Kenan Professor of Humanities
College of William and Mary
I couldn't be more grateful for the Friends' fellowship.
It got my book on 20th-century Princeton off to a great start
and, in the process, got me involved--in a good way--with yet another
Princeton history project. I spent almost four weeks in the Mudd Archives
and Firestone researching four chapters.
I finished all of my work on Wilson himself by working
through Henry Bragdon's large collection of memoirs and reminiscences
of those who knew Wilson and worked with him at Princeton. (I had already
worked through the many reels of microfilm of the Library of Congress
collection of similar recollections.) Then I completed my research into
the histories of the PU libraries, the graduate school, and the university
press by dredging the Mudd and Firestone archives and plunging into
the stacks. Charles Greene gave me a wonderful backstairs tour of Firestone
and all of its various departments to anchor my paper researches in
physicality, and Karin Trainer gave me unlimited access to the Librarian's
Reports to the President and other library materials in her office.
I had a long talk with Walter Lippincott at the Press about my work
and left with him a list of material needs, which I have yet to receive
but have hopes of doing so. In the meantime, the PUP archives in Firestone
served me well and gave me more than enough for my chapter on the Press.
Mudd served me equally well for the history of the Graduate
School, but I was also helped immensely by MaryMargaret Halsey and the
staff of John Wilson's graduate office in Nassau Hall. I have now read
every graduate Dean's Report to the President in the last 30-plus years
and several selected ones before that, plus innumerable pamphlets and
articles about the GS in Mudd. One result of this preparation was that
the GS asked me to write the continuation of the Thorp, Myers history
of the GS in time for the centennial in 2000-2001. This I am doing when
I'm not emailing or teaching my classes. As art of my research, I've
devised a 13-item questionnaire for all GS alumni that is being sent
in various ways this coming month. I felt I needed more human and personal
information to add to the factual and statistical data to write a decent
history of an educational institution. The returns from that questionnaire
will eventually be turned over to the Mudd archives as a permanent record.
I had hoped to be farther along in my writing by this
time, but the GS commission has taken all of my "free" time this semester.
As soon as I finish the GS chapter(s) in January, I will return actively
to writing up the marvelous material I have for the four chapters. But
even if I don't finish the writing--which I won't--by mid-May (when
our semester ends), I will be back in Princeton for a few more weeks
of research on other chapters, such as the art museum, financial resources,
faculty, and students. Clearly, without the generous and timely assistance
of the Friends' Fellowship, I would not be able to think of completing
my book in three years, a very quick turnaround for someone with multiple
teaching and graduate responsibilities. I am most grateful.