AHA Activities

AHA Welcomes New Staff Member: Meet Elyse Martin

Allison Miller | Apr 2, 2018

Elyse MartinThe AHA is delighted to announce that Elyse Martin has joined the Association’s staff as associate editor, web content and social media.

A graduate of Smith College, Martin comes to the AHA from the Folger Shakespeare Library, where she was program assistant, Scholarly Programs. She chalked up a number of wins at the Folger: assisting in the relaunch of Folger.edu, live-tweeting talks, and learning enough programming languages to have impressed the polyglot monarch Elizabeth I. Martin also arranged the logistical details of the Folger’s core programming—including its renowned paleography skills course—and helped with the quality-control process behind the library’s print publications.

Martin is a confirmed Francophile, having majored in French studies and comparative literature. She studied in Paris for a year and later taught English in Saint Quentin, a small town in the north of France. (The town’s poor Gothic cathedral was pummeled in every major European conflict starting with the Franco-Prussian War.) Martin is most fascinated with the history of the French Revolution through the Napoleonic Wars. “There’s this sense of total transformation,” she explains. The French history she learned as an undergraduate, she adds, was much different from what she was used to. “Through middle and high school, I got the feeling of history being facts and having a sense of progress to it,” she says. “With the French Revolution, you get people reinventing society—everything from their worldview to their calendars. Plus, there was a pretty unprecedented role for women.”

As Martin takes over the AHA website and social media reins, she is excited about maintaining the “good work” the Association has done in keeping its online presence “accessible, helpful, and pragmatic” to all historians. And with changes afoot for Perspectives in the coming months (watch this space!), her expertise as a self-described digital native “who can’t recall a time she didn’t know how to code HTML” will certainly come in handy.

You might well know Martin’s byline from the sorely missed online magazine The Toast. Martin penned “How to Tell If You’re in a Victor Hugo Novel,” with subsequent articles helping us figure out whether we were in a Shakespearean tragedy, a Terry Pratchett novel, or an Oscar Wilde play. (Maybe she can help us solve the mystery of whether we’re stuck in Spengler’s Decline of the West.) More seriously, Martin has also published cultural criticism about representations of Asians and Asian Americans in movies and theater.

And don’t get this Folger veteran started on Shakespeare. Naturally, she has a favorite—Much Ado about Nothing—because of the Bard’s deliciously witty dialogue. “I’ve seen a lot of bad Shakespeare,” she says, “but it’s hard to mess up the banter between Beatrice and Benedick.”

Watch closely—Martin might start tweeting in iambic pentameter.

Allison Miller is editor of Perspectives. She tweets @Cliopticon.

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