Isabelle Flemming's picture

Real name: 

Primary Discipline

Primary Discipline: 

  • Old HierarchyHistoryEarly Modern Europe
Secondary Discipline

Secondary Discipline: 

  • Old HierarchyHistoryEarly Modern Europe

Further Specification: 



Isabelle Flemming, BA, MA, MLS, is currently a part-time Reference Librarian at Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, Illinois, after having worked there for several years as a full-time Reference Librarian/Computer Specialist. Prior to holding this position, she was the Business Reference Librarian at Mount Prospect Public Library in Mount Prospect, Illinois.  She received her MLS from the University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana, after also spending a year in the Library Science program at Indiana University, and an MA in history, majoring in History of Science, with a minor in Early Modern Europe, from the University of Florida. She obtained her BA in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
She has had the articles: “Universe, Closed or Open”, and “Time, Cosmic”, published in the Encyclopedia of Time: Science, Philosophy, Theology, & Culture, (Los Angeles: Sage, 2009), and the chapters: “Ethnography and Ethnology” and “Magic and Science” published in 21st Century Anthropology: a Reference Handbook, (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010), editor, H. James Birx. She co-authored the chapter “Reference Interview in Real Time and Virtual Time” with Lesley Farmer, and it appears in a reference book for librarians, Using Qualitative Methods in Action Research: How Librarians can Get to the Why of Data, edited by Drs. Douglas Cook and Lesley Farmer. (2011). Three articles, “Fight or Flight Model,” “Memorials and Monuments,” and “Hunter-Gatherer Societies,” have been published in The SAGE Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspective.
Her short stories have been published in a local newspaper, after receiving first place awards at a writers’ workshop, and a short story excerpt from a novel in progress was published in the New England Writers’ Network periodical. She is currently writing a fiction novel of the supernatural/mythological in ancient Celtic culture.
She is a retired member of the American Library Association, serving a term on the History Committee for RUSA (Reference and User Services), and the Public Library Association. Current member of PCA/ACA Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association and MAPACA (Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association). 
She has presented the following papers: "Costume Jewelry: Reflection of Popular Culture" at the Joint Conference of the National Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association, 2011. “Steampunk in American Popular Culture” at the MAPACA Conference in November 2013. "American Popular Culture through the Eyes of Collectors: Then and Now" at the February 2014 Southwest Popular Culture Association Conference. "Costume Jewelry: Product and Reflection of Popular Culture" National Conference of the Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association in April 2014. "Science and Magic in the All Souls Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness" at the Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association in November 2014. "In Pursuit of Perfection: The Alchemical Tradition, Historical Times to the Present, "Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association in April 2015. "Copyright for Scholars" at the 25th Anniversary Conference of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars, June 2015. Most recently she presented a paper in April 2017 at the Popular Culture and American Culture Association national conference. In June of 2019 she chaired a Panel, “In Search of a Wider Audience: Publishing within Academia and Beyond” at the 2019 Conference of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.
Her research interests lie in the related fields of the history of culture and ideas and in how humans organize and process information.  These culminate in a special interest in the future of virtual worlds and their impact on society. She may be contacted by

Current research areas: 

Cultural history of costume jewelry, effect of early women's magazines on their growing independence and spending habits
Medieval and renaissance Europe: cultural and intellectual history topics include: Significance and uses of collecting and collections among scholars and royal individuals. Study of specific collections to detect patterns and meanings.
Alchemy as an intellectual pursuit, alchemical symbolism.

Recent scholarly activity: 

See Bio_CV above
Working on writing a scholary history of costume jewelry with particular reference to early women's magazines and their effect on women's growing sense of independence and spending habits.
The secret language of objects in Renaissance Cabinets of Curiosities/ Wunderkammer

Forthcoming research: 

Additional work on intersection of Renaissance private collections amassed by princes and wealthy collectors, with emblemata, also known as Impresa in Italy. Early printing expanded the publication of emblemata, which had specific meanings to Renaissance educated people, as did the types of items collected in the "Cabinets of Curiosities" created during that period. Thus, both a physical item in a collection and the words and symbols on emblems each became lengthy entries in an encyclopedia of Renaissance thought, world view, and cosmology.

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