My interests in red grew out of my research in general in the history of science at the intersection of art, nature, and the book in the early modern period in Europe. In particular, I work on Cornelis Drebbel (1572-1633), inventor of a famous cochineal dye, and thus I was familiar with the ways that color research intertwined with the history of art, alchemy and emerging experimentalism.

Red Thread was inspired by a course I taught in Winter 2018, The Global History of Color.  Through a grant from the Tom and Carol Williams Fund for Undergraduate Education, we were able to host Marie-France Lemay and Yale's Traveling Scriptorium for a visit. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the pigments used in premodern books and manuscripts, and we were able to create our own version, with the help of the Beach Lab in Knight Library. Students explored the history of red in objects from across campus and around the world through visits to the Special Collections and University Archives,  the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, and the Jordan Schnitzert Museum of Art.  A sampling of student-research objects was featured in a small physical display at the MNCH in spring and summer 2018. Through a Digital Scholarship Center Faculty Grant I was able to bring more of the student work to a larger public through the creation of the Red Thread digital exhibit. By associating the fascinating range of objects and colors on this site with the contextualization offered by my Red Thread story map and by suggested additional scholarly reading and assignments, I hope that this site can be used teachers, students, and the generally curious at UO and beyond. 

- Vera Keller, Associate Professor of History, UO

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