On Friday September 20th the Center for Renaissance Studies celebrated its 40th anniversary with a symposium, dinner, and performance at the Newberry. Founded in 1979 by Counter-Reformation historian John Tedeschi to promote research using the library’s rich holdings in medieval and Renaissance studies, the Center has grown considerably, and today supports scholarly symposia, training in paleography, digital humanities projects, scholarly seminars in early modern studies, and a consortium of over 50 universities.
The 40th anniversary celebration began with three talks: Curator emeritus Paul Gehl spoke about the history of collecting medieval and Renaissance books at the Newberry, focusing primarily on the impact of renowned curator and historian Hans Baron (1900-1988). Curator Suzanne Karr Schmidt spoke about recent acquisitions in the field for the library, and Center Director Lia Markey discussed the future of premodern studies at the Newberry (an extended version of this talk is forthcoming in I Tatti Studies). Friends and colleagues of the Center then enjoyed a reception in the Newberry’s library and a buffet dinner in Ruggles. Toasts by former Center director and current Director of the Renaissance Society of America, Carla Zecher, and Newberry President, Danny Greene, emphasized the Center’s significant role in fostering interdisciplinary studies and engaging with graduate students in innovative ways. The evening concluded with a birthday cake and a performance by the Newberry Consort. Although founder John Tedeschi was not able to attend the festivities, all other former directors and several other past and present staff members were there to celebrate the achievements of this international research center.