Isaac Kramnick, the Richard J. Schwartz Professor of Government Emeritus, a renowned scholar of English and American political thought and history, and a longtime champion of undergraduate education, died Dec. 21 in New York City. Kramnick was 81.
Cornell President Martha E. Pollack said Kramnick was “a beloved Cornellian; a teacher and leader who, in his time at Cornell, touched the lives of generations of students, faculty and staff.”
We are saddened to learn of the death of Dora Wiebenson, who passed away on August 20, 2019. Professor Wiebenson received her Ph.D from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts and taught 18th and 19th century architectural history at the University of Virginia. She was a distinguished scholar in her field, a pioneer of 18th-century visual studies, and was also one of the first female full professors in the discipline. It was Prof. Wiebenson who had the inspired idea in 1993 to establish the ASECS affiliate group Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture; HECAA just celebrated its 25th anniversary with an immensely successful conference, hosted by SMU. She had a major role in composing HECAA's first constitution and the ASECS/HECAA Wiebenson Prize was named in her honor.
December 10, 2019
ASECS 2020 Registration Information
The 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, which will be held 18-21 March 2020 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. A rich array of papers, roundtables and plenary lectures will be complemented by special events including a fully-staged production of Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love (sponsored by Washington University and ASECS), a guided tour of Cahokia Mounds, the Doctor Is In Mentoring Help Desk, and a pre-conference workshop at the Saint Louis Art Museum. For more information, visit
or the annual meeting website .
Draft program coming soon!
December 4, 2019
ASECS Annual Meeting Registration Now Open!
You may also print off a copy of the registration form and mail it into the ASECS Office.
You can find the registration form here:
December 2, 2019
Free Access to The Literary Encyclopedia
Members of ASECS are entitled to free access to the volumes of The Literary Encyclopedia that cover English, French, German and Italian literature in the period 1680-1820, notably Volume 1.2.1.05: English Writing and Culture from the Glorious Revolution to the French Revolution, 1689-1789, edited by Pat Rogers, Nick Seager, Daniel Cook and Paul Baines.
The Literary Encyclopedia was founded in 1998 by ASECS member Robert Clark with the aim of providing comprehensive, learned and detailed support to tertiary-level teaching and research. Its scope is world literatures and cultures from the classical to the present. For detailed information on this resource, please visit .
To receive free access to the Literary Encyclopedia, contact the ASECS Business Office at . You will be given a unique alphanumeric password that you can use to create a personal user account valid until the end of your subscription year.
November 19, 2019
Remembering Donald C. Mell, Jr.
Dr. Donald C. Mell, Jr. 1931-2019
Wilmington - Dr. Donald C. Mell, Jr. died on November 9, 2019, in Wilmington, Delaware, surrounded by his family, following a short illness.
A professor of English literature at the University of Delaware for 47 years, Don was a dedicated teacher who loved lively discourse and the exchange of ideas. He was the truest form of a gentleman and a scholar.
Don's accomplishments were many, but it was his character, gentleness, and engaging personality that touched everyone he encountered. His unassuming demeanor, respect for others, and genuine delight in the collective pursuit of knowledge made him a singular individual.
Don was born in May 1931 in Akron, Ohio to Donald Charles and Josephine Seiberling Mell. As a child, he attended Old Trail School, and then Western Reserve Academy, graduating in 1949.
He attended Yale University, where he earned his B.A. in 1953. Upon graduation, he served his country in Korea as an Army PFC from 1953-55.
Don returned to Yale to earn a M.A.T. in 1956, and M.A. in 1959. He was then accepted to the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1961.
It was during his undergraduate years at Yale when he developed his love of music, especially the organ, studying under the prolific German composer Paul Hindemith. For a fleeting moment, he entertained the idea of a career in music, and even performed once with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.
Also, at Yale Don was an accomplished student-athlete, playing varsity soccer and was recognized with the All-Ivy Postseason Award. His "soccer buddies" were an important part of his life and Don remained close to his college teammates for decades to come.
Don loved spending summers on Cape Cod, having learned to sail as a young man at the Cape Cod Sea Camps (Monomoy 1945-46).
Before moving to Delaware, Don taught English at Middlebury College (1965-68) and Rutgers University (1961-65).
Arriving on campus at Delaware in the fall of 1968, Don's gentle nature quickly endeared him to faculty, staff and students, alike. At his core, he was warm, kind and humble. He loved academia, and at UD he thrived.
Don briefly went back into government service at the National Endowment for the Humanities as a Program Officer in the Division of Research Programs during 1993-94.
Don's role as chairperson of the University of Delaware Press Board of Editors from 1997-2015 was perhaps the most fulfilling of all his intellectual pursuits. He cherished the collaboration with board members and Press staff.
Don regularly and enthusiastically supported the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the Modern Language Association throughout his career. Participating in academic conferences was a thrill for Don, and he made lifelong friends across the country with his understated temperament and good humor.
