As we enter the new fiscal year today, it’s a day to welcome the new Executive Committee of the NJCH Board of Trustees. Board Chair Kiki Jamieson, Vice-Chair Brett Bonfield, Secretary Bhavini Doshi, Treasurer Dan Fatton, Member-at-Large Jennifer Sancton, and Governance Committee Chair Ruth Mandel, along with the rest of the Board, will ensure that the NJCH mission and vision continue to be furthered.
I’d like to seize the opportunity to extend thanks to our former board chair Doug Greenberg (pictured here) and board member Sidney Hargro for their service to NJCH. We are all sad to see them go, but we’re grateful for their unwavering dedication to the humanities.
The Real Article
Doug Greenberg, a gubernatorial appointee and NJCH board chair who has served the Council for 8 years, has been integral to the implementation our Strategic Plan. Nationally recognized as a humanities leader, Doug’s has had a tremendous impact on NJCH, the field of the public humanities…and me.
It starts with an article I discovered in graduate school— almost 20 years ago. The title I remember clearly, “History is a Luxury,” a phrase reputedly used by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to denigrate history as irrelevant —an idea the article refuses to accept. What influenced me most strongly was the article’s description of running a historical society and the idea that, if properly balanced, what seems like competing demands to develop financial support, cultivate public engagement and enjoyment, and promote informed historical perspective could actually strengthen and reinforce each other. It’s the hat trick that inspires me today.
My attachment to the article was tangible. I had a print copy in a labeled manila folder and it made the moves between states and between university offices. It was only when I came to New Jersey that I finally threw it out, assuring myself that access to a digital version was good enough. Strangely, I never paid much attention to the author’s name, but you may have already guessed. It was Douglas Greenberg and in coming to New Jersey I had replaced that paper article with the “real article.”
While we are losing Doug, the larger field of the public humanities is not. With his move to Baltimore, Doug has joined the board of the Maryland Council, his fourth (!) — a record of leadership and service I believe is unmatched. (Doug has also served on the boards of California Humanities and Illinois Humanities.) I can’t say enough how grateful I am to Doug for all that he has done for NJCH, nor can I express how lucky I feel to have worked with him. Our best wishes to Doug and his wife as they enjoy living close to their daughters in Baltimore and as he continues to promote and advance the public humanities.