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The Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati is a humanities center at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA. The Taft Center promotes scholarship and encourages humanistic inquiry, attracting participants from the university and the global academic community. It awards fellowships and grants to faculty and students at the university; sponsors lectures and conferences; and organizes research seminars, workshops, symposia, and reading and discussion groups. The Center was founded in 1930 by Anna Sinton Taft in memory of her husband, Charles Phelps Taft. It is a member of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI). The current director of the Taft Research Center is Professor Jana Evans Braziel.


Following the death of Charles Phelps Taft on December 31, 1929[1][2], his wife, Anna Sinton Taft, bequeathed a private endowment of $5 million to the University of Cincinnati in 1930 to establish the Charles Phelps Taft memorial fund.[3][4] The goal, stated by Anna Sinton Taft in a letter dated May 3, 1930, was to assist, maintain, and endow the study and teaching of “the Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate School of the University of Cincinnati” as a memorial to her husband, Charles Phelps Taft, who was interested in the improvement of the mind, rather than physical or material betterment. Originally, the fund supported the departments of Literature, Language, Philosophy and History at the University of Cincinnati, together with Economics and Mathematics. However, the Board of Trustees who administer the fund were given “wide discretion” in defining the humanities, and the definition has expanded to support the following departments: Africana Studies; Anthropology; Economics; English and Comparative Literature; German Studies; History; Judaic Studies; Mathematical Sciences; Philosophy; Political Science; Romance Languages and Literatures; Sociology; and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies.

In November 2004, Richard Harknett, then Taft Faculty Chair, gained the Board of Trustees’ approval to expand the Memorial Fund into a Research Center with a physical presence. The Taft Center is currently located in the Stratford Heights complex on Clifton Avenue in Cincinnati, across the street from the University of Cincinnati Uptown West campus. Although the organizational structure has changed slightly over the years, the Taft Faculty Chair continues to preside over the Taft Faculty Executive committee, empanelled by both tenure-track and tenured faculty at the University of Cincinnati. A Board of Trustees is composed of several individuals, including members of the Taft family.


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  4. ^ Taft, Anna (Annie) Sinton. Letter to the Board of Directors of the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. 3 May 1930. Archives of Charles Phelps Taft Research Center, Cincinnati, OH.

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