Harold D. Moser, 1938-2016

Moser, Harold D.

Harold D. Moser, longtime editor of both the Daniel Webster and Andrew Jackson Papers projects, passed away on April 4, 2016. A published obituary notes his contributions to the field of documentary editing and the Early Republic:

Harold’s more than thirty-year career was under the aegis of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission’s (NHPRC’s) mandate to publish the papers of national political figures. From 1971 until 1979 he was a documentary editor and then editor of the correspondence series at the Daniel Webster Papers Project at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., producing five volumes of Webster’s correspondence. From 1979 until his retirement in 2004 he was editor-director of the Papers of Andrew Jackson, first at the Hermitage in Nashville and then at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Under his direction, the project published volumes 2-7 of the Jackson Papers. He also published two book-length bibliographies, of Daniel Webster and of President John Tyler.

As Dan Feller noted in posting the news to the Scholarly Editing Forum (SEDIT-L), “Harold introduced new editorial policies at the Jackson project, including the inclusion of a calendar, which have been retained in later volumes. Harold also oversaw the project’s physical removal from the Hermitage in Nashville to the campus of its institutional sponsor, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where it remains today.” In another SEDIT-L post, Charlene Bickford shared her memories of Moser:

I was so sorry to read about Harold Moser’s passing. The news caused me to reflect upon the unfortunate reality that when documentary editors retire, we often lose touch with them. I have strong memories of informal conversations with Harold during professional meetings–discussing and planning advocacy efforts. I remain grateful that he was such a strong and creative supporter in our seemingly never ending battles in defense of documentary editing and on behalf of the federal programs that assist our work. He was instrumental in the Tennessee Presidents consortium (the Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson papers), which worked to educate members of that state’s delegation in Congress and convert them into supporters of the cause of saving the NHPRC’s grants program. We can all be grateful for his activism in support of documentary editing.

The End of the Republic

Taking the lead from the nation, which believes that nothing occurred between the Constitution and the Civil War, the Republic is coming to an end after a short tenure.

Let’s be honest–SHEARites have nothing to contribute to the nation’s historical illiteracy. Weighing in on 21st-century debates about race relations and immigration doesn’t really make sense. Modern-day presidential politics are so different from that of, say, the Jacksonian period that making comparisons would be absurd. And none of the historical figures of the period are cool enough to write a musical about.

So, we go gentle into that good night, not with a bang but with a whimper!

Patricia Cline Cohen Remembers the Late Drew Cayton

Picture for cayton.3Patricia Cline Cohen (President, 2012) concludes this series with her memories of Drew Cayton:

Before 2011 I had only met Drew in passing at various SHEAR meetings over the years. Our friendship really began when I joined the troika of future, current, past presidents of SHEAR. Our two years of overlap on the executive committee were active years indeed, and I can recall countless three-way conference calls and emails aplenty – my inbox contains 200 messages from Drew from 2011 to 2013. It is both heartening and immensely saddening to look them over now; his judicious voice is so vibrant in all of them. He handled high priority questions as well as mundane organizational matters with grace and tact. He was thorough in his consultations and made excellent decisions.

His presidential year came at the 2012 Baltimore conference. As his understudy, I watched in wonder as he overscheduled his time in the three hours before his presidential address by hosting a meeting to assess social media in SHEAR that was shoehorned into the late afternoon break. Immediately after came the business meeting, leaving a very short downtime before his pre-dinner address. I figured he must be really well prepared, to require no mental rehearsal space.

It was my privilege to introduce him at that address.  Drew sent me his full CV–a very impressive and dense 22 pages. Three things struck me in studying his CV. One was the high caliber of research productivity, honors, residential fellowships, and awards; no surprise there, he fully lived up to his job title, University Distinguished Professor. A second feature of his career, one not so common at all, was the extent to which he engaged in collaborative publications with other historians. And third, his presidential address that night marked a major departure from his career-defining research agenda, a move from the old Northwest, war and imperialism, into the field of early American novels and gender, presaging Love in the Time of Revolution (2013). The range of his interests and expertise was truly remarkable.

After Drew rotated off the executive committee, our contact became less frequent. Yet he did write me a break-a-leg note of encouragement about two weeks before my scheduled presidential address, in which he revealed that every past president he was aware of had started writing their speech about two weeks before the big event. I had started writing mine, but I sure had not finished, and it was so thoughtful of him, and reassuring to me, to let me know that fevered fast finishes were the custom of our tribe.

Losing Drew Cayton, and at such an untimely age, is such a huge loss to all of us.  I feel privileged to have worked with him in SHEAR.

