Announcing the Winner of the Inaugural ATBL Fellowship at Houghton Library and the Library Company of Philadelphia Fellow

The American Trust for the British Library and Houghton Library are pleased to announce that Lauren Eriks Cline, Assistant Professor of English at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, has been awarded the first American Trust for the British Library Fellowship at Houghton Library. This visiting fellowship, a joint initiative between the two institutions, supports a research project in any discipline of the humanities, social sciences, or arts that draws on primary source materials in the collections of both the British Library and Houghton.

LaurenEriksKlein_ATBL_Fellowship_2020Dr. Eriks Cline teaches courses in drama, film, and the novel; literary and cultural theory; and British literature across periods. She will spend two weeks in London and two weeks at Harvard conducting research for her book project, Restaging Race: Victorian Spectators and Imperial Performance Narrative, which considers the ways in which popular performance was used as a tool of the British empire. In four chapters, she analyzes the careers of four stage performers—Frances Kemble, Edmund Kean, Ira Aldridge, and Ellen Terry—to investigate how tropes of nineteenth-century narrative and spectator accounts of theatrical performance shaped the ways Victorians conceptualized race and the racism endemic to the British imperial project. Both libraries contain considerable collections on all four performers.

We are also pleased that the Library Company of Philadelphia Fellow, in connection with ATBL, has been chosen.  She is Rachel Burke, a Ph.D. student in art history at Harvard, and her topic is the African-American antislavery activist Henry Brown, aka “Box” Brown because in 1849 he escaped slavery by shipping himself by railway from Virginia to Philadelphia.  That’s the American side to his story, which she will research at LCP. At the British Library, she will study the British part of his life, where he fled in the 1850s.  At first, he was an antislavery celebrity but after the Civil War he became more of an entertainer, best known for his moving panorama, “Mirror of Slavery,” which he toured all over Britain.  She will look for records of his appearances in newspapers, ephemera collections, and other sources at the BL.

Both will be doing research at the British Library in 2021 when the Library has reopened and it is safe to travel.

New ATBL/British Library/Library Company Fellowship

A new one-month Fellowship Program, sponsored by the American Trust for the British Library and the Library Company of Philadelphia (LCP) was announced. The Fellowship supports a research project drawing on the collections of both the British Library (in any of its departments) and the Library Company. The fellow will be in residence at each library for at least two weeks (not necessarily consecutive) and will receive a stipend of $5,000, which may be applied to transportation and lodging expenses.  Applicants must be US citizens and graduate students or recipients of a doctoral degree within the previous year. Funds are provided by longtime ATBL member and LCP Trustee Davida T. Deutsch. For more information and to apply, visit the Short-Term Fellowships page on the LCP website. The deadline for applying is March 1, 2020.

The Inaugural David N. Redden Lecture at the Grolier Club

A new lecture series presented by the American Trust for the British Library, the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, and the Grolier Club kicked off on Monday evening, October 28, 2019.  Dr. Werner L. Gundersheimer, Director Emeritus of the Folger Shakespeare Library, presented a lecture entitled “David Redden: From the Rooms to the Globe” to a capacity crowd at the Grolier Club.

Held stateside, the David N. Redden Lecture series will complement the Douglas W. Bryant Lecture series hosted annually at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in London.

Inaugural David N. Redden Lecture at The Grolier Club on Vimeo.

Oral History with David N. Redden

The American Trust for the British Library’s Archives Committee is pleased to present the first interview for its Oral History Project. Conducted in August 2018, Dyke Benjamin, ATBL President, and Seana Anderson, Executive Director, interviewed Chairman David N. Redden at his home. Listen below, or read the full transcript of the interview.

ATBL Archive Established at the Grolier Club

The Archives Committee of the American Trust for the British Library and the Grolier Club Library are pleased to announce the completion of the processing of the records of the American Trust for the British Library. The archive consists of 6 boxes of materials (6 linear feet) of the business records of the ATBL, and includes financial and legal records, correspondence, grants and foundations information, publications, photographs, event invitations, and other materials generated by the ATBL between 1979 and 2017. These materials provide a context for and understanding of the transatlantic relationship between the ATBL and the British Library. The Grolier Club Library is the official repository for the ATBL records and will continue to accrue, process, and make incoming materials available for researchers.

The finding aid for the records is available through the Grolier Club’s online catalog (http://grolier.vtls.com:3272/heading/search?theme=grolier) with a complete folder list. For more information about using the Grolier Club Library, please visit the website at www.grolierclub.org/ or contact the Librarian, Meghan Constantinou, at mconstantinou@grolierclub.org / 212.838.6690

This project was completed in the summer of 2018 by Miwa Yokoyama, ATBL’s Archival Consultant. An oral history component to the archive is currently in production and will be available on the ATBL website, through the Grolier Club Library and the British Library Archive.

British Library signs Development Agreement with Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan

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The British Library has signed a development agreement with Stanhope plc and Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd to develop plans to build a 100,000 sq ft extension to the Grade I listed building, which will house state-of-the-art facilities for British Library learning, business and exhibition spaces, a new northern entrance to the Library and a new headquarters for the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, The Alan Turing Institute.

The project will address the need for additional space at one of London’s most iconic buildings which is used by over 1.5 million people each year as a space for research, inspiration and enjoyment.

King’s Cross, St Pancras has undergone significant development over the last twenty years. In 2014 the British Library co-founded the Knowledge Quarter, a collaboration of now over 90 knowledge, creative and research organisations all located within a one mile radius of the British Library. The new extension will progress its role as a centre for creativity, knowledge and innovation. This partnership between the British Library and SMBL will sustain the Library for future generations to enjoy.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library says: “We are delighted to have signed this landmark agreement with our partners, as we take a leading role in expanding the UK’s dynamic knowledge economy. This project ensures we continue to grow as an open, creative and innovative institution at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, in service to our growing public audiences in London, the rest of the UK and around the world. We look forward to working with local and national stakeholders alike, as our shared vision takes shape over the coming months and years.”

More details in the press release.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic Opens at the New-York Historical Society

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Harry Potter: A History of Magic, the British Library’s most successful exhibition, opens at the New-York Historical Society on Friday, October 5. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the New York exhibition explores the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories and showcases a new selection of objects that are on view to the public for the very first time.

Unique to the New York presentation of  the British Library’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition—and on public view for the first time—are Mary GrandPré’s pastel illustrations for the cover artwork of Scholastic’s original editions of the novels; Brian Selznick’s newly created artwork for the covers of the 20th anniversary edition of the Harry Potter series published by Scholastic; cover art by Kazu Kibuishi featured in Scholastic’s 15th anniversary box set; and the enormous steamer trunk used to transport a signed copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on the Queen Mary to the U.S. The exhibition also includes costumes and set models from the award-winning play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Also on display for the first time in the U.S. are Rowling’s handwritten first drafts of The Philosopher’s Stone and Deathly Hallows, her hand-drawn sketch of the Hogwarts grounds, and portraits and sketches of some of the Hogwarts’s professors and magical creatures created by British illustrator Jim Kay. John James Audubon’s watercolor of Snowy Owls, a 1693 publication defending the Salem witch trials, a study of the Woolworth Building—the landmark New York location featured in the film Fantastic Beasts—and other artifacts from New-York Historical’s collection round out the original offerings.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the exhibition website. Opened October 5, 2018 and runs through January 27, 2019.