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OI 18th Annual Conference



Huntington LibraryHosted by the Huntington Library and the University of Southern California, with funding from the USC Department of History, the Dean of Dornsife College, and the Office of the Provost, and the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute

The Eighteenth Annual Conference is held in honor of Robert C. (Roy) Ritchie,
W. M. Keck Foundation Director of Research emeritus, The Huntington Library.


The Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture was founded as the Institute of Early American History and Culture in 1943 by the College of William and Mary and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to “foster study, research, and publications bearing on American history approximately to the year 1815.” Still jointly sponsored by the College and Colonial Williamsburg, the Institute was renamed in 1996, in recognition of a generous endowment from the late Mr. and Mrs. Malvern H. Omohundro, Jr. The Institute publishes the William and Mary Quarterly, books in its field of interest, and a e-newsletter; organizes and supports a variety of conferences, seminars, and colloquia; and annually offers a two-year postdoctoral fellowship.

In June 1995, the Institute inaugurated a series of annual conferences specifically designed to serve as a forum for the rich variety of work under way in the early American field. Organized exclusively by calls for papers and panels and held in a different geographic region each year, these meetings are intended to bring together and facilitate exchanges among junior and senior scholars from several disciplines who share a common interest in the history and culture of early America.

The 2012 Annual Institute Conference honors Robert C. (Roy) Ritchie, who retired as W. M. Keck Foundation Director of Research at the Huntington Library on June 30, 2011. Roy’s extraordinarily productive career at the Huntington, especially his expansion of the library’s fellowship program, has been justly lauded in a number of forums. This space is devoted to his deeply valued connection with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. Throughout his nineteen-year tenure at the Huntington, Roy has been a constant presence in the Institute’s organizational and intellectual life. First elected to the Council in 1991, he subsequently served a second term as chair (1995–1998). In May 2001 he became a member of the Executive Board and was chosen its chair in 2008, a position he continues to hold today. Roy’s supportive involvement extends far beyond his “official” leadership role, however. Among the earliest of his many collaborative proposals was an offer to all Institute fellows of a summer research fellowship at the Huntington, to be taken within five years of their tenure in Williamsburg. In 1995 the Huntington and the Institute co-sponsored “The Economy of British America: The Domestic Sector,” the first in a series of joint efforts that subsequently included the Eleventh Annual Conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2005), followed in the fall of that year by “Ottoman and Atlantic Empires in the Early Modern World,” held in Istanbul. The founding of the University of Southern California-Huntington Library Early Modern Studies Institute (EMSI) by Roy, Peter C. Mancall, and Carole Shammas in 2003–2004 sparked the initiation of another cooperative venture in 2006—the annual William and Mary Quarterly-EMSI workshops, the seventh of which takes place at the Huntington in May 2012. In 2008 and 2009, EMSI and the Omohundro Institute sponsored a two-conference series on the theme “Permanence and the Built Environment” that considered both the eighteenth-century Atlantic World and the Pacific basin. Most recently, the Huntington joined the Institute and several other sponsors in presenting “Warring for America, 1803–1818,” a meeting hosted by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in the spring of 2011.

In recognition of all these contributions and with gratitude for the collegiality, wise counsel, and friendship they represent, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture is pleased to hold its Eighteenth Annual Conference in honor of Roy Ritchie.

Peter C. Mancall (University of Southern California) and Carole Shammas (University of Southern California) chaired the program committee for the 2012 conference. Members of the committee included Lisa Cody (Claremont-McKenna College), Steven W. Hackel (University of California, Riverside), Mark Hanna (University of California, San Diego), Michael Meranze (University of California, Los Angeles), John Smolenski (University of California, Davis), and Terri Snyder (University of California, Fullerton). The organizers thank the Huntington Library for its hospitality and financial support and the USC Department of History, the Dean of Dornsife College, and the Office of the Provost, and the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute for the generous additional funding they provided for the conference.