New Library Fund to Honor History Professor Emeritus

November 16, 2011

Sarah Brooke Malloy ’99 never forgot how Ken Keller inspired her love of history. Malloy earned her BA in history at Mary Baldwin, received an MA in history from the University of Arkansas in 2005, and now works the Old State House Museum in Little Rock, AR. When Keller announced his retirement after 30 years as a history professor, Malloy told another of her favorite professors, Mary Hill Cole, that she found it hard to imagine Mary Baldwin without him.

Grafton Library

To celebrate Keller’s dedicated service and contributions to the college, Malloy suggested that they create the Kenneth W. Keller Book Fund to purchase books for Grafton Library. For the theme of the fund’s books, they chose a subject both central to Keller’s interest and underrepresented in Grafton’s collection — Native-American history.

Keller, who began teaching at Mary Baldwin in 1981, pursued a passion for Native-American history in the decade or so before he retired. During summer vacations, he and his wife, Mary Baldwin Professor Emerita of English Susan Green, would travel out West, collecting American-Indian art works and historical objects. Keller brought his enthusiasm for these studies back to campus, teaching a Native-American history course and team teaching an interdisciplinary class with Green.

Cole, who was hired by Keller and taught senior seminars in history with him since her arrival in 1987, reflected on his absence from campus.

“I miss his big laugh echoing down the hall and his encyclopedic knowledge of any subject, no matter how arcane,” she said.

Keller and Green are enjoying their retirement together, and Keller still uses his historical expertise as archivist for the Augusta County Historical Society.

Contributions to the Kenneth W. Keller Book Fund can be made directly to Carol Creager , director of Grafton Library, phone 540-887-7310,
or by using the online giving form, indicating in the comments section on the second page that the gift is for the Ken Keller Library Fund.