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Building a University: Vanderbilt's Third Decade, 1895-1905

About the Project

This fellowship explores primary sources about the university’s third decade. Have you ever wondered about the early years of Vanderbilt University? The third decade of Vanderbilt saw a new medical school built on campus, a dynamo to provide electricity, and, sadly, the destruction of the administration building by fire. You’ll examine historically significant university archives and manuscripts in the Special Collections Library and place them in context within the university’s and the nation’s history. This fellowship blends curatorial practice and the history of the University. Students will research and interpret books and other items from the Special Collections Library and place them in context of historic events and cultural production. Fellows will curate an exhibition about their chosen books and present on what they learned. This fellowship requires a five-to eight-hour commitment weekly including class meetings. Fellows receive a small salary and learn how to think critically about primary sources while building an exhibition. The course meets Wednesdays at 3:00pm. Lab time (in Special Collections or on Zoom) will also be scheduled during the semester to maximize your time with your materials. Labs are hands-on time for building your curatorial work. You’ll be able to ask questions about the objects you have selected, learn how to interpret your objects, discuss research materials available, and plan your exhibit case description.


Teresa Gray; Kathy Smith 


Applications open