Author Archives: mktstu1878

Tiffany Gasbarrini to Join Johns Hopkins University Press

We are pleased to announce that Tiffany Gasbarrini will join Johns Hopkins University Press as senior acquisitions editor for Life Sciences. Ms. Gasbarrini comes to the press with notable publishing experience and an impressive record of book acquisitions in STEM fields.


Tiffany was Senior Acquisitions Editor at Elsevier Science & Technology, Inc., where she founded their Renewable Energy publishing program. After 13 years with Elsevier, she took on the role of Senior Acquisitions Editor, Energy and Sustainability, for Springer Nature Group, where she built a diverse portfolio of trade titles, professional references, textbooks, scientific journals, and research monographs. Her expertise focuses on creating impactful Science and Technology book lists through market research-driven analysis of content assets, the development of strategic business plans, and thoughtful collaborations with world-class authors.

Tiffany will take on the Hopkins list in Life Sciences, with special focus on mammalogy, ornithology, ichthyology, herpetology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, wildlife science, and systems ecology.

Ms. Gasbarrini has a degree in literature from Mount Holyoke College, with coursework in publishing at Emerson College and the Publishing Training Centre in Oxford, UK. In her spare time, she enjoys botany, twentieth-century poetry, fantasy/sci-fi, kayaking, scuba diving, and big dogs.

Established in 1878, Johns Hopkins University Press is America’s oldest university press and one of the world’s largest, publishing 90 scholarly journals and nearly 175 new books each year. The Press also manages Project MUSE, the acclaimed online collection of scholarly journals and books.

Tiffany replaces Vincent Burke, long-time executive editor, who retired from the Press earlier this year. Tiffany resides with her family in Massachusetts.

Johns Hopkins University Press is very pleased to welcome a senior editor with the energy, professionalism, and entrepreneurial spirit that Tiffany Gasbarrini has shown.

Please join us in welcoming Tiffany to the Press and to the wider university community.


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An Equation for Every Occasion: Pi Day

Happy Pi Day, readers! In between celebratory pie samplings, get an inside look at the historical context of this famous Greek letter as told by John M. Henshaw, author of An Equation for Every Occasion: 52 Formulas and Why They Matter, coming in paperback this summer.

Click here for pi goodness.


Looking for more historical context from “Equationland”? Use promo code “HDPD” to receive a 30% discount when you order your copy of An Equation for Every Occasion.

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Killing King Caucus

Guest post by Mark G. Schmeller

In this seemingly endless presidential primary season, each and every candidate has claimed “outsider” status, and attacked nearly every other rival as a creature of the party “establishment.” No title or distinction – Senator, Governor, First Lady, Secretary of State, sibling/brother of former presidents, celebrity billionaire – has been too great to discourage presidential aspirants from presenting their campaigns as bold insurgencies against the complacency and corruption of the powers that be.

While there is nothing especially novel about such populist self-fashioning, the extraordinary volume of groaning about “the establishment” in this campaign cycle has led some political observers to ask if the establishment is in fact in decline. Are the elected officials, elites, big donors, and special interests that have traditionally steered the party nomination process losing their influence? Have new forms of social media and activism trumped (sorry for that) the conventional reliance on grassroots electioneering and penthouse fundraising? Can party structures no longer contain the intensifying anger wrought by “negative partisanship” – in which positive support for the principles and policies of a party weigh less in the mind of the voter than loathing for the other party and its partisans?

Needless to say, these questions will have to wait for answers. But in the meantime, we can entertain some historical analogies. One especially dramatic example of a party establishment defeated comes to us from the presidential election of 1824, when anger over the nomination process shattered the Democratic-Republican Party. During President James Monroe’s two terms in office (1817-1825), national party competition had all but disappeared. The Federalist Party, discredited by its seeming disloyalty during the War of 1812, had been reduced to a small band of New England reactionaries, leaving Democratic-Republicans as the only viable national party. While the absence of partisan competition may have allowed for a brief “era of good feelings,” one-party rule raised a number of thorny political and constitutional questions. A party congressional caucus had traditionally selected party nominees for President and Vice-President. But with only one party caucus remaining, the Democratic-Republican “King Caucus” now appeared to have the uncontested and arguably unconstitutional power to select Monroe’s successor.


