New Book | Building America: The Life of Benjamin Henry Latrobe

Posted in books by Editor on November 5, 2020

From Oxford UP:

Jean Baker, Building America: The Life of Benjamin Henry Latrobe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), 304 pages, ISBN: 978-0190696450, $35.

Building America: The Life of Benjamin Henry Latrobe is a biography of America’s first professionally trained architect and engineer. Born in 1764, Latrobe was raised in Moravian communities in England and Germany. His parents expected him to follow his father and brother into the ministry, but he rebelled against the church. Moved to London, he studied architecture and engineering. In 1795 he emigrated to the United States and became part of the period’s Transatlantic Exchange. Latrobe soon was famous for his neoclassical architecture, designing important buildings, including the US Capitol and Baltimore Basilica as well as private homes. Carpenters and millwrights who built structures more cheaply and less permanently than Latrobe challenged his efforts to establish architecture as a profession. Rarely during his twenty-five years in the United States was he financially secure, and when he was, he speculated on risky ventures that lost money. He declared bankruptcy in 1817 and moved to New Orleans, the sixth American city that he lived in, hoping to recoup his finances by installing a municipal water system. He died there of yellow fever in 1820. The themes that emerge in this biography are the critical role Latrobe played in the culture of the early republic through his buildings and his genius in neoclassical design. Like the nation’s political founders, Latrobe was committed to creating an exceptional nation, expressed in his case by buildings and internal improvements. Additionally, given the extensive primary sources available for this biography, an examination of his life reveals early American attitudes toward class, family, and religion.

Jean H. Baker is Bennett-Harwood Professor of History Emerita at Goucher College. An eminent political historian and biographer, she is the author of Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion, Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists, James Buchanan, and Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography, among other titles.



1  Itching Ears
2  This New American
3  Capital Projects
4  Beloved Mary and the Little Folks
5  Breaking Points
6  Final Beginnings


Fellowships | Tyson Scholars in American Art, 2021–22

Posted in fellowships, graduate students by Editor on November 5, 2020

From Crystal Bridges:

Tyson Scholars Program: Fellowships in American Art
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2021–22

Applications due by 15 January 2021

The Tyson Scholars of American Art Program supports full-time scholarship and an expansive approach to American art and visual and material culture from the colonial period to the present. The program was established in 2012 through a $5 million commitment from the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, Inc. Since its inception, the Tyson Scholars Program has supported the work of 46 scholars, attracting academic professionals in a variety of disciplines nationally and internationally.

Crystal Bridges and the Tyson Scholars Program invites PhD candidates (or equivalent), post-doctoral researchers and senior scholars from any field who are researching American art to apply. We encourage and support scholarship that seeks to expand boundaries and traditional categories of investigation into American art and visual culture. Applicants may be focusing on art history, architecture, visual and material culture, American studies, craft, Indigenous art, Latin American art, and contemporary art. Applications will be evaluated on the originality and quality of the proposed research project and its contribution to a more equitable and inclusive history of American art.

The Tyson Scholars Program looks for research projects that will intersect meaningfully with the Museum’s collections, library resources, architecture, grounds, curatorial expertise, programs and exhibitions; and/or the University of Arkansas faculty broadly; and applicants should speak to why residence in the Heartland will advance their work. The applicant’s academic standing, scholarly qualifications, and experience will be considered, as it informs the ability of the applicant to complete the proposed project. Letters of support are strongest when they demonstrate the applicant’s excellence, promise, originality, track record, and productivity as a scholar, not when the letter contains a commentary on the project.

Crystal Bridges is dedicated to an equitable, inclusive, and diverse cohort of fellows. We seek applicants who bring a critical perspective and understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in American art, and welcome applications from qualified persons of color; who are Indigenous; with disabilities; who are LGBTQ; first-generation college graduates; from low-income households; and who are veterans.

Fellowships are residential and support full-time writing and research for terms that range from six weeks to nine months. While in residence, Tyson Scholars have access to the art and library collections of Crystal Bridges as well as the library at the University of Arkansas in nearby Fayetteville. Stipends vary depending on the duration of residency, position as senior scholar, post-doctoral scholar or pre-doctoral scholar, and range from $15,000 to $30,000 per semester, plus provided housing. Additional funds of $1,500 for relocation are provided, and research funds are available during the residency upon application. Scholars are housed at one of the Crystal Bridges residences, within easy walking distance from the Museum via wooded trails and approximately 1.5 miles from downtown Bentonville. Scholars have private bed and bathrooms in the house, and share comfortable indoor and outdoor common spaces including an expansive yard and patio. Scholars are provided workspace in the curatorial wing of Crystal Bridges’ library. The workspace is an enclosed area shared with other Tyson Scholars. Scholars are provided with basic office supplies, desk space, an office chair, space on a bookshelf, and a locking cabinet with key for personal belongings and files.

Further information about the Tyson Scholars Program, application instructions, and application portal can be found here. Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year open October 19, 2020 and close January 15, 2021.

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