UNI English professor receives prestigious Harvard University Dearborn Fellowship

UNI English professor receives prestigious Harvard University Dearborn Fellowship

Cambridge, MA – The UNI Department of Languages & Literatures is pleased to announce Jeremy Schraffenberger, professor of English and co-editor of the North American Review magazine, has been awarded the prestigious Harvard University Houghton Library Dearborn Fellowship for the academic year 2023–2024.

The Houghton Library Dearborn Fellowship is awarded each year, allowing a select group of scholars to pursue in-depth research projects that draw upon Houghton Library’s extensive holdings. The fellowship not only provides financial support but also facilitates intellectual exchange and collaboration among scholars.

Schraffenberger’s project, titled “Slavery, Abolition, and Colonization in the Antebellum North American Review,” aims to shed new light on the early attitudes of North American Review magazine editors and contributors on slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War.

The magazine, which is now housed on the UNI campus, was founded in Boston in 1815. Its editors and contributors include names such as Henry Adams, James Russell Lowell, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain and more. 

Jeremy Schraffenberger

The magazine was purchased by the University of Northern Iowa in 1968, and in recent years, Schraffenberger and his co-editors have aimed to take a more restorative approach to history with the magazine.

“The ultimate goal of this project is not only to articulate a clear picture of the shifting public attitudes toward slavery as represented in the antebellum pages of the NAR, but also to discover how these ideas may be reflected in the private, internal documents during the editorial and publishing processes of the magazine, including artifacts referring to subscriptions, printing, and distribution,” he said. “While I anticipate some version of academic publication will be developed from this research, my hope is that the narratives that emerge can be presented in a more wide-reaching, public-facing venue for current readers and writers of the magazine. The invaluable resources of the Houghton Library will allow us to contribute to the ongoing historical project of the North American Review as we confront the past in order to move more restoratively into the future.”

Schraffenberger says the importance of the Houghton Library for the current project cannot be overstated because the NAR was edited solely by men affiliated with Harvard during the time period in question.

The otherwise inaccessible papers of individual editors and the larger North American Review collections at Houghton promise to provide crucial materials, including correspondence, manuscripts, and notes that reveal the editors’ ideas regarding slavery, abolition and colonization.

As a recipient of the Dearborn Fellowship, Schraffenberger will receive a $4,500 stipend to support his research, and will be expected to spend a total of four weeks in residence at Houghton Library during the fellowship year. In addition, Schraffenberger will have opportunities to exchange knowledge with fellow scholars, participate in scholarly programs and contribute to Houghton’s publications.