The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Welcome Short-Term Fellow Mary Kelley

This week the MHS welcomes Dr. Mary Kelley, Ruth Bordin Collegiate Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI). Dr. Kelley is a long-time friend of the MHS, having been elected as a Massachusetts Historical Society Fellow in 1994 and, among other programs, last spoke at the MHS in April 2010, delivering the keynote address at the conference "Margaret Fuller and Her Circles."

Dr. Kelley has been awarded the Malcolm and Mildred Freiberg Fellowship at the MHS to conduct research for her book-length project, "What are you reading and what are you saying?", a quotation drawn from a letter written in the 1820s by Mary Telfair of Savannah, Georgia, to her friend Mary Few of New York City. As a scholar of 18th and 19th century intellectual and cultural history, Kelley plans to explore the way in which reading and writing between family members are "cultural acts [that] generate and articulate meaning within a specific historical context." She asks what might happen if books, texts, authors, and readers were understood as "cultural practices," part of the "cultural labor individuals deploy in making meaning of daily existence." To investigate this question, Kelley will utilize the myriad family papers, rich with correspondence, which the society holds.

The MHS staff welcomes Dr. Kelley back to the Society and wishes her a fruitful research visit.


permalink | Published: Tuesday, 11 January, 2011, 8:00 AM