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Researcher Advisory Group


The New York Public Library has established a Researcher Advisory Group to provide feedback and share insights on various initiatives, as well as offer their own suggestions for the future of research services provided by NYPL.

The Researcher Advisory Group will meet periodically at the Library’s 42nd Street building, and will discuss updates and plans for research services offered to the public across the NYPL system, which includes four research centers and 88 branch libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island.

The group agreed on the following mission statement for its work: “The Researcher Advisory Group will serve as an open communication channel between users of the research collections of the New York Public Library and the Library's senior administration and staff. Members of the advisory group may raise issues to discuss with the administration, and the administration will bring issues affecting researchers to the group for discussion.

“The Researcher Advisory Group will advise the Library about aspects of service related to the research mission of the Library, including but not limited to standards of service, uses of the collections, and opportunities for user engagement.”

Membership or participation in the Researcher Advisory Group does not imply endorsement of the Library's policies, decisions, or activities.

Team members – who are active users of the Library and respected representatives of key constituencies – volunteered to participate or were nominated by faculty and student governing bodies of area universities.  Current members are:

Thomas Bender

Thomas Bender is University Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History at New York University, where he has taught since 1974. His scholarship and teaching has covered three domains: U.S. intellectual and cultural history, urbanism and city culture, and the history of academic disciplines. His books include Toward an Urban Vision (1976), New York Intellect (1987), Intellect and Public Life (1994), The University and the City (1988), The Unfinished City: New York and the Metropolitan Idea (2002). Recently he has turned his attention to the larger dimensions of American history, arguing that even the domestic history of the United States cannot be separated from global history. This project is reflected in his Rethinking American History in a Global Age (2002) and A Nation Among Nations: America’s Place in World History (2006). He occasionally writes for general newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Getty Scholar, a Rockefeller Humanities Fellow, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

Elizabeth S. Blackmar

Professor of History, Columbia University (Former NYPL Cullman Center Fellow)

Elizabeth Blackmar, Professor, specializes in social and urban history. She received her B.A. from Smith (1972) and her Ph.D. from Harvard (1981). Her publications include "The Park and the People: A History of Central Park" (with Roy Rosenzweig, 1992) and "Manhattan for Rent," 1785-1850 (1989). Her recent articles include "Inheriting Property and Debt: From Family Security to Corporate Accumulation" in Capitalism Takes Command: The Social Transformation of Nineteenth-Century America (2011), “Of REITS and Rights: Absentee Ownership at the Periphery” in City, Country, Empire: Landscapes in Environmental History (2005) and “Appropriating the Commons: The Tragedy of Property Rights Discourse” in The Politics of Public Space (2005).

Stephen Brier

Professor and ITP Certificate Program Coordinator, CUNY Graduate Center

Stephen Brier is a Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education, where he teaches courses on the history of public education, information technology and the history of higher education. He founded and is Coordinator of and a faculty member in the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy doctoral certificate program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Brier is also co-director of the Graduate Center’s New Media Lab, an interdisciplinary research space for doctoral students and faculty, and serves as the Graduate Center’s Senior Academic Technology Officer.

Brier was the co-founder of the pioneering American Social History Project, which he directed for almost twenty years, and co-wrote, co-produced, and co-edited its award-winning Who Built America? multimedia curriculum, which includes textbooks, videos, CD-ROMs and websites. Working at the intersection of history and academic technology, he has published extensively on a range of academic and popular subjects as well as on the impact of information technology on teaching and learning inside and beyond the classroom. Professor Brier received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from UCLA.

Roberta Brody

Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Queens College, CUNY

Professor Brody's research and interests – relative to the information professions - concern the social construction of information content and information technology. Included in this agenda are evaluative explorations of both the material and non-material information culture. This includes inquiry into information quality and information ethics issues in social and technical environments of information and information use; especially within business setting. Her work in Competitive Intelligence before I entered academia informs my research and writing on business and competitive intelligence.

Other research interests include contemporary and popular material culture; particularly artists' books, soap operas, romance novels, and time travel fiction. Recent research in this area includes an analysis of folk motifs in soap operas and thematic comparisons of soap opera themes to romance literature.

Deanna D. Clark, Esq.

Senior International Trade and Fashion Compliance attorney at Schrier Shayne Koenig Sanburg & Ryne in New York, NY.

Deanna Clark advises micro-enterprises and small businesses in their start up and growth phase providing them with customized fashion, product, marketing, and import/export compliance solutions, representation in litigation, and assistance with responding to government agency inquiries and audits. Clients include retailers, importers, exporters, e-commerce sellers, fashion designers, customs brokers, freight forwarders and NVOCCs.

Deanna is an adjunct professor at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) in its International Trade and Marketing Dept. where she teaches International Business Law and serves on the university’s Diversity Council. She has also taught CLE courses for and the CA State Bar Section - Cyber Institute.

