Date of this Version
Documentary Editing, Volume 24, Number 4, December 2002.
ISSN 2476-1796 (electronic); ISSN 2167-1451 (print)
Good morning. It's a pleasure to be here. I am an admirer and grateful user of a number of documentary editions produced by people in this room. On a small scale, as an editor of a scholarly edition of Ridolfi's The Life of Titian, I experienced the rigors and rewards of your special kind of academic labor. The work is painstaking, repetitive, sometimes tedious. For many editions, scholars must invest decades in close reading, collaborative research, and careful transcription.
But your work has permanence and resonance. It is significant that some scholarly editions are published on paper meant to last 500 years. For posterity, you record and contextualize history's most important correspondence, influential speeches, and revealing asides. What you do is a form of scholarship that is particularly allied with the core mission of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our mission is simply this: "Because democracy demands wisdom, the NEH serves and strengthens our Republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans." You give generations to come the tools to understand history and discover its lessons anew.
Today I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss with you some of the ways we can work together in the realms of furthering scholarship, safeguarding academic standards, and addressing the challenge of American amnesia.