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Anne-Marie Eze Appointed Director of Scholarly and Public Programs at Houghton Library

Anne-Marie Eze, formerly of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, has been appointed Director of Scholarly and Public Programs at Houghton Library.


Anne-Marie Eze has recently been appointed Houghton Library’s first Director of Scholarly and Public Programs. In this new role, Eze (pronounced Ez-ay) assumes leadership for coordinating and implementing a dynamic vision for Houghton Library’s scholarly communications and public programming initiatives, including exhibitions, print and multimedia publications, fellowships, lectures, symposia, and tours. As Houghton Library’s chief communications officer, she is tasked with promoting increased engagement with and awareness of Houghton’s acclaimed collection of rare books, manuscripts, and archival holdings.

“We are thrilled to have Anne-Marie Eze join us at Houghton Library as our Director of Scholarly and Public Programs,” said Tom Hyry, Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library and Director of Arts and Special Collections of the Harvard College Library. “In this new role, Anne-Marie will bring a fresh perspective and new directions to our efforts to promote the library and to connect our collections and programs to the broadest possible audience.” 

In her previous position as Associate Curator of the Collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Eze collaborated with Houghton Library and Boston College’s McMullen Museum on Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections. The largest exhibition of its kind ever held in North America, Beyond Words showcased 260 outstanding medieval and Renaissance books from 19 Boston-area collections at three venues on both sides of the Charles River. Eze was lead curator for Italian Renaissance Books (closing January 16, 2017), the show’s installation at the Gardner Museum, which has drawn praise for its striking design. Exploring the transition from manuscript to printed books in 15th-century Italy, the exhibition invites digital-age visitors to contemplate one technological revolution at the time of another. Eze co-edited and contributed to Beyond Words’ catalog, which, boasting essays and entries from over 80 international experts, has been hailed a new major reference work for manuscript studies.

Eze originally joined the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 2010 as its first Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow to conduct a research project on its founder’s library. During her time at the museum, Eze’s multimedia exhibitions, programs, and publications on rare books at the museum raised the Gardner library's profile, bringing it out of the shadow of the famous art collection.

Versatility has been a hallmark of Eze’s career. Her other projects at the Gardner Museum and in earlier positions at the British Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Cambridge University’s Trinity College Library have ranged from 19th-century painting to contemporary photography, and from Napoleonic-era archives to Italian furniture. Educated in her native United Kingdom and in Italy, she holds a doctorate in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art and, from University College London, a MA in library and information studies, and a BA in classics.

“Houghton Library never ceases to amaze me,” said Eze. “Over the last decade my engagement with Houghton has progressed from admiring it from afar to discovering its holdings as a researcher in the reading room, and collaborating with its expert staff to create its most popular exhibition to date. At each step, the quality and breadth of its collections have impressed me greatly. I am thrilled to join the library as it prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2017. The upcoming program of celebratory events gives me the perfect head start in promoting widely the wonders of Houghton Library next year and in the years to come.”

Founded in 1942, Houghton Library is the primary repository for Harvard's rare books and manuscripts. The collections of Houghton Library touch upon almost every aspect of the human record, particularly the history and culture of Europe and North America. Houghton Library holds materials ranging from medieval manuscripts and early printed books to the working papers of living writers. The wealth of primary source material is managed by an expert staff and showcased by exhibitions, lectures, seminars, publications and courses. 

Published on December 14, 2016.