Encountering a new “New World”

On July 30th Edward Widmer, Director of the John Carter Brown Library (JCB), invited our research group to visit this library, crucial for every Atlantic historian. We took the train to Providence and in an hour met him in the beautiful building at Brown University´s campus.  Besides the pleasure of going back to the library—where I was fellow in 2008—, the warm welcome we received and the rich explanations about the materials we could find there, we discovered how an old library was transmuted into a New World helping historians in unprecedented ways. Since 2008 they have digitized and made public a large amount of unique books allowing historians from everywhere to have access to them. The library´s new policy of making some of its material available from afar does not stop scholars from visiting the library and working there—they provide fellowships for that–, quite the opposite. Edward Widmer knows well that JCB´s collection is absolutely exceptional and that JCB fellows who arrive to work on a research project leave with at least two concluded projects, and with new perspectives out of the scholarly exchange between the Atlantic historians researching in such a scholar´s paradise. The whole group is immensely grateful to him for the time and dedication he devoted to us last Friday.

Eva Botella Ordinas, coordinator of Atlantic Empires.

About atlanticempires

ATLANTIC EMPIRES (Æ) is the short name of a group of advanced research in Modern History hosted and financed by Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University (RCC). The complete name of the group is From Empire to Nation: The Making of Modern Nations in the Crisis of the Atlantic Empires (17th-20th Centuries), which constitutes also the field of its research. The group will be working at Real Colegio Complutense from July 1 thru August 31, 2010. Throughout this period, Æ will develop its research project and present its first findings and results in a set of seminars and panels, some of them with the contribution of other specialists and groups of research. Also, Æ will host three extraordinary conferences at RCC, given by Prof. J. Varela Ortega (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and Fundación Ortega y Gasset, Madrid), Prof. David Armitage (Harvard University), and Prof. Stanley Payne (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Æ benefits from the financial support of Banco Santander. Æ is composed by eleven researchers: Juan Francisco Fuentes (director), Eva Botella (coordinator), Octavio Ruiz-Manjón, Josep Maria Fradera, Javier Fernández Sebastián, José Antonio Sánchez Román, María Antonia Fernández, Margarita Márquez, Antonio Terrasa, Florentino Rodao and Regina Martínez (grant holder and responsible of the blog).
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