Reflections on Renaissance Society of America: A Personal Anniversary

Posted by Erika Gaffney, Publishing Manager

March in Montreal!  Chilly though the weather was, the 57th annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) was for me an occasion for warm feelings and happy memories.  This iteration of the conference marked the 15th anniversary of my first attendance in 1996, when the organization convened in Bloomington, Indiana.  In that year the conference drew about 400 attendees; fifteen years on, the meeting was 1400 strong!  The conference program has grown from a slender pamphlet to almost the size of the Manhattan phone directory.

In that same time period, the growth of Ashgate’s early modern studies list has mirrored that of the RSA.  In Indiana, the size of the Ashgate book display did not exceed the square footage of a single table top, and consisted almost exclusively of history titles.  Now, a decade and a half later, four tables was barely enough to contain the early modern books—not only in history but also in literary, religious and music studies as well as art and art history—published in just the last twelve months!

It was heartwarming to hear the compliments from book browsers about the quality of scholarship and production values, both, in Ashgate publications. Even more than that, it was affirming to hear positive feedback about the process of working with Ashgate. It is not a surprise but still a delight to know that Ashgate authors find our staff—from the first contact with the commissioning editor, through the desk editorial and production processes, to the marketing and distribution stage—to be responsive, dedicated, reliable, and consumately professional. 

Congratulations to the RSA and to Ashgate—we’ve come a long way, and long may we continue to grow together!

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