Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Birthing My Fourth Babe

I presented at the day-long academic conference on US Constitutional process in comparative perspective, a nutshell version of my dissertation. Pictures taken and provided courtesy of early Quill supporter Dave Christensen. 

No, not that kind of baby.  She's still safely in the womb -- for at least another seven weeks, one hopes!  But I did help to birth another brainchild recently - that of my Oxford supervisors' in the form of Quill.

My first baby was ConSource, launched from the Supreme Court in 2006, now run by the inimitable Julie Silverbrook (see pic below).  That was a gestation period of eighteen months, and a weaning phase of nearly a decade.  Quill, a sister project to ConSource (and closely partnering with it), has been in utero for two years.  I am exceptionally pleased it is now up and available for public consumption, and by the "midwife" role I led in its birth - lots of advice and soothing, a little bit of work, but the heavy work of labor was done by the project's founder, Nicholas Cole.

Leave it to a triple-Oxford dipper and classical historian-cum-Americanist to create the only historical research project (hopefully we can call it a centre by raising a small endowment!) for understanding constitutional conventions

Julie Silverbrook, my successor at ConSource, and partner - especially for document images and educational resources - for Quill

The project is lodged at Pembroke College, Oxford.  Launching it gave us occasion to celebrate with a day-long academic conference followed by a two-day tour for some that have made its birth possible, noting that we were missing the project's earliest and one of its most important supporters, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, who had his own launch the same day. 

We hosted folks at the Head of the River.

View of Pembroke College from its primary quad

Getting a tour of the Bodleian.  I am looking so very pregnant!

Christchurch's Tom tower 

Finally made it to the Kilns, C.S. Lewis' home, in nearby Headington Quarry.

Merton College Library, the oldest academic library in continuous function

Merton College "breakfast room," where one of two Oxford teams working on the King James Version of the Bible met in the 1600s.  A rare, rare treat.

Saturday night dinner at University College.

We of course had to see the Harry Potter steps

and the Harry Potter dinning hall, aka Christchurch hall, where constitutional signer Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and John Locke, William Penn, Lewis Carol, and Methodist founders ate as students (not all together.

Church with my little peanut.

Quill's new 17th C digs (the first post-reformation place of worship for an Oxford Baptist congregation), made possible by a generous multi-year commitment from David and Laurea Stirling.

Small Wonders
* Gideonisms: Overheard in the backseat: "Esther, do you want one? They are my favorite.  Open wide!" Upon meeting someone for the first time, "Hi, a friend!" In reading the scriptures "Behold, a truck" (and slipping in other motorized vehicles throughout his reading-on-mommy-repeat). Getting Esther up: "Did you have a good sleep in your cozy bed?" Pondering: "I'm going to think now - think, think, think, think." On a blustery day: "I'm going to blow away!" "Seriously, wind! I need you to stop making cold.  I need you to make warm!" [to me] "I talked to that wind."
* G was watched while I was gone by Lance's mom and dad, Poppy and Wowwy.  Gideon, in referring to his grandfather, said "Poppy my good friend."  And they are.
* E chatters all the time.  When you can understand her, she is speaking in complete thoughts and sentences, such as this deciphered while in Paris: "Lie down, bear.  Go to sleep!"
* E is in a clingy phase, but it makes for lots of cuddles and kisses, which I love dearly.

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