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  • Clémence R. Scouten

Giving back: serving as President of PHNN

I had never heard the term "personal historian" until after I started my business. I stumbled across The Association of Personal Historians (APH) by accident and joined immediately. It was exactly what I needed.

The World of Personal Historians

Personal historian is the term used to describe the people who help others document their or their family's story. It's sort of like hiring someone to write your memoir or autobiography for you. Or, to write a book about your family for you. Of course, some people prefer videos or audio recordings over books, and that is an option as well.

In the early years I leaned on seasoned personal historians a great deal to get up to speed on everything I needed to know to run a successful business. Unfortunately, APH shut down soon after I joined.

Regional Personal Historian Associations

Soon there popped up local chapters of personal historians. There are three I know of: one on the west coast and two on the east cost. I got lucky again and joined the one in my area, Personal Historians Northeast Network (PHNN). I am constantly surprised by what a fun and giving group this is. It's mission is to support the work of personal historians but also to recruit new professionals to the field.

It's now my turn to give back: This year I became the president of PHNN. We're a small group but there is much work to be done. I'm thrilled at the opportunity to move our organization forward and humbled by the trust my peers have put in me.

We have updated our website and are actively recruiting new members. Guests are welcome to all our meetings other than our quarterly business meetings. Topics range from problem solving to sharing best practices to hearing from the heavy-hitters in the field. A regularly updated list is always available on our website home page.

The Joy of Personal History Projects

Becoming a personal historian is one of the best things to happen to me. I love connecting with my clients, many of whom become friends. I am amazed with every interview and book published at how meaningful the process has been to both the client and myself.

To any personal historians reading this, I hope you will visit PHNN and consider joining us for some of our meetings--or becoming a member!

To potential clients reading this, be sure to take a look at the Find a Personal Historian page to see the range of services and geographies we serve. Have questions? Don't hesitate to reach out!

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