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Cromwell Grant Will Enable Bilder to Work on Madison Book

By Nate Kenyon | Law School Marketing and Communications Director
Prof. Mary Bilder (Law) has been awarded a prestigious grant from the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation to fund the work on her new book, Madison's Hand, which will explore the impact of James Madison's notes upon historic understanding of the Constitution and his mediation of the Constitutional Convention.

William Nelson Cromwell, partner of the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm in New York, established the foundation in 1930 to support legal education and research in American legal history. The foundation gives grants to assist in original research and writing on the subject and is a highly coveted award amongst American legal scholars.

In a letter awarding the grant, John Gordon, secretary of the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, wrote: "The trustees were influenced by, among other things, the importance and originality of the subject of [Bilder's] work, the high quality of her previous publications, and the great respect for her scholarship voiced by other leaders in the field of legal history."

Describing the idea behind her book, Bilder says Madison had great influence over the interpretation of the Constitution, and the documents that led up to writing the Constitution, such as the Federalist Papers, the official Convention journal, and the first printed publication of the extant records of the ratification debates.

"Madison's Hand will combine traditional political and constitutional approaches to Madison's notes with an emphasis on biography, cultural history and constitutional historiography," Bilder said. "The book will argue that our ability to see what happened at the Convention is nearly impossible except through Madison."