The Ralph Waldo Emerson Institute was formally established in 2004 as a not-for-profit corporation in the State of New York. However, the original web site, rwe.org, was established by James Manley in 1996 as part of Webtoast Internet Services. The site emerged as a personal interest of Mr. Manley’s and it gradually attracted support and recognition from organizations such as the Emerson Society and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association.
As the Bicentennial celebrations of Emerson’s birth approached in 2003, rwe.org became the clearing house for events and became a focus for programs and publications about Emerson. During that year, Manley was joined by Dr. Richard Geldard as Advisor to the site. Dr. Geldard has written three books on Emerson and a fourth, The Essential Transcendtalists, will be published in Fall 2005 by Tarcher/Putnam.
In 2004, the Institute became a non-prfit corporation with a Board of Directors. Joining the Board was Dr. Susan Imholz as Director of Development and Treasurer, Barbara Soloway, a fine teacher of Emerson’s work in New York, and Alexander Forbes Emerson, as Vice-Chairman. Mr Emerson is a poet in his own right and is the great-great grandson of Ralph Waldo.
As of this date, February of 2005, rwe.org is the only site which has made available all of the published material in the Centenary Edition of the Complete Works. The intention is to also gradually make available more work, including the Journals and Notebooks and the Complete Letters.