Hamilton College has announced the creation of the Richard W. Couper (RWC) Press named in honor of the late Richard W. Couper'44, an alumnus and life trustee of Hamilton and benefactor of the Burke Library. Couper also served as a former president and CEO of the New York Public Library, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and deputy commissioner of higher education with the New York State Education Department.
The RWC Press has been organized by Couper Librarian Randall Ericson and is funded by the Couper Endowment which was established to make library archival holdings more available to the public. The press will publish a quarterly journal of scholarship, American Communal Societies Quarterly (ACSQ), which will showcase the communal societies collections of the library. The press will also publish a monograph series with commentary on items in the library's utopian communities collection. In the future, research stipends will be available to scholars and students who wish to work in the Hamilton archives.
The preview issue of the ACSQ is currently available. The quarterly periodical includes scholarly articles and reprinted important historical documents. Ericson serves as editor of the ACSQ. The preview issue focuses on Shaker communities and includes a reprinted 1789 essay by William Scales titled "Mystery of the People Called Shakers." The piece is introduced by David Newell, a book dealer specializing in Shaker and other communal groups. The issue also includes "News and Notes," which discusses recent Shaker-related news including museum exhibits and field trips, an announcement of a digitized version of The Shaker Manifesto available from the library as well as new library acquisitions. The first volume will be printed in 2007.
The monographic series, called the American Communal Societies Series, is devoted to the study of American communal communities and will provide a venue for the publication and dissemination of scholarship about them. The publications will be peer-reviewed, scholarly works including new scholarship in the field as well as critical editions of important historical works. It will publish two works per year, beginning in 2007.
Having served 46 years as a trustee of Hamilton, Couper was second only to Elihu Root in length of tenure in that role. He demonstrated his support for the college in many ways, including his earlier contributions to the library for special purchases and his establishment of an endowment for the Couper Librarian. Couper, his wife Patsy and his parents also established the Williams-Watrous-Couper Fund, an endowment that supports faculty research and teaching improvement. He contributed his time as well as his financial support to the College and was recognized for his efforts with the college's 2004 Volunteer of the Year Award.
Inquiries and submissions for the American Communal Societies Series should be sent to Elizabeth De Wolfe, series editor, at edewolfe.une.edu. For subscription information to ACSQ call 859-4489.