James Akin, Caucus curs in full yell, or a war whoop, to saddle on the people, a pappoose president (1824). General Andrew Jackson stands tall amidst a pack of dogs representing newspapers who supported the Congressional Caucus nominee William Crawford. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

King Caucus had been attacked before. When it chose Monroe over William Crawford of Georgia in 1816, Crawford supporters and many northerners complained that Virginians used it to maintain their lock on the White House. But King Caucus had its share of defenders, who maintained that congressmen could best ascertain the preferences of partisans in their districts and states. John Taylor of Caroline, the prolific theorist of Jeffersonian democracy, argued that the caucus discouraged faction. But should it “ever attempt to control public opinion instead of expressing it, their doings would have little influence in the nation other than to embitter party animosity and to sharpen the edge of political strife.”

In 1824, King Caucus appeared to be doing just that. Monroe had identified no clear successor (his Vice-President, Daniel Tompkins of New York, was an insolvent alcoholic). Three eminent national figures – General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, and Henry Clay of Kentucky intended to run regardless of what the caucus did, and their supporters assailed King Caucus as a vast conspiracy against the sovereignty of the people. Senator Rufus King, an Adams supporter, called it “a self-created central power … regulated by a sort of freemasonry, the sign and password of each at once placing the initiated in full confidence and communion with each other in all parts of the union.” Publisher Hezekiah Niles of Maryland, a Clay man, declared that “he would rather learn that the halls of Congress were converted into common brothels” than to see King Caucus convene within them.

Not surprisingly, the most intense attacks on King Caucus came from Jackson supporters, who began to organize popular local “conventions” for Old Hickory. Conventioneers carefully distinguished the caucus, a small and exclusive meeting of elites designed to direct public opinion, from the convention, an open meeting of the people designed to concentrate public opinion. The “period has surely arrived,” a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania convention declared, “when a president should be elected from the ranks of the people,” a president like Jackson, who came “pure, untrammeled, and unpledged, from the bosom of the people.” Such rhetoric solidified the outsider image of Jackson, a frontier military hero riding a wave of populist discontent unleashed by the financial panic of 1819.

All of this persuaded the great majority of congressmen to steer clear of the caucus. When it eventually met to nominate William Crawford, only 66 of 216 eligible members attended. King Caucus was dead.

Some observers heralded the killing of King Caucus as a triumph of public opinion over party machinery. But to more discerning political minds, it suggested that there could be no effective public opinion without party mechanisms that involved the ordinary voter, flattered his judgment, and fired his enthusiasm. The election of 1824 – and Jackson’s eventual triumph in 1828 – laid the groundwork for a “second party system” built upon precinct-by-precinct organization, popular conventions, and intense partisan feeling. Party establishments can be defeated; partisanship, not so much.

schmellerMark G. Schmeller is an associate professor of history at Syracuse University. His latest book, Invisible Sovereign: Imagining Public Opinion from the Revolution to Reconstructionexamines the idea of public opinion and its transformation since the Revolutionary War.

Use promo code “HDPD” to receive a 30% discount when you order your copy of Invisible Sovereign.





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On Arbor Day

In honor of Arbor Day, we share two poems from Over the River and Through the Wood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Poetry, edited by Karen L. Kilcup and Angela Sorby.



by Lucy Larcom

He who plants a tree,

Plants a hope.
Rootlets up through fibers blindly grope;
Leaves unfold into horizons free.

So man’s life must climb

From the clods of time

Unto heavens sublime.
Canst thou prophesy, thou little tree,
What the glory of thy boughs shall be?

