In an age when people assume that every fact can be found on the Internet in a matter of seconds, there are still unexpected and important discoveries to be made by spending concentrated time sifting through rare books, unpublished manuscripts, and other materials. The Daniel Francis Howard Travel Fellowships allow Rutgers English graduate students to do just that. Thanks to a generous gift from Barbara Howard in the name of her late husband, Professor Daniel Howard, students can get financial support to travel for a month or more while pursuing advanced research.
Leslie Ann Dovale, the first Howard Fellow to complete her research, says that the experience “completely transformed my dissertation project.” She traveled to England to further her research on Victorian popular theater and political plays by women, spending five weeks examining materials that are either unavailable in the U.S. or hard to find.
“This was my first major foray into the realm of archival research,” she says, “and now I’m hooked on the thrill of exploration and discovery.”
James Mulholland is currently completing his research as a Howard Fellow, traveling through London and Wales to gather sources on lyric poetry in the Romantic period and its relationship to oral traditions. He plans to spend most of his time looking through the unpublished notes and manuscripts of eighteenth-century scholars.
Two new Howard Fellows will be traveling to England in the months to come, for very different projects. Stephanie Volmer is examining the exchange of botanical samples between America and the Old World in the eighteenth century, when collectors in England paid to have new discoveries shipped to them as a way of exploring the wild colonies from afar. She is planning to look at letters and journals kept in the British Library and in various private collections. Ken Urban will be doing research for his dissertation on confrontational British playwrights of the 1990s, watching film footage of controversial performances and interviewing writers, theater critics, and the brother of an influential playwright who died in 1999, leaving behind a body of unpublished work that very few people have seen.
Some questions can only be answered by going right to the primary sources. Thanks to the Daniel Francis Howard Travel Fellowships, Rutgers graduate students are able to make these kinds of discoveries.
More about the Howard Travel Fellowships