Alex Wingate (W&M ’18) wins the Royal Historical Society’s Rees Davies Prize

Alex WingateAlexandra Wingate (Class of 2018), Hispanic Studies and Linguistics double major, is beginning her second semester of an MLS degree at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) and recently finish an MA at the Institute of English Studies, University of London. Alex is considering continuing her education with a PhD in Information Science.

In December, Alex’s MA thesis, entitled“Prosigue la librería”: Understanding late seventeenth-century Navarrese Book Culture through Lorenzo Coroneu’s Bookstore’, won the Royal Historical Society’s Rees Davies Prize, a high honor and award for the best Master’s dissertation in a UK university. (She has a website for the data for this thesis: https://sites.google.com/view/lorenzocoroneu). Further, she will have the opportunity to publish in the Royal Historical Society’s journal based on her dissertation research. In Alex’s words: “The experience of writing a senior honors thesis under the supervision of Prof. Jorge Terukina on private libraries in early modern Navarre was the perfect preparation for my Master’s dissertation both in terms of writing and research. I learned from my mistakes and my successes, and I even incorporated data and conclusions from my honors thesis to support my conclusions about Lorenzo Coroneu’s clientele and business practices.” The judges comments on her award-winning work can be found at: http://blog.royalhistsoc.org/2020/07/22/2020-rhs-award-winners/ . And the awards ceremony can be viewed here (Alex appears at about 7:45): http://blog.royalhistsoc.org/rhs-awards-2020/.

Alex is now thinking about two additional research projects that she would like to publish on. The first is analyzes the decoration of the British Library Manuscript Add. MS 20787, the earliest surviving manuscript of Alfonso X’s Primera Partida of the Siete Partidas. The second is compares the 1575 and 1594 Spanish editions of Juan Huarte de San Juan’s Examen de Ingenios to the two sets of English translations printed in the 16th and 17th centuries and how those two translations use different textual and bibliographic strategies to translate Huarte’s text for an English audience. The idea for this second project came out of three courses offered in the Hispanic Studies Program: Nature & Empire with Prof. Terukina in which students read the Examen de Ingenios (Nature & Empire), another with Prof. Terukina in which students compared different editions and translations of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas’ Brevísima Relación de la Destrucción de las Indias (1552), and a translation course with Prof. Jonathan Arries.

In addition to these achievements since graduation, Alex has started a new student group at IU called Society for Rare Books & Manuscripts at Indiana University (SRBM@IU) with some of the other student librarians. She said, “We felt that there was a gap in the current student librarian groups and so wanted to found a group dedicated to rare books and manuscripts librarianship and book history. Because of the ongoing pandemic, we are going to be organizing virtual events like a book history reading group and presentations by members and outside speakers.” (Follow these events here: https://srbmatiu.wordpress.com/.)

Finally, Alex is working as a Research Assistant and Text Encoding Analyst for the Chymistry of Isaac Newton Project at IU. “As part of this project, I look for Newton’s citations to outside sources in his alchemical manuscripts. My job is to track these citations to the exact edition Newton was using and then encode this information in our TEI XML transcriptions of Newton’s alchemical manuscripts. But this isn’t always easy since Newton’s citations don’t always have page numbers, and sometimes two editions have the exact same material on the same pages making it impossible to narrow it down to one edition!” Her favorite contribution to the project so far has been re-writing the team’s encoding guidelines for Newton’s citations to deal with the ambiguity present in many of his citations. She says, “It was a question of striking a balance between how certain we can be about the source of a given citation and also providing readers with as much information about Newton’s sources as possible.” (Here’s a link to that project: https://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/newton/.)

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