The Morgan announces Jesse R. Erickson as the Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings

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The Morgan announces Jesse R. Erickson as the Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings
Dr. Erickson is a rising star in the world of special collections curators and librarians. © The Morgan Library & Museum, Photography by Janny Chiu, 2021.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Morgan Library & Museum announces the appointment of Jesse R. Erickson, Ph.D., as the Astor Curator and Department Head, Printed Books and Bindings. This pivotal position stewards a collection that ranges from the earliest printed ephemera to important contemporary first editions. The Morgan’s holdings encompass numerous high points in the history of printing, often exemplified by a lone surviving copy or a copy that is perfect in every way. Dr. Erickson, who will assume his post in January 2022, will succeed Dr. John Bidwell, who has held the position since 1999 and will retire at the end of the year.

“Dr. Erickson is a rising star in the world of special collections curators and librarians, whose knowledge about, and enthusiasm for, the history of the printed word will create new opportunities around the Morgan’s distinguished collection,” said Dr. Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library & Museum.

“The Morgan’s curators are the driving force behind our exhibitions and scholarly and public programs,” said Lawrence R. Ricciardi, President of the Board of Trustees. “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Erickson to the Printed Books and Bindings department. His expertise and experience will be vital in the role of developing, interpreting, and conserving the Morgan’s printed books collection.”

Dr. Erickson’s research specializations include ethnobibliography, African American print culture, and the transnational publishing history of the Victorian period author Ouida. Most recently, he served the University of Delaware in the positions of Coordinator of Special Collections and Digital Humanities, Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center. In 2021, Dr. Erickson was named Co-Editor of The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, the quarterly journal of the Bibliographic Society of America and an important publication for scholarly communication on bibliographic matters since 1906. In addition to organizing exhibitions at the University of Delaware, Dr. Erickson co-curated “I Am an American! The Authorship and Activism of Alice Dunbar-Nelson”, an online exhibition developed through a partnership between The Rosenbach Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press. He previously served in the position of Programs Chair for the Southern California Chapter of the American Printing History Association (APHA) and as the Vice President for Programs on APHA’s national Board of Trustees from 2017 to 2019, most notably organizing the 2019 national conference “One Press, Many Hands: Diversity in the History of American Printing.” His publications include “The Gentleman’s Ghost,” in the book Archives and Special Collections as Sites of Contestation; “An Aesthetic History of the Ouija Board,” in the journal Printing History; and “Revolution in Black,” in the journal Publishing History. He has also served on the editorial boards of the University of Delaware Press and Publishing History. Dr. Erickson holds a master’s in Library and Information Science and a doctorate in Information Studies from the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies.

“Joining the Morgan Library & Museum represents one of the greatest honors of my life,” said Dr. Erickson. “I have long believed in the Morgan’s mission to develop, research, and interpret world-class collections for the advancement of learning and the enjoyment of the widest public. With such a rich variety of exhibitions and programs, in this position I see the opportunity to join a global conversation about the importance of art, history, and culture, to expand the cultural narrative, and to enrich the direction of our field. Such ideas hold great significance for me.”

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