Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Announcing the 2014-2015 Post-Doctoral Fellows

The Library Company is pleased to announce the seven recipients of National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Program in African American History (PAAH) Mellon Scholars, and Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) post-doctoral fellows for 2014-2015.

PAAH Mellon Fellow Kabria Baumgartner is an Assistant Professor of History at the College of Wooster. She will examine the Library Company’s collection of friendship albums and schoolbooks used by young African American women as she writes her book, In Pursuit of Knowledge: African American Women and Educational Activism in America's Republic.

NEH Fellow Randy M. Browne is an Assistant Professor of History at Xavier University. During the fall 2014 semester, he will use the Library Company’s collection of rare Caribbean travel narratives and memoirs and printed materials on British abolitionism to transform his dissertation “Surviving Slavery: Politics, Power, and Authority in the British Caribbean, 1807–1834” into a book.

PEAES Fellow Manuel Covo earned his Ph.D. in History at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. He hopes to transform his dissertation “Trade, Empire, and Revolutions in the Atlantic World: Saint-Domingue, between the Metropole and the United States (1778-1804)” into a book. He plans to study the political economy of the early Republic with material such as the literature surrounding the Jay Treaty controversy unavailable in his native France.

NEH Fellow Benjamin Fagan is an Assistant Professor of English and African & African-American Studies at the University of Arkansas. When he arrives at the Library Company in Spring 2015, he will continue work on his book manuscript “The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation,” which considers the ways in which antebellum black Americans used the newspaper to aid liberation efforts and to express their belief that they were God’s chosen people.

PAAH Mellon Fellow Aston Gonzales is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at University of Michigan. His dissertation “Designing Humanity: African American Activist Art, 1830-1880” examines African American artists’ work that challenged the racial stereotypes depicted in popular culture.

NEH and PEAES Fellow Brian Luskey is an Associate Professor of History at West Virginia University. He will use his year at the Library Company to work on his book Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight: The Cultural Economy of the American Civil War. He plans to look at Civil War ephemera such as business trade cards, recruitment posters, and sheet music, and Civil War era newspapers, periodicals, and pamphlets that chronicle wartime debates about political economy.

NEH Fellow Nicholas P. Wood is an Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He hopes to expand on his dissertation “Considerations of Humanity and Expediency: The Slave Trades and African Colonization in the Early National Antislavery Movement,” which examines the ways in which abolitionists and black activists created a national agenda to end slavery.

"By Dawn's Early Light" at the Center for Jewish History

Courtesy of The American Jewish Historical Society's Facebook page

Materials from the Library Company’s collections will be featured in an exhibition at the Center for Jewish History in New York that looks at the contributions of Jewish people in the early Republic and the creation of American Jewish culture.  “By Dawn’s Early Light,” on view from March 16 through May 30, brings together objects from the Princeton University Library's Leonard L. Milberg '53 Jewish-American Writers Collection with additional materials from the Library Company and the American Jewish Historical Society.

The Library Company’s collections offer many insights into the lives and letters of American Jews from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. With the gift of the personal library of Edwin Wolf 2nd in 1980, our collection of American Jewish history became one of the most significant of its kind. Strengths of the collection include Hebrew grammars and lexicons; bibles and books of psalms and lamentations in Hebrew; early American editions of Josephus’ History of the Jews; business and legal documents relating to entrepreneurial activity by Jews; Jewish family papers; a complete collection of the early publications of the Jewish Hospital of Philadelphia; early American works on Jewish history, political theory, and philosophy; linguistic works attempting to relate Hebrew to Native American languages; an extensive library of images of historic Philadelphia Jewish individuals, families, and businesses; and books owned or inscribed by prominent Philadelphia Jews.

The exhibition includes more than 140 items, including books, photographs, paintings, prints, sheet music, scripts, and correspondence.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Courtesy of Indiana University

On Tuesday, March 18, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, will give a special presentation to Library Company members on the significance of African American archival repositories. A media commentator and former professor of African-American History at Indiana University, Dr. Muhammad is the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, winner of the American Studies Association’s John Hope Franklin Publication Prize in 2011.

Dr. Muhammad is at the forefront of scholarship on the enduring link between race and crime that has shaped and limited opportunities for African Americans. He is now working on his second book, Disappearing Acts: The End of White Criminality in the Age of Jim Crow, which traces the historical roots of the changing demographics of crime and punishment so evident today.

He spent two years as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow on Race, Crime, and Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice after earning his Ph.D. in American History from Rutgers University.

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