With this issue, The Virginia Quarterly Review celebrates its 75th anniversary having first appeared in April 1925.But the establishment of such a journal had long been a dream of Edwin A.Alderman, the first president of the University of Virginia (a faculty chairman formerly held the top post). Indeed, Mr. Alderman enunciated this dream in a speech given a decade before VQR came into being. Speaking at the Finals ceremony in 1915, Mr. Alderman described the periodical he envisioned for Mr. Jefferson’s university in these terms:
“I believe this is the academic spot out of which should issue a publication reflecting the calm thought in all . . .fields of the best men and if that end can be achieved nothing could add more to our usefulness and fame.”
While it took ten years for Mr. Alderman to make the publication a reality, it has now enjoyed three quarters of a century of seeking to be a national journal of literature and discussion.
For this commemorative issue, we have selected a number of authors to discuss a number of topics, including the South, journalism, television, civil rights, art, and religion. The contributors’ essays appear in alphabetical order.
A native of Tennessee, Edward L. Ayers is well qualified to discuss how the South has been described, deplored, and debated in this journal over the past 75 years. Mr.Ayers is the Hugh Kelly Professor of History at the University of Virginia and a member of VQR’s advisory board. He is the author of a highly acclaimed book about the South, The Promise of a New South.He is spending this year as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto where he is completing a history of two towns during the Civil War, one Southern and the other Northern. When his manuscript is completed, it will be published by W.W.Norton.
Alexander Burnham has been a journalist for 45 years. He served as a staff reporter and editor with The New York Times, worked for the Associated Press, NEC News, and The Hartford Courant.He was also editor of The Washington
Book Review and managing editor of a New York publisher, Dodd Mead and Company. Mr. Burnham compiled the essays for We Write for Our Own Time: Selected Essays from 75 fears of the VQR, 1925—2000, which is being published this month by the University Press of Virginia.
Robert Coles is a child psychiatrist and the James Agee Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books, including Children of Crisis, a multi-volume work which won a Pulitzer Prize. He was also, as his essay indicates, a friend of Anna Freud.
Paul Duke is a Virginian and graduate of the University of Richmond. He began his journalistic career covering the Virginia state capital in the 1950’s. He later served as a Washington correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, NBC News and PBS.For more than two decades he was moderator of the much lauded program “Washington Week in Review.” Mr. Duke was the 1999 recipient of the John Chancellor Award for excellence in journalism. He continues to reside in Washington.
A veteran of the 1960’s civil rights movement, Leslie W. Dunbar served first in those tumultuous years as research director of the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta, the South’s oldest bi-racial organization. He later became the SRC’s executive director. As such, he helped establish the Voter Education Project to get blacks to register to vote in such bastions of segregation as Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. Mr. Dunbar headed the SRC during the years of sit-ins, demonstrations, and marches. He left Atlanta in the mid-1960’s to become executive director of the Field Foundation in New York City. He now resides in Durham, North Carolina.
As a veteran political scientist, Michael Nelson is well qualified to discuss the seldom serene, mostly stormy relationship between the president and the press. After receiving his Ph. D.in political science from Johns Hopkins University, he joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University. He later moved to Memphis where he is a professor of political science at Rhodes College. Mr. Nelson is also a former editor of The Washington Monthly.His most recent book is The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776—1998, which he co-authored with UVA professor Sidney M.Milkis.
A prolific writer and frequent VQR contributor, Sanfobd Pinsker has spent his career immersed in American literature. He has been a member of the English department at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania since 1967 and a full professor since 1984, the year in which he became a Fulbright senior lecturer in Belgium. A native Pennsylvanian, he received his B.A.degree from Washington Jefferson College and his Ph. D.from the University of Washington. Mr. Pinsker writes poetry as well as prose and his books include The Language of Joseph Conrad; Still Life and Other Poems; Philip Roth: Critical Essay; and Memory Breaks and Other Poems.He was co-editor of Jewish American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia.
Deborah Menaker Rothschild has been the curator of exhibitions at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts since 1987.She received her doctoral and masters degrees from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She was awarded a certificate in museum studies from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her dissertation focused on Picasso’s use of popular imagery in his designs for the ballet and served as the basis of her book Picasso’s Parade: From Street to Stage.A specialist in early 20th century and contemporary art, Dr. Rothschild is a Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude graduate of Vassar College, and she is currently a fellow for the academic year 1999-2000 at the Francis C.Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Williams College.
The Right Reverend John Shelby Spong retired this winter as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, and he is lecturing this spring at Harvard University. Mr. Spong is the most published member of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.He is the author of 18 books and more than 100 published articles. He is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and he received his Master of Divinity degree from the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia. He served as rector of various churches in North Carolina and Virginia from 1955 to 1976; that year, he was consecrated a bishop. Bishop Spong has an active interest in sports and was once a play-by-play announcer for radio stations in North Carolina and Virginia for football, basketball, and baseball.
