Walt Whitman Research is Added to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Bowen Archive

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A collection of historical research is added to SIUE's university’s archive.

Jason Stacy, PhD, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of History.

“The study of Whitman’s journalism is a burgeoning field that has been revolutionized by the possibilities of digital editing.”

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has received a special collection of historical research about Walt Whitman’s journalism career, which is now available in SIUE’s Bowen Archive. The collection is entitled, “The Douglas and Betty Noverr Collection of Walt Whitman’s Journalism.”

SIUE’s Jason Stacy, PhD, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of History, was gifted research papers from the late Douglas Noverr, PhD, a noted Whitman scholar from Michigan State University. Noverr was instrumental in editing the first two volumes of Whitman’s complete journalism, along with a collection of the poet’s selected journalism, which he edited with Stacy. Stacy received materials related to Noverr’s final two, unpublished, volumes of Whitman’s journalism which will be included in the SIUE archives.

“This collection holds notes, letters, and transcripts, some over 100 years old, regarding Whitman’s journalism between 1848 and the 1880s,” said Stacy. “So far, no comprehensive collection of Whitman’s journalistic output for these years has been published, and this collection offers a wealth of material for future scholars who work in this field.”

Stacy, along with other Whitman scholars, reviewed the materials and cataloged them for future scholars. The team included Stephanie M. Blalock, PhD, digital humanities librarian at the Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio in the University of Iowa Libraries; Kevin McMullen, PhD, research assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Stefan Schöberlein, PhD, assistant professor of English and director of the digital humanities at Texas A&M University-Central Texas; and Zachary Turpin, PhD, assistant professor of American literature at the University of Idaho.

"As an intellectual historian, I am thrilled with the gift of the Noverr Collection from Dr. Stacy and his colleagues, since it will help us deepen our understanding of Whitman's Leaves of Grass, arguably the most significant piece of American poetry from the Nineteenth Century," said Eric Ruckh, PhD, interim dean of Library and Information Services. "It is a privilege to receive such a significant collection for the Bowen Archives—a gift that will draw both undergraduate and nationally known researchers to Lovejoy Library."

“Like the previous acquisitions of the John Francis McDermott and Andrew Theising collections, the Noverr Collection constitutes a noteworthy gift of national significance in multiple academic disciplines such as history, journalism, and literature and that will especially benefit SIUE faculty and student researchers for generations to come,” said Stephen Kerber, PhD, university archivist and unique collections librarian. “It is an honor as well as a pleasure to work with scholars of Dr. Stacy’s stature to preserve such historical research materials and make them accessible.”

“The study of Whitman’s journalism is a burgeoning field that has been revolutionized by the possibilities of digital editing,” Stacy added. “My hope is that this collection in the Bowen Archives brings Whitman scholars to SIUE and furthers the university’s goal of being a regional university with a national impact.”

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high-quality education that powerfully transforms the lives of all individuals who seek something greater. A premier metropolitan university, SIUE is creating social and economic mobility for individuals while also powering the workforce of the future. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 12,500.

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