He who plants a tree,—

Plants a joy;
Plants a comfort that will never cloy;
Every day a fresh reality,

Beautiful and strong,

To whose shelter throng

Creatures blithe with song.
If thou couldst but know, thou happy tree,
Of the bliss that shall inhabit thee!

He who plants a tree,—

He plants peace.
Under its green curtains jargons cease.
Leaf and zephyr murmur soothingly;

Shadows soft with sleep

Down tired eyelids creep,

Balm of slumber deep.
Never hast thou dreamed, thou blessèd tree,
Of the benediction thou shalt be.

He who plants a tree,—

He plants youth;
Vigor won for centuries in sooth;
Life of time, that hints eternity!

Boughs their strength uprear;

New shoots, every year

On old growths appear,
Thou shalt teach the ages, sturdy tree,
Youth of soul is immortality.

He who plants a tree,—

He plants love;
Tents of coolness spreading out above
Wayfarers, he may not live to see.

Gifts that grow, are best;

Hands that bless are blest;

Plant! Life does the rest!
Heaven and earth help him who plants

a tree,
And his work its own reward shall be.

Tulp poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera. Photo by R. Noonan

Tulp poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera. Photo by R. Noonan


by Paul Laurence Dunbar

As a quiet little seedling

Lay within its darksome bed,
To itself it fell a-talking,

And this is what it said:

“I am not so very robust,

But I’ll do the best I can;”
And the seedling from that moment

Its work of life began.

So it pushed a little leaflet

Up into the light of day,
To examine the surroundings

And show the rest the way.

The leaflet liked the prospect,

So it called its brother, Stem;
Then two other leaflets heard it,

And quickly followed them.

To be sure, the haste and hurry

Made the seedling sweat and pant;
But almost before it knew it

It found itself a plant.

The sunshine poured upon it,

And the clouds they gave a shower;
And the little plant kept growing

Till it found itself a flower.

Little folks, be like the seedling,

Always do the best you can;
Every child must share life’s labor

Just as well as every man.

And the sun and showers will help you

Through the lonesome, struggling

Till you raise to light and beauty

Virtue’s fair, unfading flowers


Karen L. Kilcup is a professor of American literature at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her books include Teaching Nineteenth-Century American Poetry and Fallen Forests: Emotion, Embodiment, and Ethics in American Women’s Environmental Writing, 1781–1924. Angela Sorby is an associate professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Her books include Schoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry, 1865–1917, and three poetry collections, most recently The Sleeve Waves.

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Angelina and medical decisions surrounding hereditary cancer risk

Guest post by Sue Friedman

Kudos to Angelina Jolie Pitt for sharing personal information about her increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers due to an inherited BRCA gene mutation. Once again, by bravely writing about her choice to have prophylactic surgeries—a risk-reducing mastectomy two years ago, and her recent decision to remove her ovaries—she has greatly increased awareness of hereditary cancer, making words like “mutation” and “mastectomy” more familiar.

Some reports suggest that Jolie Pitt’s wealth and celebrity status provide access to information and resources that are unavailable to most other people. But her struggle to sort through the confusion of inherited cancer risk and make difficult health decisions is shared by thousands of other men and women who are also at high risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer because of a BRCA mutation. Fortunately, Johns Hopkins University Press offers a clear, powerful, and comforting resource for anyone who faces these confusing issues and choices. Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer explains the challenges of living with BRCA-related risks and outlines the implications of available options. It helps readers understand the choices involved with identifying and reducing their risk and allows them to make informed medical decisions about their options, including many that concerned Jolie Pitt. The book covers the following issues, among others:

