Ellen S. Dunlap

Ellen S. Dunlap served as President of the American Antiquarian Society from 1992 to 2020. Previously she was director of the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia (1983–1992) and research librarian at the Humanities Research Center (now the Harry Ransom Center) at the University of Texas at Austin (1973–1983). A graduate of UT Austin, she received her masters degree in library science from that institution in 1974.

During her tenure, the American Antiquarian Society has placed increased emphasis on making its collections available to a wide variety of constituents – from classroom teachers to artists and creative writers – while maintaining a strong commitment to its traditional scholarly audiences. In recent years, she has also led the AAS effort to form partnerships with leading information companies to digitize significant portions of the Society’s extraordinary collection and to make them available to research libraries around the globe. She has also led the organization through three major construction projects and had the honor in 2014 of representing AAS at the White House when the Society received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama.

Long active in national organizations, she has been chair of the Independent Research Libraries Association and a member of the board of Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. Dunlap was instrumental in the founding of the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries in 1985 and has served two terms as chair of the Worcester Cultural Coalition, which she helped to found in 1995. She served as president of the board of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities from 2002-2004, and has served as chairman of the Non-profit Support Center, a program of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, where she has also been an executive committee member.

She has been granted honorary degrees by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (2015) and the College of the Holy Cross (2018) and was the recipient of a Massachusetts Governor’s Award in the Humanities, conferred in 2018.

West Boylston, MA
United States

Elected to AAS
October 1992