Volunteer Spotlight

Asha French.

Anne and Bill Newton Endowment for Emory Libraries

Bill Newton 75C 76G began his career at The Coca-Cola Company as a research assistant. Because his education in library science provided an unfailing analytical ability, he became a trusted advisor to one of America’s most successful business leaders, Roberto C. Goizueta.

Now retired, Newton represents Emory Libraries on the Emory Alumni Board and invests in Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). He and his wife, Anne Newton 76G, created the Anne and Bill Newton Endowment for Emory Libraries to support Emory graduate students who conduct research in MARBL. The Newton endowment provides a stipend for one nine-month fellowship each year, funded by annual gifts and a match from The Coca-Cola Company.

“I understand the research value of primary sources,” Bill Newton says. “I appreciate the book as a complete work of art. And it’s important to support our libraries.”

This year, MARBL’s Anne and Bill Newton Fellowship is supporting Asha French an Emory PhD candidate who is writing a dissertation based on the works of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker and three other influential African American writers.

One morning on her way to work as a Newton Fellow in MARBL, French stepped onto the elevator with Walker, who was visiting her personal archive. “It felt good to tell her how much her work means to me. I’m so glad to be a fellow here,” says French,

French this year as she finishes her dissertation and builds the portfolio she’ll need to secure a teaching position. In return, she works in MARBL 16 hours each week, updating the library’s online tools to help scholars—including Emory undergraduates—do their research. 

The Newton Fellowship is perfect for French, a poet who depends on MARBL to inform her scholarship. She studies the voices of young black girls in contemporary fiction and is editing The New Letter Project, a volume of correspondence from established and emergent authors celebrating the art of letter writing.