Deanna hosts “Fashion Compliance Defined” an educational program on fashion law, and writes a blog called “International Trade for Everyday People.” She serves as the International Representative to the NY Chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT-NY) and as an advisory board member of Africa Fashion Week New York.

Deanna received her JD from Tulane Law School, an MA in Diplomatic Studies from the University of Malta’s Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, and her BA in Peace & Conflict Studies from U.C. Berkeley.

Farah Griffin 

William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies, Columbia University; Director of the Schomburg Center's Writers in Residence Program at The New York Public Library

B.A., Harvard (1985); Ph.D.,Yale (1992). Professor Griffin's major fields of interest are American and African American literature, music, history and politics. The recipient of numerous honors and awards for her teaching and scholarship, in 2006-2007 Professor Griffin was a fellow at the New York Public Library Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. She is the author of Who Set You Flowin’: The African American Migration Narrative (Oxford, 1995), If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (Free Press, 2001) and Clawing At the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever (Thomas Dunne, 2008). She is also the editor of Beloved Sisters and Loving Friends: Letters from Addie Brown and Rebecca Primus (Knopf, 1999) co-editor, with Cheryl Fish, of Stranger in the Village: Two Centuries of African American Travel Writing (Beacon, 1998) and co-editor with Brent Edwards and Robert O'Meally of Uptown Conversations: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia University Press, 2004).

Stephen Kotkin

John P. Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs; Vice Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University (Former NYPL Cullman Center Fellow)

Stephen Kotkin is the John P. Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs and acting director (2013-14) of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University, where he has been teaching since 1989. Former vice dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs. He established the university’s Global History initiative and serves on the core editorial committee of the journal, World Politics. He founded and edits a book series on Northeast Asia. From 2003 until 2007, he was a member and then chair of the editorial board at Princeton University Press. From 1996 until 2009 he directed Princeton's Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies. He has been a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship

Outside Princeton, he serves as a consultant on emerging markets and on higher education in post-Communist countries. From 2006 until February 2009, he was the regular book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business section. He is the author of four books: Steeltown, USSR (1991), Magnetic Mountain (1995), Armageddon Averted (2001, 2008), and Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of Communist Establishments (2009). He has completed volume I (forthcoming, fall 2014) of a three-volume work entitled Stalin’s World, a history of the world from Stalin’s desk. He also has a manuscript in draft called Lost in Siberia: Labyrinths of the Ob River Basin, and another one on the Soviet Union in Afghanistan based on military and police records. His research and teaching interests include authoritarianism, geopolitics, global political economy, empire, and modernism in the arts and politics. Kotkin received his B.A. from the University of Rochester and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Evan Misshula

Ph.D. candidate in Criminal Justice, CUNY Graduate Center

Evan is a Ph.D. candidate at the Doctoral Program of Criminal Justice, CUNY Graduate Center. He is also an adjunct lecturer affiliated with the Mathematics & Computer Science Department, John Jay College, and teaches courses in statistics and computer security. His research interests revolve around prisoner reentry, economics of post incarceration, data mining for threat classification and risk analysis.

Kristin Moriah

Ph.D. student in English Literature, CUNY Graduate Center

Kristin Moriah is an Ontario native and a Ph.D. student in the English Program at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. She holds an M.A. in English Literature from McGill University and an Honors B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Western Ontario. She is an activist and an organizer. She is also the recipient of a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship.

Her main research interests are in African American literature and performance. Kristin’s dissertation research concerns 19th century African American performance, particularly the circulation of African American performance within the black diaspora and its influence on the formation of national identity. She has conducted archival work for this project in Canada, the United States and Europe. She is currently on a sponsored research stay in Germany at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Her academic work has appeared in Peer English, Callaloo, Theater Journal, TDR and most recently in Understanding Blackness Through Performance, a collection edited by Anne Cremieux, Xavier Lemoine and Jean-Paul Rocchi. She is also on the editorial board of the Lost & Found Project.

Carl H. Pforzheimer III

Manager of Chipco Asset Management, llc, and of Carl H. Pforzheimer & Co. llc., Liaison to the New York Public Library Board of Trustees

Carl H. Pforzheimer III is Manager of Chipco Asset Management, llc, and of Carl H. Pforzheimer & Co. llc. He has chaired the boards of the National Humanities Center, Pace University, and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, and was president of the Scarsdale public schools. A board member at The New York Public Library and the Corning Museum of Glass and past President of the Harvard Alumni Association, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and serves as a member of the Academy’s Trust and was recently elected its Treasurer.

Chase Robinson

Distinguished Professor and President of the CUNY Graduate Center

Chase F. Robinson is the interim president of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the doctorate-granting institution of one of the nation’s largest universities. Dr. Robinson, a historian of the premodern Middle East, is also a Distinguished Professor of History.

