Eye of the Expert
Leading the Way: Innovators and Pioneers at the Boston Athenæum
Throughout its history, the Boston Athenæum has been an important incubator for innovation and home to intellectual pioneers. In this special presentation, David B. Dearinger, Carolle Morini, and Mary Warnement offer a glimpse into the lives of three cultural figures with historic connections to the Boston Athenæum.
Writer and historian Hannah Adams, born in 1755, defied cultural expectations and earned the respect of her peers with the quality of her scholarship, leading Athenæum Trustees to grant Adams a free membership in 1829. Born less than 20 years after Adams, Thomas Dowse, a leather tanner by trade, developed a lifelong passion for collecting rare books and art. Upon his death in 1856, Dowse made significant bequests to many Boston cultural organizations, including a collection of art left to the Boston Athenæum. Nearly 100 years later, assistant librarian Marjorie Crandall retired from a 31-year career at the Athenæum. From 1947 to 1955, Crandall worked diligently as a bibliographer—in addition to her many administrative duties at the Athenæum—to create a critically important catalogue of more than 5,300 Confederate imprints, about half of which were held in the Athenæum’s collections.
David Dearinger is Director of Exhibitions and Susan Morse Hilles Senior Curator of Paintings & Sculpture at the Boston Athenæum. He holds a PhD in art history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York with a specialization in 19th-century American art. He became a member of the curatorial staff at the National Academy of Design in New York in 1985, where he served as Chief Curator from 1995 until 2004, when he joined the Boston Athenæum. He has taught art history at a number of institutions, including the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where he taught for over 20 years. He has lectured and published widely in the field of American art and has curated and organized a number of exhibitions in New York and Boston.
Carolle Morini is Caroline D. Bain Archivist and Reference Librarian at the Boston Athenæum. In her role at the Athenæum she manages the institutional archive, including selecting materials to save, making materials available to researchers, and interpreting them in exhibitions and programs. She holds an MA in history with a concentration in early American poetry and an MLS with a concentration in archives management from Simmons College. She earned her BFA in photography at Montserrat College of Art. Prior to joining the staff of the Boston Athenæum in 2007, Morini worked in libraries and archives of other area cultural institutions, including the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Peabody Essex Museum.
Mary Warnement joined the staff of the Boston Athenæum in 2002 upon completion of her MLS at Simmons College, becoming William D. Hacker Head of Reader Services in 2009. She received her BA from Saint Mary’s College and her MA from the University of Toronto. Warnement completed doctoral coursework at Loyola University, Chicago, where she discovered her true calling while working in a library. Trained as an historian of the Middle Ages, Warnement now enjoys fielding questions dealing with all time periods across all cultures, not to mention helping readers find what should be next on their list.
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