Update for the Boston Summer Seminar


“Barred Owl,” 1980, Public Domain

The holiday season invites a look back on the year about to end, and this year’s accounting has been harder for me than in past years for many reasons, not least of which has to do with the Boston Summer Seminar.  Last September, after our second successful summer (more here), I was informed by my grants officer at the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), our sponsoring organization, that changes in funding on their side had inadvertently orphaned the BSS.  Going forward, they have no way to fund the seminar at the same levels and in its current form.  Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, our seminar liaison librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and I spent several months strategizing about what to do.  I also consulted BSS alumni. Administrators at my home institution, Hope College, worked mightily to find options.  Until earlier this month, I was hoping there would be some way to cobble together enough funding for another summer, so we could continue our work in the archives and our fascinating conversations.  Alas, this is not possible, at least not for the coming year.

So this is adieu to the BSS community – for now.  I have so many thanks to give: to Anna, to the MHS, to all our participating archivists and archives, and to our fabulous research teams of faculty and students.  I will keep the BSS website up for reference and as a record of what we have accomplished together.  For those following on Twitter, please know that in the new year I will be turning the BSS account into a professional account under my own name.

One more note:  Anna and I own the idea for the seminar, which means we may try to find another home for it in the future in a somewhat different form with another funding source.  We would be eager to hear of your interest going forward; feel free to contact Natalie Dykstra at ndykstra@hope.edu or Anna Clutterbuck-Cook at acook@masshist.org.

All of that is for the future.  For now, please accept our heartfelt thanks for making the seminar a success.  And we wish for you a productive and safe new year!


“Twas the Night Before Christmas,” Public Domain

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