Since I completed my very last masters program related responsibility today, I figured it is as good a time as any to announce my intention to try and make a career as a freelance credit union historian. I am deeply convinced that much of the credit union story has yet to be told, and that a great deal of good might come from its telling. As such, despite the risks involved in attempting to make a life as an independent academic, I'm excited to have the opportunity to attempt to make it work.
To kick off this new journey, I will be undertaking an historical project for the Association of Vermont Credit Unions. The goal will be to create an on-line history of the Vermont movement that is comprehensive while, at the same time, an accessible introduction to its legacy aimed at credit union staff, volunteers, members, and the public at large. Once completed, my hope is that this resource will help orient credit union people in Vermont to the debates, traditions, and choices that have shaped the contemporary movement, and that it will aid them in taking the lessons of the past more fully into account when making the decisions that will determine the future of credit unionism.
Additionally, I hope to begin work on a biographical piece about Roy F. Bergengren. Any understanding of the early American credit union movement that does not fully take into account the importance of this dynamic organizer and philosopher would be profoundly deficient, and yet there exists no comprehensive introduction to his life and thought. Though I'm not sure what scale or form such biographical work will ultimately take (long article? book? website?), I've decided to develop a research program that will hopefully culminate in a resource which will be of use to anyone who is curious about Bergengren.
As such, the content of Credit Union History over the next few months will likely be a reflection of these projects: lots of Vermont, and lots of Bergengren (and if I can combine the two, so much the better!). However, I will still try to post the occasional non-Bergengren book review or philosophically oriented essay and, as always, I encourage readers to submit their own relevant writings. This is an exciting new step, and hopefully the next few months will be good ones for credit union history!