The Daniel Francis Howard Travel Fellowships

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Fall/ Winter 03


The Daniel Francis Howard Travel Fellowships

A generous gift from Barbara Howard will now support the work of graduate students who must travel outside of the United States for research. The new fellowships are named for Ms. Howard's late husband, Professor Daniel Howard, who joined the faculty in 1960 and became the Rutgers College English Department Chair in 1966. Two fellowships will be awarded annually, each carrying a stipend of $5000. These new fellowships will help graduate students pursue extended research opportunities at archives and libraries around the world.

Professor Howard earned his Ph.D. from Yale University and specialized in the literature of the Victorian period, focusing on the work and manuscripts of Samuel Butler. His editions of Butler's Erewhon: Or, over the Range and Ernest Pontifex, or, The Way of All Flesh have been important tools for subsequent research on that author. Professor Howard was a popular teacher, known for inspiring students to study difficult literary works by way of his detailed knowledge and his easygoing manner.

In addition to his scholarship and teaching, Professor Howard had a great talent for administration, and he successfully chaired the Department for fifteen years while serving on numerous university committees. He managed to combine an accessible manner with a satirist's dry wit, which served him well in the position. As with all skillful administrators, his contributions to undergraduate education at Rutgers were both substantial and unsung, but his dedication to recruiting the very best faculty for the Department left an enduring legacy. His early retirement as Chair due to health issues was a great loss, and his death in 1995 was a sad event for his many colleagues and former students. He is fondly remembered as a gifted administrator and a talented teacher, but also as a warm, friendly family man and as the generous host, with his wife, of extraordinary dinner parties.

The new travel fellowships continue the Howard family's commitment to supporting scholarly work by English Department students. From 1998 to 2001, the family generously supported the Daniel Howard Research Assistantship Program, a program designed to sponsor collaborative research between professors and undergraduates. Up to three annual stipends of $1500 were awarded to undergraduate English majors working on year-long research projects with faculty. Through this work, students gained practical experience in research methods and resources, along with first-hand experience of advanced humanities research.

The program was successful in many ways, from fostering important research to promoting closer faculty-student interaction. Sponsored projects ranged from archival work on the history of the Rutgers English Department, to research on the James family and American secularity, to a study of the hidden counterculture of the Beats. Undergraduate researchers made new discoveries while digging through archives, both helping professors with their scholarly research and presenting their findings in conference papers of their own. A former Fellow noted that the structure of the program allowed her to feel "more like a colleague than a research assistant."

One successful Howard Research Assistant, Miriam Jaffe, was deeply inspired by her work with Professor Daniel Harris, recovering poems printed in Jewish newspapers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She went on to write her undergraduate thesis with Professor Harris, and won the Jordan Lee Flyer Award in 2000 for the best English Honors thesis. Now a graduate student at Rutgers, Ms. Jaffe credits the Howard Research Assistantship Program with "helping me feel like Rutgers was smaller than it really is," and notes that in deciding to go to graduate school, "the experience of doing such in-depth research, and working so closely with a professor, was the best preparation I could imagine."

Related Links
Other awards available to undergraduates through Rutgers English Department

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