Scott Marler History PDA Fall 2011 Report I was fortunate to obtain a Professional Development Assignment for the fall semester of the 2011-12 academic year. I used this time to complete the writing, editing, and other details of the ‘penultimate draft’ of my book, The Merchants’ Capital: New Orleans and the Political Economy of the Nineteenth-Century South, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press. After the term of my PDA, the completed manuscript was submitted to the publisher. Last spring, they reviewed it internally and also sent it back out to the original readers for comments. All of their subsequent reports on my manuscript were highly favorable. To quote from my Cambridge editor’s final clearance review, “it’s an impressive, very impressive, piece of work, probably an award-winner. . . . It is remarkably sophisticated in conceptualization and execution . . . . This will become an important book [and] was worth the wait.” As a result, the Press is now ready to move my book into production this fall, with a probable publication date during the spring of 2013. Given my other, ongoing responsibilities at the university, last fall’s PDA was thus crucial in allowing me to finalize my work, particularly insofar as it provided me with the time I needed to submit a lean, thorough, copy-ready manuscript and thereby speed along the publication process of my book. Please know that I remain very grateful to the CAS and the University for their support of my scholarly research and productivity by granting me a Professional Development Assignment last fall.