Desire, directed by Wim Wenders
What are your favorite albums/CDs?
It's impossible to pick favorites, but the last few years I seem mostly to listen to things recorded in the early 70s, like Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain (by strategy), Roxy Music's Siren, and John Cale's Paris 1919. Nick Cave's Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! is his best in years. And lately The Johnny Cash Children's Album has been getting a lot of play at home.
Why do you love The New York Public Library?
The Library is built for the long term good, not immediate results. Collecting archives for research requires patience. It takes time — maybe decades — for people and organizations to become of historical interest, for the Library's staff to collect and make their archives accessible, and then for researchers to use this material to produce works of scholarship. So much of what we do is built on our predecessors' successes of the past 100 years, and our own accomplishments can only truly be measured decades from now. The Library provides us all with the opportunity to make our small contributions to the grand pursuit of knowledge and understanding.