The JCB’s Fellowship Program turns 50 this year, and the Library is celebrating with a reunion conference, June 7-10. For information about the Library itself, please visit our main website at www.jcbl.org.
In 1960, at its May 10 meeting, the Committee of Management of the John Carter Brown Library decided the time had come “to ask the advice of people who use the Library about ways to increase its value.” And so, in November of the same year representatives from the Library Associates, the faculty of Brown University, and “the world of scholarship” (including Bernard Bailyn and Edmund S. Morgan) came together to make recommendations for the Library’s future. Along with advice to improve the catalogue, renovate the basement, increase fundraising for acquisitions, sponsor conferences to “examine underdeveloped facets of the Early History of the Americas,” and publish more on the Library’s holdings, came the proposal to create “a series of Library Fellows” to “bring – on a short-term basis — a variety of scholars to work in the collection.”
Lloyd A. Brown and Joyce Ransome arrived less than two years later, one to study maps, the other to read the sermons by New England divines. They were followed by David Corkran III, Vsevolod Slessarev, and David B. Quinn in 1963-64; and by the end of the decade the Library had hosted 25 scholars in residence.
Four decades later we count close to 750 former JCB Fellows, and to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the program’s albeit modest beginnings, the Library is hosting a celebratory conference for June 7-10, 2012, on the elegantly simple theme of Robert Spiller’s contribution to the seminal 1960 gathering, “The Use of Old Sources in New Ways.” Given the obvious electronic strides since then, the online access to (almost all of) the Library’s “card” catalogue, the digitization of whole volumes in large parts of the collection, and the remote and free access to primary materials now afforded by these advances, what are some of the “new ways” that scholars and educators are using and will use the “old sources” – the unparalleled collection of books, maps, and manuscripts – in the JCB?
The conference will be an opportunity to reflect on the state of the questions in the areas of inquiry for which the Library is both widely and little known, a chance to consider methodologies and how they’ve been transformed by the digital turn and other less tangible developments, and an excuse just to bring together several generations and classes of JCB Fellows for good food, conversation, and fellowship.
The Conference could not have come together without the generous assistance of a volunteer committee of nineteen former fellows (listed below), working with Ted Widmer, Margot Nishimura, Val Andrews, Maureen O’Donnell, Leslie Tobias-Olsen (who designed the conference logo!), and the rest of the JCB staff, as well as the staff from the Office of Events and Conference Services, the Media Productions Group, and Media Services at Brown University.
Fellows’ 50th Anniversary Conference Planning Committee
(with year of fellowship and professional affiliation)
Edward “Ted” Andrews (2007-2008), Providence College, Dept. of History
Ralph Bauer (1996-1997; 2010-2011), University of Maryland, Dept. of English
Trevor G. Burnard (1995-1996), The University of Melbourne, Dept. of History
Joyce E. Chaplin (1997-1998), Harvard University, Dept. of History
Paul Cohen (2007-2008), University of Toronto, Dept. of History
Christian A. Crouch (2003-2004; 2010-2011), Bard College, Historical Studies
Jordana Dym (2011-2012), Skidmore College, Dept. of History; Director, Latin American Studies
Carlos Gálvez-Peña (2008-2009), College of William & Mary, Dept. of History
Karen B. Graubart (1997-1998; 2009-2010), University of Notre Dame, Dept. of History
Wim Klooster (1995-1996; 2006-2007), Clark University, Dept. of History
Kittiya Lee (2001-2002; 2011-2012), California State University, Los Angeles
Steve Mentz (2008-2009), St. John’s University, Dept. of English
Kenneth R. Mills (1995-1996; 2002-2003), University of Toronto, Dept. of History
Stella E. Nair (2001-2002; 2006-2007), University of California, Riverside, Dept. of History of Art
Janice Neri (2007-2008), Boise State University, Dept. of Art
Marcy Norton (1997-1998; 2010-2011), George Washington University, Dept. of History
Kathryn E. Sampeck (2008-2009), Illinois State University, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology
Edward “Mac” Test (2009-2010), Boise State University, Dept. of English
Wil M. Verhoeven (2001-2002; 2010-2011), University of Groningen, The Netherlands, Dept. of American Studies