Celebrating 25 Years of Early American
McNeil Center's Plans for New
left to right) Dr. Richard Dunn, Dr. Daniel Richter, Mr.
Robert McNeil, Jr., and Dr. Samuel Preston at the McNeil
Center's 25th anniversary celebration.
McNeil Center for Early American Studies celebrated its 25th
in December by announcing plans for its new building. The Center,
which is directed by history professor Dr. Daniel K. Richter,
specializes in the histories and cultures of North America
before 1850, with an emphasis on the mid-Atlantic region and
on promoting the scholarly use of the Philadelphia area's unparalleled
of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel H. Preston presented the
plans, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, at an anniversary
celebration for the center's past and current fellows, advisory
board members, and other friends on December 11. The building,
which will be the Center's first permanent home in its 25-year
history, will be located on 34th Street north of Walnut Street,
situated adjacent to the newly landscaped gateway to the campus--Hill
Square. Construction is expected to begin next fall.
the event, President Judith Rodin said, "With its prominent
location, the building will be a beacon for scholars of early
history and a reminder to all that study of this period belongs
at the heart of a liberal arts education."
operates as a consortium of 16 mid-Atlantic colleges, universities,
libraries, museums, and historical societies, including the
American Philosophical Association, the Library Company of
Philadelphia, the Winterthur Museum, and the Historical Society
of Pennsylvania. It offers pre- and post-doctoral fellowships,
a seminar series attended by scholars from throughout the mid-Atlantic
region, and national symposia on specialized topics. In cooperation
with the University of Pennsylvania Press, the McNeil Center
also publishes a book series and Early American Studies:
An Interdisciplinary Journal.
the years, approximately 130 young scholars have received
research fellowships from the Center at crucial early stages
of their careers. Most have gone on to distinguished teaching
careers at universities and colleges throughout the United
States and Great Britain. The current group of fellows hails
from ten different universities and is conducting research
on diverse topics from British naval impressment, to the practice
of science in the late eighteenth century, to working men's
reading habits in the Early Republic.
professor of history Dr. Richard S. Dunn founded the Center
as the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies in 1978.
It was renamed in honor of its longtime benefactor, former
McNeil Laboratories chairman Robert L. McNeil, Jr., in 1998.
The Barra Foundation and Mr. McNeil made a pledge last year
to build the center's new home and to provide a permanent endowment
for the building's operational costs (Almanac January
21, 2003). At the recent event, Dean Preston thanked Mr. McNeil
for his steadfast support of the center, noting that many of
the Center's achievements were made possible through his generosity.
information see the McNeil Center website, at www.mceas.org/.