Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Massive Historical Research Databases Now Accessible to Washington College Community

Readex Archive Acquisition to Be Feted November 19

Chestertown, MD — Washington College students, faculty, and staff now have unlimited access to a research treasure trove: over 15 million pages of historic newspapers, books, broadsides and pamphlets, newly accessible through Miller Library.

Today, the C.V. Starr Center and Miller Library invite you to celebrate the College's new acquisition, and begin exploring its treasures, at a special event in the library's Sophie Kerr Room. Please join us at 4:00 p.m. for a short demonstration (laptops will be provided, or bring your own), to be followed by a reception with refreshments.

This rich online library, the Readex Archive of Americana, lets you keyword-search the full texts of millions of documents - and will be a valuable resource for students and faculty in many departments, studying topics from around the world. For instance, the newspaper collections include over 8 million original pages (12 million when completed) of papers published between 1690 and the early 20th century, with titles from all 50 states. In a matter of seconds, you can be reading original coverage of the Battle of Gettysburg, following foreign correspondents' day-by-day accounts of the Russian Revolution, unearthing obscure poems by Edgar Allan Poe, or scanning ads for runaway slaves from the Eastern Shore. This archive is the most comprehensive online newspaper resource available - and Washington College's access now is superior to that of places like Harvard and the Library of Congress!

The databases also include page-by-page, fully searchable facsimiles of almost every book published in America before 1820 (7 million pages), as well as pamphlets, broadsides, posters, and advertising.

Acquisition of the archives was made possible by a grant to Washington College from the National Endowment for the Humanities' "We the People" project. More digital archives will be available soon. For more information on the NEH grant, see

If you can't join us today and want to get started using the databases, visit and at the bottom of the page, under "New Resources," click on "America's Historical Newspapers," "American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series I," or "Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819." Access is available to anyone with a Washington College ID, from on- or off-campus.

Feedback from students, faculty, and staff is welcome as the Starr Center and Miller Library continue working together to acquire digital resources for the College.

November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Washington College to Screen New Lyme Disease Documentary

Chestertown, MD — As natural habitats and animal populations are impacted by humans, unintended consequences often result. Recent decades, for example, have seen a population explosion of deer and rodents in the forests of the eastern U.S. Behind the scenes, they have been accompanied by many more ticks carrying Lyme disease, one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the country. For anyone who spends time outdoors, Lyme and other tick-borne infections should be a cause for concern. The symptoms can be severe and debilitating, but diagniosis is not always easy.

On Monday, December 1, Washington College's Center for Environment & Society will screen a powerful new documentary on Lyme disease, "Under Our Skin." A dramatic tale of microbes, medicine and money, this eye-opening film investigates the untold story of Lyme, an emerging epidemic larger than AIDS. Each year thousands of Americans go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, told that their symptoms are "all in their head." Following the stories of patients and physicians as they battle for their lives and livelihoods, the film brings into focus a haunting picture of our health care system and its ability to cope with a silent terror under our skin.

This free screening is open to the public and will be held in Litrrenta Lecture Hall, John Toll Scince Center at Washington College, 7:00 p.m.

November 17, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Piscataway Nation Singers & Dancers Perform at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — In celebration of American Indian Heritage Month, the Washington College SGA Office of Diversity will present a performance by the Piscataway Nation Singers & Dancers at Cain Gymnasium on Saturday, November 15, at 6 p.m.

Famous for their internationally recognized living history program, the Piscataway Nation Singers & Dancers conduct workshops, present lectures and perform authentic Native American dance, drum and song.

From "Tayac Territory" near Port Tobacco, Maryland, Mark Tayac and the Piscataway Nation Singers & Dancers travel throughout Europe, Canada and the United States with one of the most colorful, artful and educational programs in the country. While the performance is a feast of sight and sound, it also educates the audience about Native American history, culture and contemporary issues.

Admission to the performance is free and open to the public.