Patricia Cline Cohen, 2012 SHEAR President

Next month’s OAH program includes a session, “Remembering Andrew R. L. ‘Drew’ Cayton,” which will be held on Thursday, April 7, from 1:45-3:15 P.M. If you will be in Providence, please make plans to attend.

Paul Gilje Remembers the Late Drew Cayton

 

Paul Gilje (President, 2008) offers his thoughts on Drew Cayton in the second post of our series:

I first met Drew about forty years ago – when he began his graduate studies at Brown. What struck me about Drew from the very first day was his enthusiasm for history. Over the years, at Brown and after, I watched as Drew took that enthusiasm and applied it to the history he wrote. He developed into one of the premier historians of the early republic. He did so not only because of his enthusiasm. No, there was a suppleness of mind and a willingness to ask new and tough questions, finding answers in interesting places. These qualities appeared in his books, essays and articles. Several of his shorter pieces are classics in terms of research, writing, and most important, thinking (see for example his essay on the Treaty of Greenville). Recognized as the scholar who best understood the Old Northwest, Drew was willing to turn to new vistas. I was blown away when Drew presented his SHEAR presidential address on literary and cultural history and read his elaboration on the subject of that lecture in Love in the Time of Revolution with awe at his versatility and breadth of knowledge.

Drew was a clever, funny, and engaging man. He was an absolute natural in the classroom. I envied his ease of style and ability to relate to those he was teaching. I feel blessed that he came to an NEH Institute I was directing because I had the opportunity to experience his teaching at first hand. Finally, when I think of Drew I most remember the personal moments: when we danced (not with each other) at a disco party at Brown (it was the mid-’70s), or drove together to a mall near Providence to buy Christmas presents for our wives, or decades later in a Washington bar chatting late at night at the AHA, and most recently, spending two days together when he came to Norman in the summer of 2014. I consider myself lucky to have known Drew and that I could call him a friend.

Paul Gilje

 

John L. Brooke Remembers the Late Drew Cayton

This week, The Republic will be publishing a series of posts containing former SHEAR presidents’ remembrances of the late Drew Cayton, the 2011 SHEAR president. John L. Brooke (President, 2007) begins our series with his memories of Drew and his short tenure at Ohio State University:

Drew Cayton set up shop late last summer, in the office next to mine in Dulles Hall. His time in our department was a brief but memorable flash.

Early last June, in response to a routine “hi, what are your plans” email, Drew let me know that he was not doing well. By the mid-summer, when I saw him and Mary at the new place in the Circles south of campus, it was clear that things were extremely serious. But suddenly, in early August, we got a call: Drew and Mary were on their way over for a visit on our back porch. What we expected would be a short and solemn fifteen minutes turned into a hilarious hour and half. Drew was on the mend, and the four of us had a wonderful time, chatting, laughing, and swilling lemonade on a hot Columbus afternoon.

Two weeks later he and Mary arrived and held court at the department picnic, and then, as the semester got under way, Drew started unpacking his books in 248 Dulles, slowly and deliberately, carefully thinking through the architecture of his intellectual life. We began to kibitz and conspire on field and department in a quiet way; we were starting to build the continuous, staccato pattern of departmental colleagues. Sometime in October I raced over, late, to the Executive Board meeting of the Ohio Academic History, in the cavernous concrete bunker rooms of the Ohio Historical Center. Drew was in charge, presiding quietly, in a role that we will long remember. Drew gave his time, tirelessly, to a host of institutional commitments, and the meeting that afternoon bore his signature: deliberate, cordial, encouraging, cutting through road blocks with a wry smile, a gentle wave, and a cogent plan.Picture for brooke.10

By then the graduate students were flocking to his door, tentatively, shyly, at first. Then I walk by to find that he is again holding court. First it was a pair regularly meeting to discuss Midwestern historiography, then others were stopping by. Drew was not officially on the teaching roster, but by last September he was getting the urge to teach, and launched a seven-week intensive course on the new Loyalist literature, which filled instantly. He was also in regular attendance at the Ohio Seminar, commenting on great sessions with Lindsay Regale and Michael McDonnell. We had a great historian and a fine colleague among us.

Then, suddenly in late November, his office fell quiet, and all too soon he was gone. Drew Cayton was a pillar in the field of Early American History. We were honored that he would join us, and blessed by a few short months of his presence. We miss him, and we miss the opportunity for what might have been for him for the department, for the profession.

Dulles 248, full of Drew’s scholarship, sits quiet, for the moment. But the other day Mary stopped by to tell me that she wants to move in, to work in Drew’s space. She has already had her own impact on the life of the department, and we have done our own share of kibitzing and conspiring. And so the story goes on, tinged with a great loss.

