Student Spotlight: Mark Edwin Peterson presents at the Association for Library and Information Science Education Annual Conference

Student Spotlight: Mark Edwin Peterson presents at the Association for Library and Information Science Education Annual Conference

The program congratulates CS student Mark Edwin Peterson for his recent contribution to the latest Association for Library and Information Science Education Annual Conference. His paper "Four Presidents: Libraries & Power" focused on the links between nationalism and the growth of university libraries.

Please read the abstract below.

"America had a well-developed tradition of historical writing and education in the middle of the 19th century, but it focused mostly on the grand narrative of the nation. As educators in the United States looked to join the advancing nations after the Civil War, one clear vehicle was the improvement of universities to train teachers in the most recent sciences. We see this in the collections of the Peabody Institute, which focused on biology and chemistry, but also the scientific history coming out of Germany and its published sources. From the very beginning, George Peabody had sought to provide the latest science to all students in Baltimore and history was a big part of that. 

With Peabody's encouragement, Johns Hopkins established his university in the 1870s to train American graduate students in the same manner as the research universities of the German-speaking world. The university's first president, Daniel Coit Gilman, previously a librarian at Yale, and its first history student, then professor, Herbert Baxter Adams, both made history a part of the advanced training at Hopkins because they thought that the new scientific history was a perfect way to train administrators of the young nation and also to tell its story in a way that connected the US to the glories of Europe. From this we have a generation of American scholars arguing that the liberties of the United States can be traced back to the Teutonic Tribes.

Woodrow Wilson came from the next generation that looked more to the use of American sources, but his time at the Hopkins history seminar he became a scientific historian of a sort and worked closely with the major figures of his day, such as Frederick Jackson Turner and Charles Homer Haskins. Many of them became leaders of the major universities that grew tremendously at the end of the century. When he became president, Wilson used these men, with their notions of history and the importance of libraries, as his major advisors. When it came time to divide up the world after the Great War, historians from Harvard served as the major American players that Paris Peace Conference. One of them, Haskins, would then go on to create the field of medieval studies in the US. His influence would stretch on, in many ways, into the 1970s having large implications for the administration of universities and the size of their history collections."