November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Campus Cracks up with Comedy Week

Chestertown, MD — Comedy Week is an exciting series of hilarious events planned by the Student Events Board in cooperation with many other organizations at Washington College. The events will take place November 17-21. The mission of Comedy Week is to bring laughter and smiles to every student on campus and to provide the biggest and most entertaining events ever seen at Washington College. The campus-wide comedic carrying-on includes:

Roast of George Washington

Stadium Skybox, Monday, November 17, 6-9 p.m.

A Historic Roast Of George Washington in the sky box at Roy Kirby Stadium , plus dinner and a "celebration" of our dear President Tipson.

"The Office" Mini-marathon

Dining Hall During Cove Hours, Tuesday, November 18, up to 8:30 p.m.

If you can't get enough of Michael Scott, join us for a mini-marathon of one of NBC's latest hit series. Snacks will be provided.

Student Comedy Competition

Norman James Theatre, Wednesday, November 19, 6-9 p.m.

Featuring songs, skits, and stand-up—all by WC students. The competition will be judged by Comedian Evan Wecksall and a member of Improv Everywhere, Charlie Todd. Both of these comedians will perform as well. The student(s) who win the competition will get to open up for the Mainstage Comedian on Friday.

Rock Lit with Dan Kennedy

Norman James Theatre, Thursday, November 20, 8-9:30 p.m.

The Rose O'Neil Literary House and the Student Events Board's Comedy Week present ROCK LIT with author Dan Kennedy.

The Mainstage Comedian — Nick Swardson

Lifetime Fitness Center, doors open at 7 p.m.

The LFC will be decorated as a comedy club. Seating, food/drink and a cash bar will be available. Tickets are $10 for students/staff/faculty. Each student/staff/faculty member can purchase up to four tickets at the discounted rate. Tickets are $20 for the general public. Advance tickets are available at the Washington College Bookstore or online a t

November 11, 2008

Legendary Beat Poet Remembered in World-Premiere Play at Washington College

Cast Includes Popular Area Singer Karen Somerville

Chestertown, MD — Washington College will present the world premiere of "The Golden Sardine," the latest work by award-winning poet/playwright Robert Earl Price, at the Norman James Theatre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 21-23, at 8 p.m.

"The Golden Sardine" tells the story of legendary Beat poet Bob Kaufman—a talented and complex artist who was instrumental in creating the Beatnik movement. The only major African-American Beat poet, Kaufman gained fame on "The Tonight Show" then shunned invitations to lecture at Harvard. His verse was heavily influenced by the rhythms and idioms of bebop. The critic Raymond Foye called Kaufman "the quintessential jazz poet."

It's hard to imagine a more fitting playwright to tap into the Kaufman mystique than Robert Earl Price, currently an artist-in-residence in the Washington College Drama Department. He has tackled similar subjects—the tragic jazz icon Charlie Parker, the legend-shrouded bluesman Robert Johnson—in some of his other theatrical productions. When "Blue Monk" was produced in Johannesburg, it was so well received that it ended up as one of five plays nominated for South Africa's National Theater Award. (Price's Charlie Parker opus, "Yardbird's Vamp," likewise enjoyed overseas success, playing to standing-room-only crowds for the duration of its Berlin run.)

Price, a graduate of the American Film Institute, was a protégé of the Oscar-winning director Jan Kadar and Pulitzer/Emmy winner Alex Haley. Price was the script consultant for the Peabody Award-winning production of "The Boy King" (the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s youth) and a principal writer on the CBS/Alex Haley series "Palmerstown, U.S.A." Price's many awards include the American Film Institute's William Wyler Award for screenwriting and a Cultural Olympics Commission for theater.

Recently the playwright-in-residence at Atlanta's famed 7 Stages Theatre, Price also is a poet of some note, with four collections of verse—Bloodlines, Blood Elegy, Blues Blood and Wise Blood—published to date. His poems also have appeared in scores of journals and magazines. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for poetry, a Broadside Press Award, a Bronze Jubilee Award, and dozens of other poetry prizes and notices.

