Big Changes at the OI

August 4, 2021 — With a tear in our collective eye, we announce that OI Executive Director Karin Wulf is leaving the Omohundro Institute. She will begin as Director and Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University on October 15. The JCB is the preeminent research collection in the world for the study of the Americas prior to 1825. 

Catherine E. Kelly, currently OI Editor of Books, will assume the role of OI Interim Director while a search for Wulf’s successor is conducted by the OI Board of Directors and William & Mary. (Details of that search will be published in future newsletters.) 

After eight years at the helm, preceded by a decade as William and Mary Quarterly Book Review Editor, Wulf leaves an expanded OI with many new endeavors and collaborations. These include a robust interest in digital humanities projects and born-digital scholarship as well as joint projects with organizations including the Georgian Papers Programme, Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation (Enslaved.org), Slavevoyages.org, and Commonplace with the American Antiquarian Society. Additionally, the OI’s focus on 2026 includes new collaborations and new programs to support scholars and scholarship in this important commemoration. 

“Karin’s enormous creativity, energy, and dedication to scholarship have reshaped the OI,” says Barbara Oberg, chair of the OI Board of Directors. “With her leadership, we expanded our platforms—everything from podcasts to websites such as Colonial Virginia Portraits and the OI Reader—and our purview. Her focus on #VastEarlyAmerica influenced OI programming and publishing, already a model of expansive thinking and research, immeasurably. She will be sorely missed but I can think of no one better to guide us through the next stage of the OI’s evolution than Cathy Kelly. She is experienced, knows the OI and the Vast Early America community from many perspectives, and has proven she can balance a variety of responsibilities with a sure hand.” 

The OI was founded in 1943 as a collaboration between William & Mary and Colonial Williamsburg. Previous directors included Lester J. Cappon (1955-1969), Thad W. Tate (1972-1989), and Ronald Hoffman (1992-2013). 

The Board of Directors determines matters of policy and is responsible for the financial and general management and for resource development of the OI. The Board of Directors consists of seven members: five elected by the Board and two ex officio members (the chief academic officer of William & Mary and the chair of the OI Council).

  • Sarah Barringer Gordon, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard Law School
  • Jennifer L. Morgan, New York University
  • Mary Beth Norton, Cornell University 
  • Barbara B. Oberg, Princeton University (Chair)
  • Paul S. Sperry, Sperry, Mitchell & Co.
  • Ann Marie Stock, William & Mary