Board

All about

Our Board

The William Morris Society of the United States is a volunteer-run organization led by a board of directors elected by our membership. For more on the board elections, tenures, and responsibilities, see our bylaws.

The Board for the period of January 2021 – January 2022 is:

  • Michael Robertson, President
  • Sarah Mead Leonard, Vice President
  • David Lowden, Secretary
  • Anna Wager, Treasurer
  • Adrienne Sharpe-Weseman, Membership Coordinator
  • Florence Boos, Editor, Useful and Beautiful
  • Monica Bowen
  • Melissa Buron
  • Jane Carlin
  • Brandiann Molby
  • Imogen Hart
  • Mark Samuels Lasner
  • David Lowden
  • Jude Nixon

You can learn more about each member below.

To get in touch with the board or any specific board member, contact us.

Image: One of the opening pages of the Kelmscott Chaucer. The Kelmscott Press, 1896. British Library, C.43.h.19.

Board Biographies

Florence Boos

Editor, Useful and Beautiful

Florence is a professor of English at the University of Iowa and the general editor of the William Morris Archive. In addition to her publications on Victorian working-class writers, she has authored or edited several books on Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites, most recently History and Poetics in The Early Writings of William Morris (2015), Morris’s Socialist Diary (2nd ed. 2018), and The Routledge Companion to William Morris (2020).

She first joined the William Morris Society US as a graduate student, and benefitted from a Morris Society scholarship which enabled her to live with her family at Kelmscott House in 1977. She has served as vice-president (2007-12) and president (2004-2007) of the Society, and has edited its newsletter/magazine since 2007.

Monica Bowen

Monica received her MA in Art History and Curatorial Studies from Brigham Young University in 2008. She has taught art history at Seattle University and Central Washington University since 2010. She has worked as a docent at the Seattle Art Museum since 2013 currently serves as the Adult Tour Training Chair for the docent body.  She has been a guest lecturer on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and William Morris at the Seattle Art Museum (2019), MLA (2020), and CAA (2021). She also maintains the art history blog Alberti’s Window: http://albertis-window.com

She has been a member of the William Morris Society in the United States since 2018. She is interested in the influence of William Morris on the contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley, and has written on this topic for the News from Anywhere site for the William Morris Society in the United States (December 2018) and CAA (February 2021).

Melissa Buron

Melissa is director of the Art Division at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, where she earned a BA with honors in art history. She also holds an MA with distinction in art history from the University of London, Birkbeck College, where she is currently a PhD candidate. Melissa joined the curatorial staff at the Fine Arts Museums in June 2008, and her contributions have supported over twenty temporary exhibitions on subjects from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Her recent curatorial projects include Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters (2018) and James Tissot: Fashion and Faith (2019–2020), which she co-organized with the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Jane Carlin

A former President of the William Morris Society US, Jane is the Library Director at the University of Puget Sound, a liberal arts college located in Tacoma, Washington. She has taught courses on William Morris and his World, overseen study trips on Morris and the history of the book to England, and has actively worked to promote the Society both in the US and UK.

At Collins Library, she was responsible for curating the exhibition William Morris & the Art of the Book: The Private Library of Jack Walsdorf​, as well as arranging a number of events associated with Morris, the Arts & Crafts period, and letterpress printing.  She is an advocate for the book arts and has established a strong collection of unique artists’ books at the Collins Library, supported workshops and lectures, as well as a growing book arts community.

Prior to joining the University of Puget Sound, Jane held positions at the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning – University of Cincinnati, Oxford Brooks University – Oxford, UK, the University of Texas Arlington and Indiana University in Indianapolis.  Carlin holds her MLS from Indiana University and a post graduate degree from the University of Wales.  She was awarded the Richard Blackwell Memorial Scholarship by Blackwell’s of Oxford to conduct research on the history of art publications and fine printing and it was this opportunity that provided her with the close link to William Morris.