  • Genetic testing for BRCA and other cancer-causing genes: Genetic testing isn’t appropriate for everyone, and test results can have different implications for family members.
  • Mastectomy with or without breast reconstruction: Prophylactic mastectomy reduces the risk of breast cancer. Many women who choose this surgery also opt to have their breasts surgically recreated. Another Johns Hopkins publication, The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook, helps readers understand what to expect from different types of mastectomy and options for breast reconstruction.
  • Risk-reducing oophorectomy and hysterectomy: Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) has been shown to extend the lives of women who have a BRCA mutation. Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer describes the pros and cons of this procedure and the implications of combining it with hysterectomy.
  • Hormone replacement: Preventive hysterectomy in premenopausal women causes the onset of menopause. Should women in this position take hormones? If so, what type and for how long? Are they safe? Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer tackles these questions and more.
  • Fertility: Removing the ovaries reduces risk but also ends fertility, creating a very difficult situation for many women who learn that they have a mutation while still in their childbearing years.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to have access to credible information about hereditary cancer, genetic testing, and risk-management options.

Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer is the official guidebook of Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), the only nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those who have inherited cancer risk. All three of the book’s coauthors will speak at FORCE’s 9th annual conference on June 18–20, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA.

FriedmanSue Friedman, DVM, is the founder and executive director of Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. Her numerous articles on hereditary cancer have appeared in Oncology Times, CURE, Gene Watch, the Boston Globe, and elsewhere. Rebecca Sutphen, MD, is a nationally recognized clinical and research expert in hereditary cancer, a professor of genetics at the University of South Florida, and the chief medical officer of Informed Medical Decisions. Kathy Steligo is a freelance writer specializing in business and health topics and the author of The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook.



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Trees are flowering . . . it must be spring!

Guest Post by Leslie Day

Amelanchier canadensis, or the downy serviceberry tree, is one of the first to bloom in early spring in the northeastern United States. New York City has just gone through a long , brutally cold, and snowy winter. The snow has finally disappeared, but there are new puffs of white dotting the hills and meadows of city parks: the blossoms of the serviceberry tree.

This little tree has many common names: serviceberry, because it blooms when the ground finally thaws, so that burials can take place; shadblow and shadberry, because it blooms when the shad begin their northern migration into the estuaries off the Atlantic Ocean, like the Hudson River; and Juneberry, because the fruit ripens in June.

An understory tree, it only reaches 15-30’ in height, and has many slender trunks. This is a valuable native tree, and though small in stature it is huge in terms of its ecological value to wildlife. The beautiful flowers attract pollinators, the berries provide nutritious food for hungry birds, and the foliage is beautiful in every season, particularly in autumn. As it is one of the first trees to bloom, it attracts all kinds of pollinating animals, when there are few flowers available. The nectar attracts butterflies, and the pollen attracts honeybees, bumblebees, flies, and wasps. The purplish-red berries are sweet and delicious and are among the most favorite fruit of birds. Baltimore orioles, scarlet tanagers, cedar waxwings, song sparrows, cardinals, bluebirds, catbirds, and rose breasted grosbeaks are some of the beautiful birds that come to this tree in droves. Squirrels, chipmunks, and woodchucks also feed on the berries. Humans can eat the berries raw off the tree, cooked into pies and jams, fermented for wine, or eaten dried.

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This little tree has a great botanical and cultural history as the fruit, seeds, leaves, and bark were important sources of food and medicine for native peoples. For many tribes, serviceberries were a common source of food in the summer. They would eat the berries raw as we do today, or mash them and form them into pemmican cakes made of animal fat, dried meat, and dried berries. Other parts of the plant are also edible. The Lakota of the Great Plains, used the flower petals, leaves and stems to make a drink, and the Cheyenne, also of the Great Plains, boiled the dried leaves to make a red tea.

Serviceberry shrubs were used for medicinal purposes by native Americans for the treatment of earaches, toothaches, the common cold, influenza, coughs, and fevers.

Woodworkers and indigenous people used branches, stems, and wood to make baskets, furniture, rope, tools, and harpoons.

