Hidden Treasures at Wesleyan; A Virtual WESeminar 

Did you know that Wesleyan is home to one-of-a-kind writings and manuscripts by Alexander Hamilton, the Marquis de Lafayette, and other luminaries of American history, owned by the Dietrich American Foundation? Please join our panel of literary experts, moderated by Wesleyan’s Director of Special Collections and Archives Suzy Taraba, to learn about these countless literary treasures, and how Wesleyan students and faculty gain new insights on American history working with primary source materials.

Event Details:
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
7 pm EDT

A Zoom link and details for accessing the event will be sent to your email address prior to the event.

Our panelists

  • Demetrius Eudell, Wesleyan University's Dean of the Social Sciences and Professor of History
  • Morrison Heckscher ’62, Curator emeritus of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Richard Dietrich ’92, President, The Dietrich American Foundation. Co-editor of “In Pursuit of History: a Lifetime Collecting Colonial American Art and Artifacts” published by Yale University Press, 2020 (https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780876332931/pursuit-history).
  • Suzy Taraba '77, Director of Special Collections and Archives at Wesleyan University

Please contact Mark Davis, at mdavis@wesleyan.edu


More about our presenters:

H. Richard Dietrich III ‘92,  will discuss In Pursuit of History: A Lifetime Collecting Colonial American Art and Artifacts. 

The book is a tribute to a major collection and its founder, showcasing highlights from the Dietrich American Foundation.  The foundation was established in 1963 by H. Richard Dietrich Jr. (Class of ‘60), and focuses on 18th century American fine and decorative art. The foundation works with museums and cultural institutions to support their collections primarily through loans of objects and artifacts, with the books and manuscripts portion of the collection housed at Wesleyan. The book was published by the Dietrich American Foundation in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and distributed by Yale Press.   The book is accompanied by an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, entitled A Collector's Vision: Highlights from the Dietrich American Foundation.  The exhibit will run until November 15th once the museum reopens to the public.  

Richard is President of the Dietrich American Foundation.  He has spent his career working in non-profit management, having first started out in Washington DC in government.  He received his BA at Wesleyan University and an MBA from Yale University.   


Demetrius L. Eudell is Dean of the Social Sciences and Professor of History at Wesleyan University, where he specializes in 19th-century U.S. history, intellectual history, and the history of Blacks in the Americas. In addition to a number of essays and articles on Black intellectual and cultural history, he is the also the author of The Political Languages of Emancipation in the British Caribbean and the U.S. South and co-editor with Carolyn Allen of Sylvia Wynter: A Transculturalist Rethinking Modernity, a special issue of The Journal of West Indian Literature. His current research projects include an exploration of the interconnections of the discourses of hierarchy of race and caste as well as an examination of the role of ideas of history, nature, and human differences in the 18th-century Enlightenment with special reference to the German Aufklärung. Dean Eudell received his AB at Dartmouth College and his PhD at Stanford University.


Morrison H. Heckscher ’62 is Curator emeritus of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Mr. Heckscher joined the Metropolitan Museum in 1966, and in 1998 was appointed the Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts, and assumed chairmanship of The American Wing in 2001. As chairman, he conceived and initiated the redesign and reinstallation of the entire Wing.

Mr. Heckscher was the curator of a number of important exhibitions at the Metropolitan, including: The Architecture of Richard Morris Hunt (1986), American Rococo: Elegance in Ornament, 1750–1775 (with Leslie Greene Bowman, 1992), The Architecture of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1995), Central Park–A Sesquicentennial Celebration (2003), and John Townsend, Newport Cabinetmaker (2005).

His recent awards include: Antique Dealers Association of America Award of Merit (2011); the Frederic E. Church Award (awarded jointly to Mr. Heckscher and Martha Stewart by The Olana Partnership, 2012); Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History (The Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, 2012); and Iris Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scholarship (Bard Graduate Center, 2013).  Mr. Heckscher also serves on the board of the Dietrich American Foundation.

He was received his BA at Wesleyan University, MA at The Winterthur Program in Early American Culture, University of Delaware (M.A.); and his PhD at Columbia University.


Suzy Taraba ’77 MALS '10 is Director of Special Collections and Archives at Wesleyan University. She holds BA (College of Letters) and MALS degrees from Wesleyan and the MS in Library Science from Columbia. Before returning to her alma mater in 1997, she held special collections positions at the Bakken Library of Electricity in Life (now the Bakken Museum), Columbia, Duke, and the University of Chicago. Suzy is a former chair of ACRL's The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Fostering undergraduate excitement about special collections and archives is one of her favorite parts of her job.



07/29/2020 07:00 PM - 08:30 PM