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.

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We are also pleased to announce The Davida T. Deutsch / ATBL / BL / Library Company of Philadelphia Fellow. 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. This Fellowship is funded by longtime ATBL President’s Council member Davida T. Deutsch.

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

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