Notes from the Chair

WESS Newsletter

Vol. 23, No. 1 (Fall 1999)

by John Cullars

Stephen Lehmann concluded his remarks for this column a year ago by officially expressing the Section’s sorrow and sense of loss at the death of beloved Italian vendor Mario Casalini. Mr. Casalini, his wonderful family and dedicated staff remain in our personal and collective memories. A principal concern of mine has been framing a program for the year 2000 dealing with Italian cultural topics dedicated to the memory of Mario Casalini; pursuant of that goal, the program committee, consisting by Assunta Pisani, chair, Beau David Case, John Dillon, Tom Kilton, Mary Jane Parrine, Susanne Roberts, and Kathy Hunter Rutter, with the unofficial but much appreciated assistance of Beth Remak-Honnef and Marje Schutze-Coburn, is in the process of putting together a constellation of topics and speakers that aspires to being a worthy memorial to the beloved figure it honors. The WESS 2000 program will focus on various aspects of Italian cultural history and its representation and interest in the North American academic andlibrary scenes. There will be four speakers who have been directly involved in the teaching of and research in Italian matters in the United States and with Italian publishing and bibliography: Dante Della Terza, Professor Emeritus of Harvard University, a long-time friend and associate of Mr. Casalini, currently teaching at the University of Naples and residing inRome, will be the keynote speaker. He will speak on current and past Italian cultural trends, both in Italy and as their presence ismanifested in the United States. Paul Gehl of Newberry Library, Chicago, and also a good friend of Mario, will address Italian bibliography in the U.S.A., John Tedeschi, a a long-term collaborator of some of Mario’s publishing projects, will speak on recent developments in the study of the Roman Inquisition. Finally, Ingrid Rowland, University of Chicago, will address cover certain aspects of the Italian fine arts–all topics close to the heart of Mario Casalini. The committee also hopes to have a display of some of the books published by Italian presses such as la Nuova Italia or Cadmo with which Mr. Casalini was affiliated. Barbara and Michle Casalini will be honored guests as, it is hoped, Mrs. Casalini. The generous support of the Touzot Program Grant has greatly facilitated our bringing together a panel of this calibre.

If WESS begins the millennium looking back and taking stock, the section also is moving forward in ways that promsoie much for its> future development. Vice-chair Jeff Garrett and Barbara Walden have attended the Frankfurt Book Fair as the first, but we trust not the last, official WESS representatives with the generous support and encouragement of ACRL. In my other role as WESS Laison to the ACRL Board, I can report that ACRL views this as a pilot project and an opportunity to foster collaboration between European and American librarians and the book trade that may well spread to other appropriate ACRL sections , though we trust that WESS’s expertise and participation will remain a component. Gordon Anderson continues towork with the new WESS Membership Committee to enable us to reach out more actively to newer and younger members. (I include the second adjective bearing in mind that my recent vacation to Florence was a belated birthday present to myself!) Following on Leena Siegelbaum’s splendid revision of the WESS Bylaws, I will be working with members of the Executive Committee to revise the WESS Officers Manual so that it will have more than a passing acquaintance with both the Bylaws and our> actual practice. Finally I wish to acknowledge and thank all those who,by maintaining WESS webpages and other electronic guides, have fostered an outreach and an immediacy of communication among the membership thatwas inconceivable when I went to my first WESS meeting (the Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Discussion Group) in 1985. I wish us all a productive and rewarding 2000.