British-born Sara Day first traveled to America on board the original Queen Mary in 1964 as an adventure, but the United States proved ultimately to be her destiny. In New York, she worked for art auctioneers Sotheby’s-Parke-Bernet, and, back in London, at Sotheby’s headquarters. Her publishing career began with Marshall Cavendish in London. Returning to the States in 1969 with her new husband, she ran the research department for a private mint outside Philadelphia. Since then, while raising a family and living for two years in Switzerland, she spent almost her entire career in historical interpretation as researcher, curator, team leader, writer, and editor, both as a freelancer and on staff.
As the sole first-line researcher on the Philadelphia Bicentennial exhibition A Rising People: The Founding of the United States, 1765-1789, Day was given unlimited access to the “stacks” at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the American Philosophical Society. Following the Bicentennial, her freelance career included researching and writing issues papers for a pharmaceutical giant and articles for the Connoisseur, the Tribune des Arts section of the Tribune de Genève, Art News, and Museum and Arts Washington. Following her return to Washington, she earned a masters in art history with distinction at The American University (1985). Day’s major article “Art History: Crisis or New Horizons?” (Art International, spring 1989) was a wide-ranging study of the state of the discipline in the midst of the Reagan-era “culture wars.” She wrote two books to accompany stamp series for the U.S. Postal Service, was the Postal Service’s stamp-design authenticator, and curated an exhibition on founder Robert S. Brookings for the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Brookings Institution. She joined the exhibitions office of the Library of Congress in 1992 and was subsequently a senior writer-editor in the Library’s publishing office.
Among the team projects Day led for the Library were the 1990 exhibition The American Journalist: Paradox of the Press; the Library’s bicentennial book Thomas Jefferson: Genius of Liberty; the ground-breaking resource guide for women’s history and culture American Women; and historian Robert Remini’s 2006 book The House: The History of the House of Representatives. She edited numerous other books for the Library of Congress, including Many Nations, a resource guide to American Indian history and culture (1996); Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (1998); and Gathering History (1999), describing the largest collection of Americana acquired by the Library. She curated and wrote the text for the traveling version of American Journalist and wrote the text for the Library’s Columbus quincentenary exhibition An Ongoing Voyage (1992).
As an independent scholar since 2006, Day researched and wrote the book Women for Change (2007) about American women reformers. Her latest book, Coded Letters, Concealed Love, was published in 2014. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband.