2018-2019 Barbara L. Packer Fellowship

I am honored to be the recipient of the 2018-2019 Barbara L. Packer Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Packer Fellowship was established by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society in honor of my late advisor Barbara Lee Packer (1947-2010).

During my residence at the American Antiquarian Society, I completed research on two chapters of my dissertation–one on Elizabeth Palmer Peabody and another on Theodore Parker. Archival research is particularly important for these two Transcendentalists because, compared to Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau, there has been relatively little written about them. Some of the specific materials I consulted included Peabody’s manuscript letters and her 33-page journal of Margaret Fuller’s “Conversations”; the correspondence, notebooks, and scrapbook of Theodore Parker; and the unpublished correspondence of Ellen Tucker Emerson. My project contextualizes my claims about Transcendental optimism and what I call their affective style within the cultures of sentiment and criticism in 1830s and 1840s. This meant consulting a range of materials in book history that the AAS offers, including nineteenth-century religious periodicals such as the Christian Examiner, Christian Register, and Scriptural Interpreter; Transcendentalist periodicals, such as Specimens of Foreign Literature and The Harbinger; moral instruction manuals; annuals and gift books. (I have more to say about my experience as this year’s Packer Fellowship recipient in a forthcoming issue of Emerson Society Papers.)

This past May, I met with other members of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, including Phyllis Cole, Roger Thompson, Michael C. Weisenburg, and Kristina West, at this year’s American Literature Association Conference where I received the award and a copy of Professor Packer’s The Transcendentalists.

For more information about the Barbara L. Packer Fellowship, visit the American Antiquarian Society’s site here.