Index of Posts: Slices of Shona's Life
Memories of Shona

From Chris Carlsmith

Shona and I shared a common interest in the history of the University of Bologna, and particularly in the lives of the faculty and students resident at the Alma Mater Studiorum. Her work focused on the medieval period, while my interests ran to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but we were often using similar sources and archives. We saw each other at conferences, including the RSA, the New College conference in Sarasota, and (most recently) a wonderful event in Bologna in June 2011 where we were on the same panel. We also saw each other at Villa I Tatti, where Shona had been enjoying this year just as I had enjoyed a Fellowship year in 2009-10. Shona assisted me on several occasions when I was trying to locate a specific source in Bologna, and we regularly shared tips about whom to contact in the scholarly world.  Her recent work on “faculty families” was rigorous and important, but also entertaining—a perfect reflection of her own personality.

Beyond academia, Shona’s kindness and her humanity were evident to all. I looked forward to seeing Shona in the archives, and at conferences, because I knew that we would share stories both about our academic pursuits and about our personal lives. Her children were older than mine, of course, and so she was facing different issues, but it was always a comfort to hear how she balanced her work and her personal life. Last year she and I had talked about the challenges of bringing a family to I Tatti, and that sometimes it doesn't work out. I was impressed by her wisdom in that discussion, and her obvious affection for her immediate family.

I will miss her cheerfulness, her laughter, and her scholarly insights.

-Chris Carlsmith

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