In autumn, a blend of pink, orange, gold, and red creates gorgeous, colorful foliage. No two leaves have the same colors. There are times when they are so beautiful that, an inveterate leaf collector since the age of five, I gather each and every one I find on the ground.

Leslie Day is a biology and life science teacher at The Elisabeth Morrow School. She developed the City Naturalists Summer Institute with the Central Park Conservancy and is the author of Field Guide to the Street Trees of New York City and Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City, as well as her forthcoming book, Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City.

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What democracy looks like

Guest Post by Jessica Choppin Roney

Jessica Choppin Roney’s Governed by a Spirit of Opposition, recipient of the The Athenaeum of Philadelphia Book Prize for 2014, will be among the new titles on display in JHUP’s exhibit at the Organization of American Historian’s annual meeting taking place in St. Louis from April 16 to 19. 

RoneypostedI’ve always been struck at political rallies by the chant, “This is what democracy looks like!” It moves the march beyond whatever cause the protesters espouse to connect it to the very fundamentals of participatory government. It reminds nay-sayers who might prefer that protesters remain silent that democracy is cacophonous, contested, messy.

In a similar spirit, this is what the origins of democracy look like:

1701: William Penn, his back to the Delaware River. One of the last captains willing to make the Atlantic crossing before the winter waits impatiently for him to board so they can cast off. Faced with a set of uncompromising Quakers, Penn hastily signs a document erecting the Philadelphia Corporation and giving a tiny fraction of its citizens a municipal charter.

1727: A leading Pennsylvania politician worries about a shadowy group of young men meeting in secret. He fears they are plotting against the government. In fact, journeyman printer Benjamin Franklin and his “most . . . ingenious Acquaintances” gather to drink and discuss natural philosophy and civic improvement projects. Their conversations lead them to found first a library, then a fire company. And then one day, a militia.

1747: French privateers are on the Delaware Bay raiding. Philadelphians fear their city will be next, but the pacifist government will do nothing to defend its own citizens. Benjamin Franklin organizes an extralegal militia; half the men of the Quaker City join. It is independent and has no ties to government.

1776: Nineteen days after voters at the polls have rejected independence-minded representatives, a crowd of four thousand meets in the pouring rain and declares this same government invalid. They decide to dissolve it and form a new state, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

1777: Twenty Philadelphia Quakers whose loyalty to the new government is suspect but who have committed no actual crime and who have had no charges brought against them, no trial, no opportunity to defend themselves, are jailed and then deported to Virginia.

I subtitled my book The Origins of American Political Practice in Colonial Philadelphia. In the book, I use the rich, tangled stories of Philadelphia to explore how ordinary white men shaped their communities before the American Revolution. Most histories argue that only with the Revolution did middle- and lower-class men engage meaningfully in politics or governance. Before the Revolution, they talked, voted, and occasionally rioted—and these are all important avenues of participation. But my book argues that in urban, cosmopolitan Philadelphia, ordinary men did more.

They pioneered ongoing, concrete participation through voluntary associations ranging from libraries to militias, hospitals to diplomatic missions—all of them outside the bounds or control of formal government. In 1770, at least one in five adult white men participated in the more than sixty-five organizations active in the city; at mid-century, that number was closer to one in two. These organizations expanded the ways men could shape their community. At the same time they were predicated upon exclusion and ignoring nonmembers who might disagree. They came into direct tension and competed with imperial officials, municipal authorities, and popularly elected representatives. This origins story is far older than the Revolution, and it is rooted in diverse imperatives: public-spirited initiative and self-serving agendas; deliberative democracy and pragmatic shortcuts; inclusion and exclusion. This is what the origins of democracy looked like. It too was cacophonous, contested, messy.

Jessica Choppin Roney is an assistant professor of early American history at Temple University. She is the author of Governed by a Spirit of Opposition: The Origins of American Political Practice in Colonial Philadelphia, now available from Johns Hopkins.

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