The premiere of "The Golden Sardine" is the result of a theater lab that encourages the collaboration of theater professionals, students and faculty. The cast features Washington College drama instructor Polly Somerfield and popular area singer Karen Somerville.

Drama Department Chair Dale Daigle directs with support from Jason Rubin, Lawrence Stahl and a crew of students, including Faith Erline as dramaturg, Maggie Farrell and Jory Peele as stage managers, and Kristian Wilson, Jess Blanch, Brian Schultz and Lilly McAllen on projection and lighting.

Admission to "The Golden Sardine" is free and open to the public.

November 11, 2008

Comic Nick Swardson to Perform at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — Comedian Nick Swardson, star of the stand-up circuit and the big screen, will perform at Washington College's Lifetime Fitness Center on Friday, November 21; doors open at 7 p.m. The special appearance, open to the public, comes as the culmination of the Student Events Board's Comedy Week, a series of comedic campus events.

Within his first year of performing stand-up, Nick Swardson was chosen to appear at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, as one of the top new comedians in the country. He then worked the road, steadily developing his style. For a brief time he moved to New York, where he became a regular on the comedy scene.

In 2000 Swardson was given a half-hour special on Comedy Central. He was only 22 years old at the time. From there, his career really started to gain momentum. He had garnered a great deal of notice and respect from many of his fellow rising comedy stars. One of them was Jamie Kennedy. He asked Swardson to write a screenplay for him that became the Warner Brothers feature film "Malibu's Most Wanted." The movie, in which Swardson himself had an acting role, performed well at the box office and caught the eye of the top executive at Happy Madison Productions: Adam Sandler. The relationship quickly became very fruitful.

Swardson has co-written "Grandma's Boy" for Fox and "Benchwarmers" for Revolution/Sony, which are both Happy Madison Productions. He was a co-producer with starring roles in both films. Additionally, Swardson can be seen in "Art School Confidential," directed by Terry Zwigoff, and DreamWorks' "Blades of Glory," starring Will Ferrell. Swardson recently produced and co-starred in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry," with Adam Sandler and Kevin James.

Noted television appearances include "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and a recurring guest-star role on "Reno 911!" Swardson also can be seen in the recent Adam Sandler hit "You Don't Mess With The Zohan."

Tickets for Swardson's November 21 performance are $10 for Washington College students, faculty and staff, and $20 for the general public. Advance tickets are available at the Washington College Bookstore or online at

November 11, 2008

'Rock Lit With Dan Kennedy' Comes to Rose O'Neill Literary House

Chestertown, MD — The Rose O'Neill Literary House's "Literature of the Fact"—a special series of lectures on the diverse varieties of the art of nonfiction—concludes with a presentation by Dan Kennedy, acclaimed author of comedic musings on the music industry, at the Norman James Theatre on Thursday, November 20, at 8 p.m.

"Rock Lit With Dan Kennedy" is being presented by the Rose O'Neill Literary House in conjuction with the Washington College Student Events Board.

With his pieces in McSweeney's and his memoir Loser Goes First, Kennedy established himself as one of the funniest writers in America. With his follow up, Rock On: An Office Power Ballad, he has cemented that reputation and also shown his chops as a first-rate writer on music and the music scene.

A national bestseller, Rock On: An Office Power Ballad is based on Kennedy's experiences in the rock-music biz. When he was hired by a major record label in 2002, he believed he had chanced upon his dream job in the world of full-blown gonzo rock'n'roll excess, the fulfillment of fantasies held since his Southern California teenage years.

The sobering reality? A 9-to-5 world that was equal parts "Spinal Tap" and "The Office"—and Kennedy had arrived on the scene just in time for mass layoffs, artists being cut from contracts, and sales hitting an all-time low. In his bemused chronicle of the dying days of the record business, Kennedy's twisted wit offers up the absurd, funny and oddly heartbreaking story of a stranger in a strange land.

