Dennis A. Fiori

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ... ?

March 03, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Dennis A. Fiori, former director of the Maryland Historical Society, spends a lot of time these days at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, commuting back and forth to Boston, where he has been president of the Massachusetts Historical Society since 2005.

"It was hard to leave Baltimore, and frankly, I love both cities," said Fiori, who led the state historical society for 12 years and whose wife, Margaret R. Burke, is executive director of the Maryland Humanities Council.

"The Massachusetts Historical Society is a great institution and has always been over the top for scholars," Fiori said. "We have the papers of three presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson. In fact, we have 95 percent of Jefferson's personal papers. There are more Jefferson papers here than in Virginia."

Fiori explains that he presides over an impressive independent research library, not a museum, that boasts a collection of 12 million historically important manuscripts and 115,000 photographs. It was founded in 1791.

"At the Maryland Historical Society, I was concerned about the museum and the library side, and grew to love both. However, it's been a gradual process moving strictly to the library side," he said. "I was ready for the next move."

A resident of Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood during the week, Fiori likes being able to walk the two miles to his office. "When the weather is bad, I ride the trolley," he said.

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