We commemorate National Women’s History Month 2017 with a series that profiles remarkable women who work for Historical Research Associates (HRA). Libby Provost is a fourth generation Oregonian. In addition to being an Architectural Historian, Libby also works as a line editor in the Portland office. Her collaborative energy and delightful wit makes her a great addition to the HRA team.
HRA: Before working at HRA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
Libby: After earning my BA, I left Oregon and worked in a deli and bakery on the Jersey shore for a year. It was awesome, but convinced me to go to grad school.
HRA: What was your dream job as a kid and why?
Libby: Pediatrician. I have no idea why. Maybe I wanted to be in control of who gave the shots.
HRA: How has HRA helped you in your career development?
Libby: At HRA I am exposed to such a wide variety of projects in the CRM and History divisions. It’s been great to broaden my horizons beyond the projects I was working on as a history consultant.
HRA: What woman inspires you and why?
Libby: My mentor, Kimberli Fitzgerald, Historic Preservation Officer with the City of Salem. She inspires me in the ongoing effort to preserve and present history, and to do so with heart – all while balancing the highs and lows of parenthood.
HRA: If you could interview one woman (dead or alive) who would it be?
Libby: Harriet Tubman.
HRA: What project at HRA has been your greatest success, and why?
Libby: One project I particularly enjoyed was for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), surveying a homestead in Ferry Canyon, in the Lower Deschutes River Valley of Oregon. I performed archival research at the Oregon Historical Society and hit the researching jackpot in a fairly obscure collection on the Oregon Trunk Railroad. It turns out this resource was associated with the railroad construction c. 1911; it served as a regional headquarters for railroad crews and was the site of a wagon road which allowed for the transport of supplies from a high plateau down to the canyon floor. It was rewarding to unearth this information to document the resource for the BLM and any future researchers. And, it was fun to go on a jetboat ride to get out to the site!