The New York Times called Rock On "a succession of gently mordant vignettes, with hilariously spot-on asides about media image-making, music-biz hierarchies and sensitive singer-songwriters... Neither Kennedy nor the music business will ever be the same."

The Rose O'Neill Literary House, which underwent an extensive restoration and renovation last spring, is known far and wide as the hub of Washington College's writing community. For nearly 25 years it has served as the venue for co-curricular activities that bring together students and faculty with visiting writers, scholars, editors and other literary artists; theWashington Post dubbed it "the Carnegie Hall of literary readings."

Admission to "Rock Lit with Dan Kennedy" is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410/778-7899 or visit

November 11, 2008

100-Voice Choir Gospel Concert Set to Raise Spirits, Honor Alumnus Rev. Vincent Hynson '87, November 22

Charity Concert Raises Funds for Minority Student Scholarship Program at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — On Saturday, November 22, the 100-Voice Choir returns to raise spirits and celebrate the life and example of the late Rev. Vincent Hynson, Washington College Class of 1987 alumnus and Kent County community leader. The concert will be held at the Kent County High School Auditorium. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are just $6 per person and are available at the door or in advance from the Compleat Bookseller or Twigs and Teacups in downtown Chestertown.

This year's concert—through the efforts of many volunteers and Sylvia and Bill Frazier of S & B Productions—will provide two hours of music, song and dance to put anyone and everyone "in the spirit." In addition to performances by the 100-Voice Choir and musical accompaniment by the Holy Horns, the concert's line-up includes a performance by guest soloist Ginger Whiteley, selections by the Gospel Sheppards and the Sho Dads Quartet, a performance by the Praise Dancers, and a special guest appearance by acclaimed gospel trumpeter Wade Johnson.

Sis. Vivian Garnett will serve as the evening's Mistress of Ceremonies. A lifetime resident of Queen Anne's County, she is a member of Mt. Pleasant U.M. Church, where she sings in two choirs and is Vice President of the U.M. Women. She is a retired educator (38 years) in both Kent and Queen Anne's counties, retiring in 1997. Sis. Garnett has conducted many services and programs in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

Proceeds from the concert benefit the Vincent Hynson Scholarship at Washington College. The impetus of Washington College President Baird Tipson, the scholarship honors the late Rev. Vincent Hynson—beloved Kent County teacher, coach, pastor, and community leader—who passed away in 2004. The scholarship is presented to an entering freshman who is a graduate of a secondary school in Kent County, who demonstrates financial need, and whose achievements and aspirations most closely emulate the values of community service exemplified by the life of Rev. Hynson. The scholarship covers 100 percent of the cost of tuition, room and board, books, and fees for the recipient.

"Vincent Hynson was a bridge-builder whose life was dedicated to uplifting our community," said Dr. Tipson, who lends his voice to the tenor section of the choir. "His was the kind of life young people—and all people—should emulate. My hope is that this scholarship honors his life by helping local students who want to give back the chance to develop their talents and to realize their dreams through a Washington College education."

To be considered for the Vincent Hynson Scholarship, interested students should submit a scholarship essay and complete all admissions and financial aid application requirements no later than February 15, 2008. Essay instructions and admissions and financial aid information are available from the Washington College Office of Admissions by calling 410/778-7700.

The 100-Voice Choir Gospel Concert is sponsored by S & B Productions, Washington College and the Kent County Arts Council. For more information, contact S & B Productions at 410/778-6006 or the Washington College Office of College Relations at 410/810-7111.

November 11, 2008

Treasure Trove at Poplar Grove: 'Tale of Historical Discovery' Presented at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — Everybody likes the idea of finding treasures in the attic—but when the attic is in an old plantation that was first acquired by the current owners' ancestors in 1669, such treasures can amount to a historian's dream come true. And in the case of Poplar Grove, it was the Attic Discovery Heard 'Round the World.

