As a new academic year is about to begin, I look back to summer’s start, when I had the privilege to work at the American Library in Paris (ALP) with two talented research students, Sarah Lundy and Michaela Stock. With support from Grand Challenges at Hope College|Paris Stories, a program funded by the Mellon Foundation, we spent two weeks in May in the archives at the ALP. From time to time, we joined with the Paris May Term, led by Dr. Lauren Janes and Dr. Heidi Kraus. We were given a generous welcome by everyone at the library, and we owe special thanks to Abigail Altman, Assistant Director of Collections and Reference, who coordinated with us from the beginning and guided us through the library’s rich collection and history. We thank her for everything she did on our behalf.
I’m enormously proud of the work accomplished by Sarah and Michaela, which they showcase in their project website, entitled Archive Stories|Paris. Take a look at the finding aid they wrote for the library that details the books once owned Nadia Boulanger, an important 20th-century American composer and music teacher in Paris, which are now part of the special collections at the ALP.
At the end of our stay, a librarian quoted a line from Casablanca that echoed our hopes as well: this summer was just the “beginning of a beautiful friendship.” We’re eager to collaborate again with American Library in Paris – there is much more to discover.
If you’re interested, feel free to contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Natalie Dykstra, Professor of English
Photos by the author