The Richard Rawlinson Center for Anglo-Saxon Studies and Manuscript Research is named in memory of the founder of the Professorship of Anglo-Saxon at the University of Oxford, Richard Rawlinson (1690-1755). The Center, housed in Walwood Hall on WMU's East Campus, opened in May 1994. In 2005 it received the endowment established by Georgian Rawlinson Tashjian and David Reitler Tashjian to support its mission. A separate fund, also endowed by the Tashjian family, supports a study fellowship.
The Center's International Advisory Board meets annually at the International Congress on Medieval Studies. The Center has sponsored sessions at the Congress and a Richard Rawlinson Center Congress Speaker since 1996. The Center's presence is also manifested at the Congress through the David R. Tashjian Travel Awards, open to scholars from outside North America giving papers on topics in Anglo-Saxon studies.
Between 1994 and 2006, Old English Newsletter was published for the Old English Division of the Modern Languages Association of America by the Medieval Institute and the Rawlinson Center (volumes 27:4–39:4). OEN Subsidia have been published under the aegis of the Center beginning with volume 22. The Center's monograph series, Publications of the Richard Rawlinson Center, was launched with two books published in 2000.
With the support of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center began building its library in 1994, and the holdings have grown over the years through both purchase and donation, including substantial gifts from the Estate of Edward B. Irving, Jr., and from Audrey Ekdahl Davidson, Clifford Davidson, Otto Gründler, Thomas Seiler, and Paul E. Szarmach. In practice, the library serves as (1) a reference library focused on Anglo-Saxon studies and manuscript research, (2) a support library for those pursuing the M.A. in Medieval Studies, and (3) a resource for instructors of MDVL 1450. Its holdings include books, offprints, microforms, video and audio, data discs, and images.
In the summer of 1995 the Center served as host to a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar for college teachers, "New and Old Approaches to Beowulf and Old English Literature," directed by Paul E. Szarmach. Six subsequent NEH summer programs have been administered through the Rawlinson Center: "Old English Literature in Its Manuscript Context" at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (1997), "Anglo-Saxon England" at Western Michigan University (1999), "Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts and Texts" at the British Library (2001), "Anglo-Saxon England" at the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic and Trinity College, Cambridge (2004), "Holy Men and Holy Women of Anglo-Saxon England" at the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (2006), and "The Cathedral and Culture: Medieval York" at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, and York Minster (2007).
The Tashjian Study Fellowship, endowed in 2000 and first awarded in 2002, supports summer travel and study by an M.A. candidate in Medieval Studies. The mission of the Rawlinson Center is complemented by course offerings in Old English, Old Norse, and manuscript studies at Western Michigan University and through the university’s affiliation with the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago.
Photographs: The Richard Rawlinson Center