As a student in the ECU Honors Program, I was given the privilege to conduct an undergraduate research assistantship with Dr. Kenneth Wilburn. My first endeavor in this research project was to locate the paper that Dr. Arthur S. Link presented at the first annual Brewster Lecture in 1982. In order to become familiar with Link and his work, Dr. Wilburn put me in contact with ECU Professor Emeritus Joseph Steelman, who shared with me his knowledge of Link and his work. In addition, Dr. Steelman gave me a personal perspective on Link, as they were friends and classmates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Steelman has recently informed me that he possesses some 100 letters from Arthur Link dating from the 1940s to the 1980s. To assist me with my search for Link's paper, entitled "Woodrow Wilson and a Revolutionary World," Dr. Steelman gave me several leads as to where this paper may be located, including the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Princeton University, where Link was a professor. Dr. Wilburn and I sent letters to the respective libraries; however, we were told that this paper was not present in their libraries, and our prospects for locating this paper were seemingly grim.
As coincidence would have it, while working on a paper for Professor Donald Parkerson’s history class in which I was using one of the Link's works on the Progressive era as a source, I decided to conduct a search on the Joyner Library homepage for the paper, expecting not to find anything beyond our earlier endeavors. However, this search turned up not a paper, but a book, with the exact same title, and was published in the same year as the first Brewster Lecture. As it turns out, Link's lecture was most likely a synopsis of his newly published book, Woodrow Wilson and a Revolutionary World.
Further discussions with Dr. Steelman resulted in excerpts about the Brewster Lectures in correspondence between Drs. Link and Steelman. Below is a series of letter excerpts dating to late 1981 and 1982 between Arthur Link and ECU Professor Joseph Steelman who was the director of the Brewster Lecture Series at the time. Also included is a letter from ECU History Department Chairman Fred Ragan to Steelman outlining the preparations in place for Link's visit. Arthur Link's 1982 lecture, Woodrow Wilson and a Revolutionary World, inaugurated the very successful Brewster Lecture Series held annually at ECU.
1 December 1981, Joseph Steelman invites Arthur Link to ECU.
14 December 1981, Arthur Link accepts Joseph Steelman's invitation.
12 January 1982, A date for the lecture is set.
2 September 1982, Link designates a lecture title.
13 September 1982, ECU History Department plans a formal dinner for Arthur Link.