Franziska Kohlt Named USC Libraries’ Carrollian Fellow

The USC Libraries have named Franziska Kohlt as their inaugural fellow in their newly re-envisioned Carrollian Fellowship. Kohlt, an accomplished historian of science, scholar of comparative literature, and expert in science communication, brings her diverse expertise and passion for Carroll’s works to the new fellowship.

Sponsored by the USC Libraries Collections Convergence Initiative, the Carrollian Fellowship offers outside scholars a chance to immerse themselves in the G. Edward Cassady, MD, and Margaret Elizabeth Cassady, RN, Lewis Carroll Collection, one the largest North America-based collections of rare books, manuscripts, and objects created by or about the nineteenth-century author and polymath Charles L. Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland fame.

“Dr. Kohlt exemplifies the scholarly excellence and creative vitality we hope to inspire and make possible through the Carrollian Fellow program,” said Marje Schuetze-Coburn, interim dean of USC Libraries. “We’re delighted to welcome her to the USC Libraries and excited about the new approaches she will bring to the Cassady Lewis Carroll collection and to engaging our academic and creative communities.”

The fellowship is the brainchild of Rebecca Corbett, curator of the Cassady Collection and director of special projects within the USC Libraries’ Specialized Collections group. “Fran’s appointment as our Carrollian Fellow is really exciting for the USC Libraries,” said Corbett. “She is an established Carrollian scholar who truly embodies the polymathic spirit of Dodgson, with her work spanning comparative literature, the history of science and science communication, and she will help us to explore connections between the Cassady Collection and our rare book holdings in natural history and the history of science.”

Kohlt’s extensive academic background includes a doctorate from the University of Oxford and research fellowships at the University of York and University of Leeds. She has published many books and articles and has appeared on international TV and radio programs, discussing topics such as Lewis Carroll, the history of dreams, and the science of spiritualism.

Her one-year fellowship runs through March 2024 and offers Kohlt, who is based in the UK, a firsthand opportunity to explore American dimensions of Carroll’s work and legacy.

"The Carrollian fellowship encapsulates the polymathic spirit that made the works of Charles Dodgson so uniquely stand the test of time,” Kohlt said. “Working with the Cassady collection will allow me to uncover new stories about one of the world's most famous authors and to find new ways of engaging diverse audiences with the insights they can offer."