Prof. Caleb Smith, Yale University, presents the life and memoir of Austin Reed —
a prisoner, indentured servant and writer — in Goldwin Smith Hall yesterday. (Greg Keller / Sun Staff Photographer)

Yale Professor Presents Research on 1858 Memoir

Prof. Caleb Smith, English and American Studies, Yale University, presented his research on the process of uncovering the identity and story of Rob Reed, the author of an 1858 memoir that has intrigued scholars ever since its discovery. The autobiography provides a rare look into the life in 19th century American prisons for an African American man. Smith discovered in 2013 that Austin Reed — whose identity became an ongoing mystery after the 2009 discovery of an 1858 memoir by the pseudonym Rob Reed — was born a free man in Rochester, New York, but later became an indentured servant and an inmate of the nation’s first juvenile reformatory. He was also a prisoner at New York’s Auburn State Prison. Smith said there was initially no record of Rob Reed, which made research into the identity of the author difficult.
“In 2009, I started working with curators and researchers to find out about anything we could about the document and its author,” he said.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 11.35.42 PM

Universities Nationwide Plan to Launch New Application Platform

A group of 80 public and private universities announced plans on Sept. 28 to improve the college admission process by launching a new application platform. The group, which includes all eight Ivy League institutions, is known as the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success and aims to reshape the traditional approach to admissions and increase educational access for low-income families and underrepresented groups. The coalition formed in response to barriers low-income students often face in the college admissions process. They plan to launch a new application website which they hope will make the process more broadly accessible. 
“The schools in the Coalition have individually tried many different and creative approaches to address these challenges,” said Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions at Yale University, in a statement from the coalition.