Saturday, August 21, 1999

Professor Gives Talk on Economic Development in South Africa

Chestertown, MD — Washington College’s Goldstein Program in Public Affairs opens on Wednesday, September 8th, with a talk on economic development in South Africa. Dr. Etienne Nel, a lecturer in the department of geography at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, begins his talk at 7:30 p.m. in the Casey Academic Center Forum.

The lecture is entitled "Beyond the Development Impasse: Reflections on Local Economic Development and Job Creation in Post-Apartheid South Africa."

The College operates an academic exchange program for both students and faculty with Rhodes University and recently developed a concentration in South African studies.

Historians Visit to Discuss George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Chestertown, MD — You can learn a lot about a man and his culture by examining his home. Particularly if that man is George Washington, and his home is Mount Vernon.

On Saturday, September 18th, two historians will visit Washington College to talk about the significance of "George Washington’s Mount Vernon" in shaping a new nation. Robert and Lee Dallzell, whose book on the subject was recently published, are giving a talk in the Casey Academic Center forum, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Robert and Lee Dalzell are the co-authors of George Washington’s Mount Vernon: At Home in Revolutionary America, which is considered a major contribution to the literature of architectural history, Washington, and early American studies. By portraying Washington at home as he designs and shapes Mount Vernon to meet his needs, the Dalzells provide unexpected insights into his private and public personas.

Robert Dalzell is the Ephraim Williams Professor of American History at Williams College. His wife, Lee, is head of the reference department at the Williams College Library.

This event is part of the College’s year-long celebration of the life and times of George Washington, in observance of the bicentennial of his death.

Poet Robert Creeley, Winner of Frost Medal, to Visit Washington College

Chestertown, MD — Robert Creeley, one of the most influential literary figures of the postmodern age, will give a public reading at Washington College on Tuesday, September 7th. The reading begins at 8 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room of Miller Library.

Throughout the 1950s, Creeley was associated with the "Black Mountain Poets," a group of writers including Denise Levertov, Ed Dorn, Charles Olson, and others experimenting with new forms of poetry. Olson and Creeley together developed the concept of "projective verse," a kind of poety that abandoned traditional forms in favor of a freely constructed verse that took shape as the process of composing it was underway.

Creeley formulated one of the basic principles of this new poetry: the idea that "form is never more than an extension of content." Creeley’s much-imitated poetry is marked by minimalism and a compression of emotion into verse in which every syllable bears meaning. He was a leader in the generational shift that veered away from history and tradition as primary poetic sources and turned to personal experience.

He is a poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and editor who has won many honors for his writing, including a National Book Award nomination in 1962 for For Love, the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal in 1987, the Walt Whitman citation of merit in 1989, and the America Award for Poetry in 1995.

For several years Creeley was the David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he still teaches.

Librarian of Congress is Convocation Speaker at WC This Fall

Chestertown, MD — After a week of classes that begins on August 30, Washington College officially launches its new academic year on Thursday, September 9th with an evening Fall Convocation featuring the Librarian of Congress, Dr. James H. Billington.

Convocation begins at 7:30 p.m. in Tawes Theatre of the Gibson Performing Arts Center, and the public is cordially invited.

The Library of Congress, which celebrates its bicentennial in the year 2000, holds more than 115 million items in nearly every known language and format, from ancient Chinese woodblock prints to microchips. It holds the manuscript collections of 23 American presidents and the world’s largest collections of books, maps, music, and movies.

Dr. Billington is leading a major effort to direct the collected knowledge of the Library into the nation’s educational system. Millions of items for the Library’s core collections are now available for viewing on the World Wide Web. By early in the next century, the American Memory project will be disseminating the Library’s core collections in digitized form to every school and library in the country.

Dr. Billington is receiving the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his work at the Library and as an historian of Russian culture. He is the author of The Icon and the Axe, an interpretive history of Russian culture; Russia Transformed: Breakthrough to Hope, his eyewitness account of the failed coup attempt in 1991; and The Face of Russia, the companion book to the television series he wrote and narrated for airing on PBS. In 1992, he arranged and brought to the Library of Congress the first exhibition ever drawn from secret Soviet archives.

Thursday, August 12, 1999

George Washington and the Currency of Fame

Washington College Hosts Smithsonian’s Numismatic Exhibit

Chestertown, MD — Money does make things happen. From his Revolutionary War headquarters in New York, General George Washington granted his name and the sum of fifty gold guineas to establish a liberal arts institution in Chestertown, Maryland. Today, Washington College is still educating responsible leaders for a changing world. In the 1790 census, this colonial port was the center of population in the new United States of America.

Later, as President Washington shaped the new democracy and advocated the establishment of the U. S. Mint, he is said to have donated his own table silver to be melted down and stamped into coinage. This governmental institution helped break the new nation’s dependency for currency on foreign countries and sparked new creativity and technology in the art of designing, stamping and engraving currency.

While he characteristically rejected the trappings of royalty and disliked the monarchical practice of having rulers appear on the nation’s money, Washington’s image has been represented on a remarkable array of American coins, medals, and paper money.

This fall, Washington College is organizing an exhibition of material on loan from the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, which surveys images of George Washington on currency from the time of the United States’ founding to the post-Civil War period. Also featured in the exhibition are an English guinea, fifty of which Washington gave to help found the College in 1782, and the recent issue of the U.S. Mint of a coin commemorating the 200th anniversary of Washington’s death.

The exhibition is on display in the gallery of the Chestertown Bank on High Street in Chestertown from September 2nd through October 29th, during banking hours. Extended hours are offered for visitors to the Chestertown Candlelight Tour on September 18th and the Chestertown Wildfowl Show on October 22nd and 23rd.

The practice of using the image of Washington reflects the enormous admiration 19th-century Americans had for their first president and his broad appeal as an icon for various ideologies, notes Donald A. McColl, the assistant professor of art history at Washington College who is curating the exhibition with the assistance of students from the departments of art and history.

From Indian Peace medals to Civil War "dog tags," Washington has been seen as, among other things, Pater Patriae, new Cincinnatus, friend of commerce, and model of temperance. At the same time, his changing image bears witness to a progression in the quality of American currency from the period of dominance of British and other mints to the time when the United States boasted some of the finest designers, engravers, and die cutters in the world.

"Some of the objects in this exhibit are quite rare," notes McColl, "and the engraved bank notes in particular are quite beautiful. What is especially interesting, though, is that these specimens had a ‘currency’ in the culture, if you will. Each piece tells you about the time in which it was made."

This exhibition is sponsored by Washington College as part of a national observation of the bicentennial of George Washington's death in December 1799. For more information, please call Nancy Nunn at Washington College, at 410-778-7139.