James Kelly wins this year’s Irish-American Research Travel Fellowship

Published in Issue 2 (Summer 2000), News, News, Volume 8

By unanimous vote of its prize jury, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies’ Irish-American Research Travel Fellowship for 2000 has been awarded to Dr James Kelly, Head of the History Department at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin City University. The prize will enable Dr Kelly to visit Philadelphia and New York this year to pursue his research on the radical Irish patriot Sir Edward Newenham, a friend and correspondent of Benjamin Franklin, and the pre-eminent political figure in reform circles between the death of Charles Lucas in 1772 and the emergence of the United Irishmen in the early 1790s. Newenham’s career is ‘critical to understanding the nature of Protestant political radicalism’ in the later eighteenth century, Dr Kelly remarks, and to ‘that strand of it which proved unable to accept the admission of Catholics to the political process’. Since almost none of Newenham’s own papers survive he must cast a wide net—including contemporary newspapers, parliamentary records, and the papers of Newenham’s contemporaries. In Philadelphia and New York he hopes to consult Newenham’s unpublished letters to Benjamin Franklin, who had met him when travelling in Ireland during 1770, and the papers of such contemporaries as the radical publisher Mathew Carey, General Charles Vallancey and James Hewitt, Viscount Lifford, who was lord chancellor in Ireland during much of Newenham’s active career.
Established through donations from individual working scholars and librarians on both sides of the Atlantic—and supported by a challenge grant from the US National Endowment for the Humanities—ASECS’s Irish research travel fund alternates between North American scholars pursuing documentary research in Ireland (whether in the Republic or the North) and Irish-based scholars travelling to North America, for research or presentation of their work at an ASECS-related conference. Original research on any aspect of eighteenth-century Ireland qualifies for consideration—political and cultural history, literature and languages, economics, science and medicine, law, publishing, music and the arts. Prize recipients must be members of ASECS or the Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society. Day-to-day administration is handled by two trustees, and prize winners are chosen by an independent jury of three distinguished scholars from different disciplines (this year from history, English, and art history), supported by a network of research specialists both in Ireland and America. Its next Irish research travel fellowship, to be awarded early in 2001, will go to a North American-based scholar wishing to travel to Ireland.
Enquiries: Executive Secretary, PO Box 7867, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, asecs@wfu.edu.

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