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Cory W. Dieterly, archivist

Moravian College archivist, Cory Dieterly outside the Rare Books Room.

I graduated from Drexel University with a master of arts in library and information science with a concentration in archival studies. During my undergrad years, I studied English at Moravian College for a while, and I received my bachelor of arts in communication and media studies from East Stroudsburg University.

What is your role at the college, and what drew you to this profession?

My title is College and Seminary Archivist and Assistant to the Library Director. When I was an undergrad at Moravian, I worked the circulation desk at Reeves Library and I loved the job. I really enjoyed being around books, always finding good things to read, helping others, and I just loved being in Reeves Library. This experience is what opened my eyes to librarianship as a possible career. It is also where I learned about archives, and so now you could say that I have come full circle. I am extremely happy to be working in my favorite library and at Moravian College where there is so much history and so many interesting stories.

Being local and Moravian, I find it especially exciting that my job is to explore the history of my own community. I am always learning cool facts about things and places that I have a personal connection to. For instance, I was recently researching the college and the Lehigh Valley’s connection to the Civil War, and I learned that the house across the street from mine in Nazareth was once a firehouse, and in 1862, Captain Owen Rice, a graduate of Moravian Theological Seminary (class of 1856) and a teacher at Nazareth Hall, recruited one of the earliest companies of volunteer infantry there (Company A of the 153 Pennsylvania Regiment). It is said that he was tasked with enlisting 34 men to his company, but he gave such a passionate speech to those who came to hear him that he enlisted 50. They then drilled daily in the town square until it was time to ship out.  

Share something about yourself that people may not know.

I am a creative person. I like to paint and play bass guitar. I like to play all types of music. I mostly enjoy the pursuit of perfection when playing. The challenge of never missing a note, and getting lost in the music, although due to the pandemic this hobby has fallen to the wayside. I mostly paint these days when I get time. I like to do pop art style portraits with bright acrylics and metallic spray paint.

What is your favorite spot on campus?

Reeves Library because the library is the intellectual heart of any college campus. It is a place you go to get work done. It is a place where you can hide out amongst the stacks of books and become immersed in deep thoughts. And it's also a place where you can meet up with friends or colleagues, either intentionally or unintentionally, and share your thoughts and ideas. It's a special place and it offers a unique atmosphere that cannot be emulated by an ebook database on your laptop.

What is your favorite Moravian College tradition?

Founder’s Day because it offers a great opportunity to learn about our community’s rich history. This year the theme will be “Women Leaders of the Past, Present, and Future,” and I am enjoying assisting the Department of Alumni Engagement with identifying notable female figures from the college’s past and putting together a slideshow about them. I must admit, though, that my list is starting to get out of hand, so if you attend the presentation and notice that I left someone out, know that it was not intentional, but rather due to the fact that the college has such a rich history of accomplished alumni, and I only have so much time.

What do you enjoy doing when you are away from campus?

Cook for my family and friends. It is a form of artistic and creative expression for me. I find it relaxing, fulfilling, and delicious. And unlike other creative hobbies, you can typically complete it in an hour.

What book, film, song, or piece of art has so touched you that you find it enduring/unforgettable?

I am a big Star Trek fan. I like all of the series, but the original series is my favorite. Overall, I find Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a future, where people have learned to value cooperation and celebrate each other's diversity rather than give in to selfish tribalist/nationalist/racist impulses, to be encouraging and a worthwhile goal for the future of humankind. Star Trek teaches that "The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity and the ways our differences combine to create meaning and beauty." This is the Vulcan philosophy of infinite diversity in infinite combinations. We are all different in some way or another, whether that be physically, culturally, politically, and so forth, and we should recognize this and celebrate these differences rather than fight over them because they are what makes life interesting and pleasurable.

I can never resist a good _____.

Coffee. I drink an absurd amount of coffee every day.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

I don’t know if this is the best advice, but try to say yes to as many things as possible. When I was young, a friend asked if I wanted to go to Tokyo with him. I said “When?” He said, “Thursday!” I said, “Sure!” I had never traveled anywhere in my life. I had also just been laid off from my job, so it was probably not the most financially responsible decision, but I had little to lose. I spent two weeks sleeping on a bunk bed in a hostel that cost $25 a day and eating cucumber sandwiches daily, but I also met many new friends from all over the world, and we had a lot of fun adventures together.

Just after I finished college, I accepted a position working at an Islamic School. I knew nothing about Islam at the time, and the only Muslim person I had ever met was a Lebanese friend whom I met in Tokyo, but I seemed to have a good rapport with the person who interviewed me, and I thought it would be interesting to learn about another religion. Add to that, it would be good work experience. I got everything I bargained for and more. I learned about Islam, but I also learned about many other religions and cultures too. I made many friends in the local interfaith community, and being the lone librarian at a small nonprofit, I was able to try my hand at many different tasks and gain a lot of valuable experience that I might not have had working in a narrowly defined role at a larger institution. So saying yes is a piece of advice that has opened me up to life experiences I never imagined I would have had, introduced me to many good people I might not have otherwise met, led me to a variety of opportunities I might not have come across, and left me with many interesting stories to tell.

Share something that makes you feel happy.

Spending time with my family because they are always fun, loving, and supportive to be around.

Cory Dieterly grew up in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

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