From 2008 through June 2013, he served as Provost and Senior Vice President of the Graduate Center. In this capacity, Dr. Robinson led a comprehensive planning process culminating in the Graduate Center’s Strategic Plan for 2012-2016, outlining the institution’s major goals. Dr. Robinson also worked with the Office of Institutional Advancement to secure major funding to enhance faculty support, helped establish the Graduate Center at the forefront of the digital evolution within higher education, expanded the Master’s of Liberal Studies program, and launched major initiatives, such as the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences, the CUNY Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context, and the Advanced Research Collaborative.

Dr. Robinson received an A.B. (Honors) from Brown University, having also studied at the American University in Cairo, the University of Cairo, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, where he was awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. In 1993 he joined the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Wolfson College, Oxford, where he taught until 2008. From 1999 to 2000 he was a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and in 2005 he received a two-year British Academy Research Readership.

A specialist in early Islamic history, Robinson is the author or editor of seven books and more than forty articles. He also serves on a number of editorial and review boards, and his commentaries have appeared in Inside Higher Education, the Huffington Post, the (London) Times Higher Education Supplement, and Radio 5 in the UK.

Neil Rudenstine

Chair of ARTstor, Liaison to the New York Public Library Board of Trustees

Neil L. Rudenstine is Chair of ARTstor, an initiative created by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Previously, he was President of Harvard University from 1991-2001. From 1988-1991, he served as Executive Vice President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. During the two preceding decades, Rudenstine was a faculty member and senior administrator at Princeton University. A scholar of Renaissance literature, he was a professor of English and also held a series of administrative posts: dean of students (1968-72), dean of the college (1972-77), and provost (1977-88). Previously, Rudenstine served at Harvard from 1964 to 1968 as an instructor and then an assistant professor in the Department of English and American Literature and Language.

Rudenstine received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 1956. A Rhodes Scholar, he studied for the next three years at New College, Oxford University, where he earned a second BA and an MA. In 1964, he was awarded a PhD in English from Harvard. He then joined the faculty at Harvard, and stayed until leaving for Princeton in 1968

Rudenstine is an honorary Fellow of New College, Oxford, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, as well as Provost Emeritus of Princeton University and President Emeritus of Harvard University. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a former director of the American Council on Education, and a member of the American Philosophical Society. Rudenstine has also served as a trustee of Princeton University, of the College Entrance Examination Board, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut, of which he is a graduate. He is currently Chair of the Boards of ARTstor, the New York Public Library, and the Rockefeller Archive Center, as well as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the J.P. Getty Trust and Chair of the Education Committee of the Board of the Barnes Foundation.

Rudenstine is the author of several books including Sidney’s Poetic Development; English Poetic Satire (with G.S. Rousseau); In Pursuit of the PhD (with W. G. Bowen); Pointing Our Thoughts; the recently completed The House of Barnes: The Man, The Collection, The Controversy; and the forthcoming Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Susan Smith-Peter

Associate Professor of History, College of Staten Island (CUNY)

Susan Smith-Peter works on Russian history beyond the two capitals of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Beginning with a study of identity in the provinces of European (or central) Russia, she has branched out to investigate the regional identity of the Russian North and Siberia as well. She has published articles on topics related to civil society and regional identity in such journals as The Russian Review, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History and Russian History/Histoire Russe. Her next project deals with the history of creoles in Russian America, which was sold to the United States as Alaska in 1867. Creoles were the offspring of Russian men and Native women. She is chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Slavic History and Culture and has received a Fulbright for study in Russia, as well as grants and awards from the American Historical Association, IREX, Fulbright-Hays, the University of Illinois and CUNY.

Jean Strouse

Director of the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library

Jean Strouse is the author of Morgan, American Financier, and Alice James, A Biography (which won the Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy). She writes essays and reviews for, among other publications, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Slate. She has held fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts. A past president of the Society of American Historians, she worked as a consultant (oral historian) to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Sally Webster


Sally Webster is Professor of American Art, Emeritus, Lehman College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is currently a writer in residence at the Wertheim Study where she completed several articles on public art along with a book-length study, The Nation’s First Monument and the Origins of the American Memorial Tradition to be published by Ashgate in 2014. Her current project, The Lenox Library, A Palace of Art and Books for Nineteenth-century New York, is an outgrowth of her work in the Archives and Manuscripts Division. Here she examined the art collection assembled by James Lenox, whose library of rare books became one of the founding collections of the New York Public Library.

Susan Whyman

Historian, Formerly of Princeton University

Susan Whyman holds an MA and Ph. D in History from Princeton University and an MLS in Library Science from Rutgers University. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, she is the author of The Pen and the People: English Letter Writers 1660-1800 (Winner of the Modern Language Association Prize 2010); Walking the Streets of London: John Gay’s Trivia 1716, co-edited with Clare Brant; and Sociability and Power in Late Stuart England: The Cultural Worlds of the Verneys, (Nominated, History Today Prize, 2000), all published by Oxford University Press. She is writing a book on William Hutton (1723-1815) Bookseller of Birmingham.

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