The John B. Minor Professor of Law and History at the University of Virginia, G.edward White has a Ph. D.in American Studies from Yale University as well as a J.D.from Harvard Law School. He served as a clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren and later, wrote a biography of Mr. Warren. His other books include a biography of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and a volume on the Marshall court in the Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the U.S.His most recent book is The Constitution and the New Deal, forthcoming later this year. Like Mr. Ayers, Mr. White is a member of VQR’s advisory board.
Mary Oliver’s latest VQR poem is from a forthcoming collection entitled The Leaf and the Cloud due out this year. Her most recent collection is Winter Hours (Houghton Mifflin, 1999). She holds the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College.
Ed Ochester’s new book of poems, The Land of Cockaigne will be published in early 2001 by Story Line Press. His chapbook, Cooking in Key West, was published this winter by Adastra Press and Snow White Horses: Selected Poems, 1973—1988 will appear this spring from Autumn House Press.
Hugh Seidman was born in Brooklyn and lives in New York City. He has won New York State and NEA grants, and also the Yale Younger Poets Prize. In 1995, his Selected Poems: 1965-1995 was cited by the Village Voice and by The Critics’ Choice as one of the best books of the year.
Martha Zweig’s Vinegar Bone, her first full length collection is available from Wesleyan University Press. Her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Northwest Review, Poetry Northwest, The Iowa Review, The Kenyan Review, and The Gettysburg Review, among others. She received a 1999 Mrs. Giles Whiting Writers Award.
John H. Silbey is President White Professor of History at Cornell University. Among his books on 19th-century American politics are The American Political Nation, 1838—1893 and The American Party Battle: Election Campaign Pamphlets, 1828—1876.He is completing a biography of the 8th president, Martin Van Buren, the founder of the American party system.
A professor of English at Louisiana State University, Panthea Reid is the author of Art and Affection’ A Life of Virginia Woolf (Oxford) which won the annual South Atlantic Modern Language Association Best Book Award, and was named among the best academic books of 1997 by Choice Magazine.Ms. Reid is an authority on Southern authors, one of them being William Faulkner.
John Portmann is the executive assistant to the provost of the University of Virginia, where he received his philosophical and religious ethics doctorate. He also holds a B.A.degree from Yale University and an M.Phil, from Cambridge University in England. Mr. Portmann’s first book, When Bad Things Happen to Other Peoplewas recently published by Routledge.
Jack Fischel is chairman of the department of history at Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania. He was co-editor of Jewish American History and Culture: An Encyclopediapublished in 1992 by Garland. He is author of The Holocaust, a book published by Greenwood Press in 1998, and Historical Dictionary of the Holocaust (Scarecrow Press, 1999).
David Kirby is the W. Guy McKenzie Professor of English at Florida State University at Tallahassee, His critical books include Herman Melville, Grace King, A Portrait of a Lady and The Turn of the Screw, Henry James and Melodrama, and Mark Strand and the Poets Place in Contemporary Culture. His poetry collections include Saving the Young Men of Vienna, published by Wisconsin and winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, and the forthcomingn House of Blue Light (LSU Press).
PHOTO CREDITS: Front Cover: David Gies Back Cover: UVA Special Collections, Thomas Jefferson Papers—Hotel A, UVA Research: Heather Burns
COVER DESIGNS: Thomas McDaniel and Larry Holland
A National Journal of Literature and Discussion published since 1925 in January, April, July, and October. Individual subscriptions $18.00 one year, $25.00 two years, $33.00 three years; Institutions $22.00 one year, $30.00 two years, $50.00 three years. Outside U.S. (individual and institution) add $6.00 per year. Single copies $5.00 each. Title page and annual index available in November. The journal is distributed by B. DeBoer Inc. and Ubiquity Distributors.
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Virginia Quarterly Review is published four times a year by the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4223 (publication #0042-675x). The editor is Staige D. Blackford. The managing editor is Janna Olson Gies. The business and editorial offices are located at One West Range, P O Box 400223, Charlottesville VA 22904-4223. There are no bondholders, mortgages, or other security holders. The average number of copies distributed of each of the four issues published during the preceding 12 months is 3775; average total paid circulation is 3252; 3053 to paid subscribers and 199 to distributors and other sales; free distribution totaled 215 with 308 not distributed; the % of paid/requested circulation was 93.7. For the autumn 2002 issue, closest to filing date, the number of copies was 3500 with 3116 to paid subscribers and 205 to distributors and other sales; free distribution totaled 220 with 164 not distributed; the % of paid/requested circulation was 93.4. Annual subscription rates are $18. I certify that these statements are correct and complete. Staige D. Blackford, Editor.