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With research award, Emily VanDette studies 19th century women writers
Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Dr. Emily VanDette

As the recipient of the Helen F. Faust Women Writers Research Travel award from Penn State University to support her research in its Special Collections Libraries, Dr. Emily VanDette of the Department of English made two research trips over the summer to consult archival materials for a new project that examines the legacy of 19th century U.S. women writers in literary history. Dr. VanDette spent time reading correspondence and other papers by and about Margaret Fuller, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Lydia Maria Child and Grace Greenwood.

In addition to researching the papers of those women authors, she spent a lot of time with the papers of Fred Lewis Pattee, the first scholar to have the title "Professor of American Literature," and a pioneer in the field. Pattee's role in shaping literary history is highly relevant to her research, as she investigates the formative years in the field of American literary studies.

Highlights of her research with the Pattee papers include his 1920s-era lecture notes taken by students in his American literature classrooms, his correspondence with female authors of his own era, and his fascinating correspondence from other literary scholars and professors from around the nation during his battle to establish American literature as a recognized part of college English curriculum.

Dr. VanDette shared the results of her research in a presentation at Penn State on Aug 7.

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