Imogen Hart

Imogen teaches in the History of Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley. She works on modern art and material culture in Britain, especially the objects and interiors associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. Her book Arts and Crafts Objects (Manchester University Press, 2010) includes two chapters on William Morris. She is co-editor, with Jason Edwards, of Rethinking the Interior, c. 1867–1896: Aestheticism and Arts and Crafts (Ashgate, 2010), which features her chapter “An ‘enchanted interior’: William Morris at Kelmscott House.” She has contributed chapters on William Morris to William Morris and the Art of Everyday Life, edited by Wendy Parkins (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010); The Cambridge Companion to the Pre-Raphaelites, edited by Elizabeth Prettejohn (Cambridge University Press, 2012); Palaces of Art: Whistler and the Art Worlds of Aestheticism, edited by Lee Glazer and Linda Merrill (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2013); and Teaching William Morris, edited by Elizabeth Carolyn Miller and Jason D. Martinek (Farleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 2019). Her article “Craft, War, and Cultural Diplomacy: Modern British Crafts in the United States, 1942–1945” appeared in Winterthur Portfolio 53:2–3 (Summer/Autumn 2019). Her most recent book is Sculpture and the Decorative in Britain and Europe, Seventeenth-Century to Contemporary (Bloomsbury, 2020), a collection of essays co-edited with Claire Jones.

Mark Samuels Lasner

Collector, bibliographer, and typographer Mark Samuels Lasner is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press. His interest in, and admiration for, William Morris began almost in childhood—growing up in an Arts and Crafts house and having met the last living person to have known Morris and Burne-Jones.

Mark has published widely on Victorian literature and art and has organized many exhibitions related to these subjects. In 1996 he co-curated with William S. Peterson “William Morris: The Collector as Creator” mounted by the Grolier Club to mark the centenary of Morris’s death. From 1999 to 2004 he served, variously, as the newsletter editor, webmaster, secretary-treasurer, and eventually president of the William Morris Society in the United States. The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, donated to the University of Delaware in 2016, contains artwork, letters, manuscripts, and printed materials by Morris and his circle.

Sarah Mead Leonard

Vice President

Sarah studies the art, and design, and landscapes of Victorian Britain. She is particularly interested in human interactions with the natural world, and of course the works of William Morris. Her PhD dissertation, “‘The beauty of the bough-hung banks’: William Morris in the Thames Landscape”, investigated Morris’s complex lifelong relationship with the river and its tributaries. 

She holds MAs in Historic Landscape Studies from the University of York, UK, and Art History from the University of Delaware, and a PhD in Art History from the University of Delaware. She has held fellowships at institutions including the Huntington Library, New College Oxford, the Yale Center for British Art, and Dumbarton Oaks, and she is a proud past recipient of the William Morris Society in the United States’s Dunlap Fellowship.

She has served on the board of the William Morris Society in the United States since 2019, and currently holds the position of Vice President as well as spearheading the our website and digital communication projects. Along with the Society’s Twitter account, she manages two personal Twitter projects about William Morris: @EveryMorris, tweeting about every printed pattern by Morris & Co., and @ScreenMorris, tweeting about uses of Morris & Co. patterns in TV and movie set design.

David Lowden

Secretary

A retired New York attorney (JD, Duke, 1974; BA, Claremont McKenna College, 1971) living in Montclair, NJ, David specialized in representing nonprofit organizations. He has long had an interest in William Morris, dating back to college in the 1970s when a biography of Morris fell on his head in the Scripps College library. On a business trip to London as a young lawyer, he visited Morris’s boyhood home in Walthamstow. He is a major book and design collector, specializing in world-wide graphic arts of the period 1890-1930, with a major collection of private presses (including Kelmscotts) and other good design of that era, and the bulk of his furniture and furnishings also date to that era.

He has served on the board of The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms in Parsippany, New Jersey, the home of Gustav Stickley in the 1910s, as a trustee or trustee emeritus since the year of the museum’s formation in 1989, where he curated the exhibits William Morris and the Printed Page: English Influence on American Book Design; C. R. Ashbee and the Guild of Handicraft: An English View of the Craftsman Ideal; and Will Bradley: His Look. He has also served on the board of The Center for Book Arts and The American Friends of Arts & Crafts in Chipping Campden, a support organization for a UK museum focused on C. R. Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft and other Cotswold artists.

Brandiann Molby

An instructor at Loyola University Chicago and Rush University, Brandiann researches 19th-century visual culture and word/image theory. Her dissertation, completed in 2018, focuses on the Kelmscott Press and Morris’s contribution to Victorian aesthetics. She is also a founding member of the Loyola University Chicago Victorian Society, and in that capacity, Molby has organized their annual conference for the past three years.