During the summer of 2008, Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the Maryland State Archives delved into 300 years of family papers stored for generations at Poplar Grove, the historic estate of the Emorys in Queen Anne's County, Md. The story drew broad public attention and international media coverage, including an in-depth report on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." Now, the public can learn the inside story of this amazing find in "The Poplar Grove Project: A Tale of Historical Discovery," a presentation at Washington College's Casey Academic Center Forum on Monday, November 24, at 7:30 p.m.

Members of the Poplar Grove research team will describe the many remarkable fragments of the past that the farms' attics, outbuildings, and servants' quarters yielded. In addition to many thousands of pages of family letters, the Poplar Grove discovery unearthed political correspondence, newspapers and broadsides, military records and much more.

One letter describes ex-President Monroe's visit to West Point in 1828 (the old man jumped in alarm every time the cannons saluted him). There are letters about politics in the Jackson administration (one written from the floor of the Senate describing near-brawl between Thomas Hart Benton and another senator, as described by John C. Calhoun), an antislavery petition signed by dozens of Queen Anne's County citizens in the 1830s; original manuscript poems (including a very X-rated one about a young man sneaking into a girl's bed on a winter night in about 1810), a detailed description of buying a slave in Philadelphia in 1779, documents about the aftermath of the Nat Turner Rebellion, land records dating back to the 1660s, important Civil War documents, and many other treasures. Together, they reveal the story of a remarkable family whose history intertwines with America's.

Thanks to a team of student researchers, the documents have now been conserved and placed on deposit at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, where they are accessible to researchers. The students also scanned many of the papers to make them accessible online, through a popular blog site ( as well as the Archives' website.

The Poplar Grove Project was directed by Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse, State Archivist of Maryland, and Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the C.V. Starr Center. The student team included Washington College undergraduates James Schelberg '11 and Jeremy Rothwell '09, as well as Olivia Wood, a student at Rhodes College who is an Emory descendant. The team supervisor was Washington College alumnus Albin Kowalewski '07, now a graduate student at the University of Tennessee. The entire team will be onhand for next Monday's event, showing images of the Poplar Grove discoveries and even a few of the original documents themselves, which will be brought from Annapolis for the occasion. Many members of the Emory family will also be onhand to join in the discussion.

"The Poplar Grove Project: A Tale of Historical Discovery" is jointly presented by the C.V. Starr Center, the Maryland State Archives and the Queen Anne's County Historical Society. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410/810-7161.

About the C.V. Starr Center

The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience explores our nation's history—and particularly the legacy of its Founding era—in innovative ways. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and especially by supporting and fostering the art of written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between past and present, and between the academic world and the public at large. From its base in the circa-1746 Custom House along Chestertown's colonial waterfront, the Center also serves as a portal onto a world of opportunities for Washington College students. Its guiding principle is that now more than ever, a wider understanding of our shared past is fundamental to the continuing success of America's democratic experiment. For more information on the Center, visit

November 11, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Historian Sets the Record Straight on the 'Whiskey Rebellion' at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — Terry Bouton, Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will present "Dumbing Down the Past: Our Muddled Memory of the So-Called 'Whiskey Rebellion'" at Washington College's Casey Academic Center on Tuesday, November 18, at 4:30 p.m.

The event is this year's Guy F. Goodfellow Memorial Lecture. The lecture series was established in 1989 to honor the memory of the late history professor who had taught at Washington College for 30 years. The intent of the endowed lecture series is to bring a distinguished historian to campus each year to lecture and to spend time with students in emulation of Dr. Goodfellow's vibrant teaching style.