Don wrote two books, edited four others, and published 15 articles and 28 reviews. His distinctions also include several fellowships, literary prizes, and grants. Don was a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington D.C. and the Yale Club of New York City.
Don is survived by his wife of 62 years, Katherine Lyon Mell, his son, Donald C. Mell, III of Wilmington (Jeanne), and his daughter, Elizabeth of Chester Springs, PA. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Marvin M. and Francis S. "Skip" Mell.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will take place at Christ Church Christiana Hundred at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 22.
In lieu of flowers, the Mell family requests that donations in Don's memory be given to the Future Fund of the East Central American Society for 18th Century Studies (EC/ASECS) which will provide scholarship opportunities to graduate students. Payments can be made online with the Future Fund Donate button at: or by check to "Future Fund c/o Dr. Staffel, P.O. Box 52, Bethany WV, 26032."
For online condolences, please visit
Published in The News Journal from Nov. 15 to Nov. 18, 2019
November 15, 2019
Hotel Registration for ASECS 2020 St. Louis is Now Open!
Hotel registration for ASECS 2020 St. Louis is now open!
To make your reservations, please click here:
If you need additional assistance, please contact us at 877-803-7534 or click here to find contact information by Region.
If the group rate is no longer available, prevailing rates may be offered for some or all of your dates.
PLEASE NOTE: The last day for ASECS guests to make reservations is February 25th, 2020. After this date, the hotel can no longer guarantee your discounted room rate or hotel room availability. So please plan accordingly!
September 12, 2019
ASECS 2020 CFP Now Available
The ASECS 2020 CFP is Now Available. You may view it here:
July 2, 2019
Remembering Peter Hanns Reill
Peter Hanns Reill 1938 – 2019
Peter Hanns Reill, Professor Emeritus of History and former Director of the Clark Library and the Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies at UCLA, passed away suddenly on August 18, 2019, following a fall at his home. He is mourned by his wife, Jenna, his daughter, Dominique, and by his wide circle of friends and colleagues. He was a genial, warm-hearted, generous man, a witty conversationalist and raconteur, who endeared himself to everyone who knew him. All those who loved him are devastated by his untimely passing, for he had many years still to come in a long and productive scholarly career.
Professor Reill was born in Astoria, NY, on December 11, 1938. His parents were immigrants from Germany. He was awarded his BA by New York University in 1960, and his PhD by Northwestern University in 1969. He joined the Department of History at UCLA as an Assistant Professor in 1966, and rose steadily through the ranks, becoming Full Professor in 1980, and Chair of the Department from 1988 to 1991. He retired in 2011. His research centered on the cultural and intellectual history of Europe during the 18th century Enlightenment, focusing on the interchange of ideas between Germany, Britain and France, and the interdisciplinary relationship between science and philosophy. His work was internationally recognized; he received numerous Fellowships and held several Visiting Professorships in this country and in Europe. He produced major studies in his field, together with a long series of articles and edited volumes. He was at work on the research for another book at the time of his death.
Professor Reill was a skilled and dedicated teacher. He taught a wide range of undergraduate lecture courses and graduate seminars, admired for their clarity and intellectual rigor. He was approachable and cared deeply for his students. He will be fondly remembered by the many students he nurtured, who went on to academic careers of their own.
Professor Reill’s crowning achievement was his brilliantly successful service as joint Director of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library and the Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies at UCLA, from 1991 to 2011. He took the helm at a moment of budgetary uncertainty but, undeterred, quickly expanded and transformed both these institutions. In his hands they became centers of advanced historical and literary study, nationally and internationally renowned, attracting students and established scholars from across the globe. Professor Reill was an innovative administrator and (an essential accomplishment) also a highly skilled fund-raiser, winning numerous grants from donors and scholarly funding institutions. At the Clark Library he embarked on a major acquisitions program to extend the library’s holdings beyond its core collections in British 17th and 18th century history and literature, to give it a broader chronological and international range. Through judicious purchases he built up the Clark Library’s collection of books and papers relating to Oscar Wilde, making it the most important collection of Wilde materials in the world, which now attracts researchers from across the USA and abroad. He instituted an Outreach Program for K-12 students, in conjunction with LAUSD, to foster their interest in and love of the humanities. He set up a program of poetry readings, and as a lover of classical music, an annual series of recitals and chamber music concerts; both the poetry readings and the concerts were staged in the grand setting of the Library’s wood-paneled salon.
