May 16, 2006 Cecelia Tichi Appointed to Chair of Modern Culture in Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has announced the appointment of Cecelia Tichi of Vanderbilt University to the Chair of Modern Culture at the John W. Kluge Center, effective May 8.

Tichi is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She received her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis. At Vanderbilt, she taught classes in 19th and 20th century American literature, focusing on aspects of culture, from consumerism and social critique to country music.

At the Library of Congress, Tichi will study the shift that occurred in U.S. culture from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era. She will examine how certain figures who grew up in the late-19th century Gilded Age were able to guide the nation into a new era by thinking freshly about society, economics and culture. These figures, such as economist John R. Commons and children's rights advocate Julia Lathrop, became distinguished leaders in the fields of law, medicine and the Christian church.

Tichi’s numerous publications include “Exposés and Excess: Muckraking in America, 1900/2000" (2003); “Embodiment of a Nation: Human Form in American Spaces” (2001); “Reading Country Music: Steel Guitars, Opry Stars and Honky-Tonk Bars” (1998); and “High Lonesome: The American Culture of Country Music” (1994).

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate, energize and distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information about the fellowships, grants and programs offered by the John W. Kluge Center, visit


PR 06-116
ISSN 0731-3527