Kelsey Scouten Bates Named Interim Director at The Rosenbach [press release]

For immediate release. 

The Board of Directors of The Rosenbach is pleased to announce the appointment of Kelsey Scouten Bates as the Interim Director of The Rosenbach.

Bates has served as The Rosenbach’s Associate Director and Director of Development since February 2014 and was hired following the formation of its formal partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation to implement a robust fundraising program. Since then, The Rosenbach has achieved the highest level of financial security since the financial crisis of 2008 thanks to growing support from individual, foundation, and corporate donors in Philadelphia and beyond.

Bates brings 25 years of experience in special collections and development to lead one of Philadelphia’s most important cultural organizations. A native of Maryland, she has held positions in a wide variety of arts and humanities organizations across the country. She was Assistant Archivist and the first Director of Development at the Birmingham Public Library in Alabama, which boasts one of the most important Civil Rights era archives in the country. She was Director of Development at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, a contemporary art museum founded by American artist Donald Judd. Prior to leaving Maryland, she was a Grants Writer at the Baltimore Museum of Art and Program Coordinator for Heritage Preservation in Washington, DC, where she assisted small museums and historic houses across the country to assess the conservation needs for their humanities collections and historic structures.

“I have moved back-and-forth across the country to work with wonderful institutions that hold impressive collections of art and collections of books,” Bates said. “I have found The Rosenbach to be an astounding rare book and manuscript collection that is art, literature, and history combined.”

Bates has a B.A. in American History from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an M.S. in Writing from Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. She writes about and has published in the fields of American history and rhetoric and believes it is incumbent upon institutions like The Rosenbach to create more entry points into the study of literature and history. “I am impressed with the creative ways the organization has been able to share well-known and lesser-known material with a public that is anxious to learn about, discuss, and use historic collections like ours,” she said. “We will continue to offer more opportunities for more of the public to engage with the world-class objects and inspiring content found here.”

Stepping into the Director of Development role will be Bethany Chisholm, who most recently served as Assistant Director of Development and has been with The Rosenbach since March 2019. Chisholm was most recently Director of Development for the Philadelphia Parks Alliance and brings with her experience working with humanities collections, having served as the Manager of Annual Giving and Special Events at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Longtime Executive Director, Derick Dreher, announced his retirement in January after 22 years leading The Rosenbach. Dreher plans to fully retire from his position in March 2021.


About The Rosenbach

The Rosenbach creates unique experiences for broad audiences through programs inspired by its world-class holdings of literature and history. The Rosenbach is located in Center City Philadelphia and is open to the public with growing content available at all times on The Rosenbach is affiliated with the Free Library of Philadelphia.