John L. Brooke
Dulles Hall
History, Ohio State University

SHEAR 2016: Graduate Student Travel Awards

Once again in 2016, SHEAR will offer Graduate Student Travel Awards. These awards are intended to provide assistance with conference participation for graduate students who have papers accepted to the annual meeting program. As in previous years, SHEAR will make eight gifts of $250 each to help subvent the costs of participation in the annual meeting. In addition to the $250 grant, each award recipient has her or his conference registration fee waived and receives one ticket to the Saturday banquet. Grant recipients are expected to join SHEAR in return for receiving their awards.

Applicants should wait until they have heard from the Program Committee as to whether their paper has been included in the forthcoming conference program. Once confirmed, please send an email to the conference coordinator (robyn.davis@millersville.edu) in which you indicate 1. your paper title, 2. the name of your dissertation adviser and institutional affiliation, and 3. a brief explanation of the relationship between your proposed presentation and your larger scholarship.

The application deadline for the 2016 conference is March 18, 2016.

SHEAR 2016 Plenary Session with Hamilton Playwright & Star Lin-Manuel Miranda

Greetings SHEAR members!

We are thrilled to announce that this year’s SHEAR plenary will feature an interview with Hamilton playwright and star Lin-Manuel Miranda. His schedule unfortunately will not permit him to join us in New Haven, but he has graciously agreed to a filmed interview, which will be shown during the conference plenary, and followed by a panel discussion. This unusual format affords us an opportunity: We invite you to send us questions for the interview. Of course, it is likely that there will be time to pose only a small selection of questions, but we’d like the interview to reflect the interests and thoughts of SHEAR members.

Please send your questions to HamforSHEAR@gmail.com by March 25th.

See you in New Haven this July!

Joanne B. Freeman and Brian Murphy

March Madness 2016 at the Junto

Our friends at The Junto are holding their fourth annual March Madness contest. In case you are not aware of the contest, the Juntoists accept nominations for the best xxx in early American history, then arrange them in the style of the NCAA basketball brackets. (Thankfully, there are no play-in games.) This year, they are asking readers to nominate significant journal articles.

Here is a rundown of past March Madness themes and winners:

2013 Book: Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom

2014 Book Published Since 2000: Michael Jarvis, In the Eyes of All Trade

2015 Primary Sources: The Declaration of Independence

I encourage you to make your own nominations and follow the contest as it unfolds in the coming weeks. It is a good way to remind yourself of the intellectual roots of early American history or maybe even learn something new outside of your specialty.

Welcome to The Republic!

We are excited to launch SHEAR’s new blog, The Republic! This blog will serve as the place to go for news about the organization and scholarship on the period.

Planning for this blog began in 2011, when the late Drew Cayton, then serving as SHEAR president, asked Caleb McDaniel and me to put together a working group to look into expanding the organization’s social media footprint. Rachel Herrmann and Beth Salerno joined us in crafting a proposal that addressed not only social media but also other ways in which the organization could incorporate twenty-first-century technology.

A number of SHEAR presidents—Harry Watson, Drew Cayton, Pat Cohen, John Larson, Ann Fabian, and Jan Lewis—and the members of the advisory council have been supportive in recognizing the need for SHEAR to make this move. Last year, Ann Fabian, with the approval of the advisory council, appointed me as SHEAR’s first social media coordinator. I asked Caleb and Liz Covart, whom many of you know from Ben Franklin’s World, to brainstorm our path forward. After the conference, we invited Vanessa Holden and Lyra Monteiro to join the committee. Late last year, the committee members and JER editor Cathy Kelly held a virtual meeting and discussed a number of possible approaches to take.

The committee members came away with several conclusions. First, we wanted SHEAR to have a viable and vibrant connection to the world of social media. We established Facebook and Twitter accounts several years ago, and they have proven successful in attracting the attention of both SHEAR members and non-members. In addition to taking a more active approach to social media during the year, we hope to have a more visible presence at the annual meeting. Second, we believed that our charge included more than just social media, so we altered the vision to include new media, which is a more encompassing description of what we intend. Lastly, we wanted to expand SHEAR’s reach in the digital world by establishing a blog. Most major historical organizations have taken this step, and it seemed appropriate for SHEAR to do so as well.

What can you expect from The Republic? On a weekly or biweekly basis, depending on the time of year, we expect to publish posts as diverse as author interviews, JER-related pieces, and pedagogical essays. We also hope that you will send us your relevant CFPs or perhaps even research queries that you have for other SHEARites. If you have an interest in contributing to the blog in some way, don’t be shy! Reach out to us at shearrepublic@gmail.com.

Mark Cheathem