At the same time, Professor Reill worked tirelessly to expand the activities of the UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies. He set up a full schedule of annual conferences, held at the Clark Library, with up to twenty sessions each year, side-by-side with one- or two-day scholarly meetings, on a vast range of literary and historical themes. He established relations with numerous universities and scholarly institutions in the United States and Europe. An indication of the international recognition the UCLA Center attained under Professor Reill’s leadership was its role as the venue for the 34th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, in August 2003; Professor Reill was at that time the elected President of the Society. This very successful meeting, and the activities which Professor Reill arranged to accompany it – films, concerts, visits to cultural centers in Los Angeles - attracted over 1200 scholars, not only from the USA and Europe, but also from countries in Asia and Latin America. This resounding success is a fitting tribute to Professor Reill’s talents as an imaginative administrator and coordinator of landmark intellectual forums.
Professor Reill will be terribly missed by his grieving family, and by his great circle of devoted friends and colleagues. Family and friends alike share in the profound shock and sense of loss at his being torn away from them so suddenly and tragically. He was an internationally renowned scholar, and a brilliant creator of programs that fostered a diverse range of intellectual endeavors. But above all, he will be remembered as a decent, witty, friendly man, and a generous host who loved to entertain. His memory will be treasured by all those who knew and loved him. The funeral will be private.
Professor Reill's obituary on the UCLA History Department web site can be found here.
August 20, 2019
ASECS Joint Library Fellowships
Information about the seventeen ASECS Joint Library Fellowships is available on the ASECS website . Fall 2019 deadlines are approaching for fellowships at the Bibliographical Society of America ($3,000; November 1); the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin ($3,000; November 11), the Newberry Library ($2500; December 15) and the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia (tuition for one RBS course; November 1). Please visit for links to these funding opportunities!
July 31, 2019
Call for Proposals - ASECS 2020 NOW OPEN!
Call for Proposals - ASECS 2020, 51st Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis, MO, March 19-21, 2020 – NOW OPEN! Deadline for proposal submissions is Wed, May 15, 2019. Online submission form here:
April 15, 2019
ASECS News Circular – April/May 2019 - Now Available
The April/May 2019 ASECS News Circular is now available. You may access this and past news
May 13, 2019
ASECS Announces Winners of 2019 Book Prizes
At its 50th Annual Meeting, held March 21-23 in Denver, Colorado, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies conferred two book awards to outstanding scholars of the period.
The 2018-2019 Gottschalk Prize
ASECS awards the Louis Gottschalk prize annually to the best scholarly book on an eighteenth-century subject. In 2019, the Gottschalk Prize has been given to Paola Bertucci, associate professor of history and the history of medicine at Yale University, for Artisanal Enlightenment: Science and the Mechanical Arts in Old Regime France, published by Yale University Press. Bertucci’s deeply researched, subtle, and engaging study restores voice and agency to the craftsperson who combined technical skill in the mechanical arts with the intellectual quality of esprit. This study demonstrates the qualities and contributions of craftspeople to the Enlightenment and thus challenges us to rethink our hierarchy of Enlightenment values which divides application from both pure knowledge and creativity, a hierarchy moreover that resonates into our time. Complicating this divide, Bertucci reveals the importance of practical knowledge, a kind of hands-on material experience, that could be enhanced but not displaced by theoretical knowledge. She identifies such practitioners with the term l’artiste, a figure she develops through exploring the archive of the Société des Arts, an association that flourished during the 1730s.
As Bertucci examines the efforts of surgeons, geometers, engineers, clockmakers, and engravers to redefine the status of their crafts, she shows that their contributions reach beyond their fields to help constitute the concepts and project of such monuments of the Enlightenment as the Encylopédie. Artisanal Enlightenment does what the best books in any field do; its historical research and keen analysis convincingly reframe and transform our conception of what the Enlightenment really was. What counted as “art” for the people who were actually building out the Enlightenment was far richer and deeper than we had imagined.
The 2017-2019 Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize
The Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize is awarded biennially by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies to an outstanding scholarly book on an eighteenth-century life. The 2017-2019 Jenkins Prize is presented to James Delbourgo, professor of history at Rutgers University, for Collecting the World: Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum, published by Harvard University Press in 2017. Delbourgo’s masterful book goes beyond offering us an outstanding view of Sloane the physician, collector, naturalist, and adventurer. Collecting the World is as much an exploration of Sloane’s collections as it is the life of the collector, and the relation-ship between the man and his materials is part of what makes the book so important, original, and engaging. Following Sloane’s will upon his death in 1753, his collections became the basis for the establishment of the British Museum. And insofar as Delbourgo highlights collections brought from areas of the world far from England, the book approaches issues of empire and Britain’s global reach in new ways. Finally, the book is beautifully written, at once both erudite and accessible to a wide range of readers. Delbourgo’s remarkable volume previously was recognized by the Society with its 2018 Louis Gottschalk Award.
The American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is a not-for-profit educational organization founded to promote the study of all aspects of the eighteenth century. It sponsors conferences, awards fellowships and prizes, and publishes Eighteenth-Century Studies and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture. Requests for information about the Gottschalk Prize and the Jenkins Prize, as well as nominations for the 2020 and 2021 prizes may be addressed to:
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