News and Tribune

Clark County

October 4, 2008

Baum takes over as Jeffersonville's Remnant Trust’s visiting scholar

Last Wednesday David Baum was kicked out of an office he only weeks before inherited.

Baum, the new visiting scholar at Jeffersonville’s Remnant Trust library, was forced out of the downstairs space to make room for vice presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Biden was scheduled to stump at Warder Park that afternoon and Baum’s office seemed to be a secure area which could be used as a “green room” of sorts.

When Baum left his office to make room for Biden, there were stacks of Xeroxed manuscripts sitting on his desk. Topping that stack were two pieces of writing — one was on 1960’s era radicals; below that was one by a man in his 40s who could no longer suit up for afternoon basketball.

“When I got back in, the two were switched” and the story about the aging man not being able to play basketball was on top, Baum explained.

“Biden was probably more interested in that one than the 60’s era radicals,” he said with a laugh.

Biden is one of the most noteworthy visitors to the Remnant Trust since Baum took the reins as visiting scholar about five weeks ago.

A history professor most recently at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., Baum is the second person to fill the position. He replaces Philip Vogt, who recently left the job. Baum will oversee the rare books collection at the Remnant Trust until late next May, for what amounts to an academic year.

The library is not so much of a scholarly collection. If Baum wanted to research one of his areas of interest — renaissance history and questions of personal liberty and dignity — the trust’s library would not be the place to come to do it.

More so, he believes, it’s a place that can facilitate average people’s access to rare manuscripts.

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