Jude V. Nixon

Jude is Professor of English and former Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Salem State University, and habilitated professor in the Polish Academy. His areas of teaching and research are Victorian literature and culture and Anglophone Caribbean literature. He has published extensively on the Victorians, especially on Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Henry Newman, Thomas Carlyle, and Charles Dickens, appearing in journals such as Victorian Poetry, Victorian Studies, the Carlyle Studies Annual, the Dickens Studies Annual, Times Literary Supplement, the Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, Texas Study in Literature and Language, Modern Philology, and the Hopkins Quarterly.

He is author/editor of Gerard Manley Hopkins and his Contemporaries: Liddon, Newman, Darwin, and Pater (Garland, 1994), Victorian Religious Discourse: New Directions in Criticism (Palgrave, 2004), Science, Religion, and Natural Theology.  Volume 3. Victorian and Science and Literature. 8 volumes (Pickering & Chatto, 2011), The Sermons and Spiritual Writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Vol. 5. The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins. 8 vols. (Oxford, 2018), and editor of the forthcoming volume, Becoming Home: Diaspora and the Anglophone Transnational (Vernon 2021), where his essay appears, “‘[E]ither I’m nobody, or I’m a nation’: Home, History, and the Diasporic Transnational in Derek Walcott’s Omeros.” He is also Guest Editor of a Special Issue, The Poetry and Spirituality of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Religion and the Arts 24.4 (2018), in which his essay appears: “‘[E]ye and heart alive to the natural beauty of the world’: Anne Pratt, Hopkins, and a Theology of Nature.” His most recent publications include “‘English affairs and Norse’: Carlyle’s Igdrasil, Norse Mythology, and the Myth of British Racial Ancestry,” appeared in the Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies (2018), “Welch Israelitism: The Geopiety of Hopkins’s St. Beuno’s Dominical” (forthcoming, The Hopkins Quarterly), and “Forbidden Fruit: The Economy of Food in Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market” (forthcoming, AngloSophia). He serves on several editorial boards, among them Victorian Poetry, The Hopkins Quarterly, the Dickens Studies Annual, MIND (Poland), Merope (Italy), and AngloSophia – Studies in English Literature and Culture (Italy).

Michael Robertson

President

A professor of English at The College of New Jersey, Michael is author of three award-winning books on 19th-century literature and culture. The most recent, The Last Utopians (Princeton UP, 2018), is a group biography of William Morris and three contemporaries. He has published chapters on Morris in Teaching William Morris and The Routledge Companion to William Morris and is currently writing a biography of Morris.

Adrienne Sharpe-Weseman

Membership Coordinator

Adrienne works at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. She earned her B.A. in art history and English from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. in decorative arts and design history from the Bard Graduate Center in NYC. Her research focus on Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites – first, on the Oxford Union Murals – led her to participate in the UMASS-Amherst Oxford Summer Seminar, a 6-week summer study abroad program in Oxford, England. Her M.A. thesis was a case study of Morris & Company’s contributions to three American commissions, c. 1870-1896. She has published in “The Journal of the Women’s College Art Coalition,” an MHC student publication; “The Newsletter of the Victorian Society in America”; “The Pre-Raphaelite Society Newsletter of the United States”; and she contributed an article about a Walter Crane mural to an online blog at the Beinecke. She is a Co-Scribe for Mount Holyoke’s Class of 1998, regularly contributing updates to the MHC “Alumnae Quarterly.” Adrienne lives in Hamden, CT with her husband Kurt and her daughter Evelyn (Evey).

Anna Wager

Treasurer

Anna is the Clarence A. Davis Visual Arts Curator at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. Her research interests include Arts and Crafts movements, contemporary craft and activism, printmaking, communal artmaking, and the inter-media connections between architecture, bookmaking, and textiles. Her article “Photographs, Pens, and Print: William Morris and the Technologies of Typography” was published in Book History in 2018. She is also an extremely novice letterpress printer. Anna holds a PhD in Art History and Textual and Digital Studies from the University of Washington. She is also on the boards of the Arthur Dove Block and the Seward House Museum, both in upstate NY. She has been a member of the William Morris Society since 2018, and currently serves as its Treasurer.