President’s 2009 Message to the Membership

The AFIHR board met during the NACBS conference in Louisville early in November. Once again, we are grateful to your contributions which enabled us to make grants of  $16,400 to underwrite important parts of the IHR’s program. The board approved a grant to help graduate students from North America to participate in the History Lab conference on “Spaces and Places” from June 26-29 at the IHR. This is part of our endeavor to acquaint a new generation of graduate students with the IHR Library, its seminars, and its facilities supporting historical research.

Let me encourage those of you who know or teach graduate students to consider applying for a History Lab grant and to find out about the plans for History Lab’s June conference. Our $16,400 allocation is to be devoted to the History Lab conference for graduate students ($2,000), the digitization and addition to British History OnLine (BHO) of Foster’s Alumni Oxoniensis($6,000), and the IHR library purchasing fund ($8,400).

We also created a new membership category for graduate students; they may join us for $30 annually.

The new director of the IHR, Professor Miles Taylor, has just completed his first year, and we enjoyed hearing from him about the progress of numerous initiatives that are under way.

Readers of this report may recall that last year we began an effort to address the problem of access to digital historical sources on-line for those members of our profession who teach at institutions whose libraries cannot afford the subscriptions that must be paid to provide access to these vital materials. Thanks to generous cooperation from the IHR staff in London, we announced at least a partial solution at this time last year. AFIHR members can have access to the “premium content” of BHO for $30 annually.  Among other perks, subscribers to this option can make keyword searches of most of the Calendars of State Papers. Funds generated in this way will be spent on expanding the range and variety of digitized sources for British history. Further details about how all this operates are available on the AFIHR and IHR websites.  We are pleased that approximately fifty of our members have opted to make use of this benefit and hope that more will do so. We especially hope that our efforts to reach younger scholars with news of this option will bear fruit. One of my own graduate students has recently presented in my seminar a terrific dissertation chapter  on the transmission and “spinning” of “news” in the late 1640s and early 1650s which relied heavily on exploitation of this keyword search.

Sincerely yours,

Sears McGee