Ronald Brashear is the Arnold Thackray Director of the Othmer Library. For the last 23 years he has held positions that merge the history of science and special-collections libraries. In 1988, with a BA and an MS in physics from the University of Louisville, and after studying for a PhD in the history of astrophysics at Johns Hopkins University, Brashear became the first curator of history of science, technology, and medicine at the Huntington Library. In 1998 he became curator of the Dibner Library of the History of Science at the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, eventually becoming head of special collections in 2001.
In 2006 Brashear joined our organization and began the process of turning the Othmer Library into a mature independent research library. He also transformed the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry into the leading provider of history of science, technology, and medicine fellowships in the United States.
Brashear has curated exhibitions on the transits of Venus, the history of civil engineering, and the history of astronomy at the Huntington Library and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He is currently the board chair of the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science and vice chair of the board of directors for the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries; he serves on the Huntington’s Dibner Program Advisory Council and Dames Fund Advisory Council.