Bouton is the author of Taming Democracy: "The People," the Founders, and the Troubled Ending of the American Revolution, which Publishers Weekly hailed as "a rare book—scholarly yet written with verve, readable for pleasure as well as for knowledge." Taming Democracy, winner of the Philip S. Klein Book Prize of the Pennsylvania Historical Association, is a critical re-evaluation of America's post-Revolutionary period.

Americans are fond of reflecting upon the Founding Fathers as selfless patriots who came together to force out the tyranny of the British and bring democracy to the land. But as Bouton contends in his provocative book, the Revolutionary elite often seemed as determined to squash democracy after the War of Independence as they were to support it before the conflict.

Centering on Pennsylvania, the symbolic center of the story of democracy's rise during the Revolution, Bouton shows how this radical shift in ideology spelled tragedy for thousands of common people. It was the narrowing of popular ideals that led directly to the misnamed Whiskey and Fries rebellions, popular uprisings during the 1790s that were both put down by federal armies.

A booksigning will follow Bouton's November 18 lecture at Washington College. Admission to "Dumbing Down the Past: Our Muddled Memory of the So-Called 'Whiskey Rebellion'" is free and open to the public.

November 7, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

From Philly to C-Town: Rittenhouse Jazz Quintet to Perform at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — The 57th season of the Washington College Concert Series continues with a performance by the Rittenhouse Jazz Quintet at the Norman James Theatre on Saturday, November 15, at 8 p.m.

Hailing from the "City of Brotherly Love," the Rittenhouse Jazz Quintet was born in Philadelphia and named after the heart of the city. Consisting of professional musicians from the Philadelphia area, some of whom are graduates or current students at the Curtis Institute of Music, the RJQ has presented programs throughout the region.

The quintet includes Stanford Thompson on trumpet, Matt Davis on guitar, Patricia Franceschy on vibraphone, Gabe Globus-Hoenich on drums, and David Brodie on bass.

The 2008-2009 Washington College Concert Series will continue with performances by the the Vim Saxophone Quartet on January 24, soprano Louise Toppin on February 13, and the Attacca String Quartet on April 17.

All concerts are held at the College's Norman James Theatre in William Smith Hall. Single tickets can be purchased at the door—$15 for adults, $5 for youth and students. Season tickets are available for $50 per person in advance or at the box office on performance nights. For more information, call 410/778-7839.

November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Art of Cuisine Meets Art of Words: Award-Winning Food Author to Visit Washington College

Chestertown, MD — The Rose O'Neill Literary House's "Literature of the Fact"—a special series of lectures on the diverse varieties of the art of nonfiction—explores the art of culinary prose with Amanda Hesser, former food editor of The New York Times, on Friday, November 14, at 4 p.m.

"Food Lit with Amanda Hesser" will be a special afternoon of readings, conversation and freshly made treats from Hesser's recipes.

Hesser is the author of the award-winning books The Cook and the Gardener, Cooking for Mr. Latte and Eat, Memory. A Pennsylvania native, she graduated from Bentley College before traveling to Europe to immerse herself in the study of fine cooking. With a grant from Les Dames d'Escoffier, she worked in bakeries and restaurants in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France.

She spent two years in France, where she worked for Anne Willan, the founder of l'Ecole de Cuisine la Varenne. It was during this time that Hesser's writings started appearing in newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post. After finishing her first book in 1997, Hesser was hired as a food reporter for The New York Times.

Her work has appeared in numerous collections, including Women Who Eat, Best Food Writing, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant and the 50th anniversary edition of M.F.K. Fisher's The Art of Eating (2004).

The Rose O'Neill Literary House, which underwent an extensive restoration and renovation last spring, is known far and wide as the hub of Washington College's writing community. For nearly 25 years it has served as the venue for co-curricular activities that bring together students and faculty with visiting writers, scholars, editors and other literary artists; theWashington Post dubbed it "the Carnegie Hall of literary readings."

"Literature of the Fact" continues through November, presenting "Rock Lit with Dan Kennedy" on November 20. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410/778-7899 or visit

November 2, 2008