Editor Issues Call for the Creation of the American Organization of Biographers





The editor of The Biographer’s Craft has published an open letter to American biographers in the July issue calling on them to form a national organization.

“The time has come for biographers to unite. We have nothing to lose but our isolation,” wrote James McGrath Morris.

“The craft of biography, like that of most writing genres, is a solitary one. But we have strong reasons to come together. We need access to resources, such as newspapers or archival documents; we need up-to-date information about new online repositories; we need to know about funding sources; and we need to learn from each other.

This is the moment. This is the time.”

In the past year the Leon Levy Center for Biography has been established at the Graduate Center [CUNY], thanks to a gift of $3.7 million from the Leon Levy Foundation. The University of Southern California Consortium organized a group called Consortium for the Study of Biography. The Biographer’s Craft newsletter, launched with a handful of readers, found a strong reception among biographers and has grown at a prodigious rate. Sessions on biography at the Organization of American Historians and the American Society of Journalists and Authors attracted solid audiences.

A not-for-profit organization, as proposed by The Biographer’s Craft, might provide, among other things:

· a virtual library whereby members—particularly independent biographers who lack academic affiliation—could gain access to resources such as Proquest, First Search, or Archives Grid, to name a few;
· an annual conference;
· mentoring and collaboration opportunities;
· professional advocacy.

The complete letter is contained in the July issue, which may be viewed on line after 8 AM EST on July 1.




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