Reports by Past Fellowship Award Recipients
Each year a Joseph R. Dunlap Memorial Fellowship is given. In some years a William Morris Society Award is also granted.
Joseph R. Dunlap Memorial Fellowship
Since 1996, the William Morris Society in the United States Annual Fellowship (Now named in honor of the late Joseph R. Dunlap) has supported research and creative work related to William Morris, his causes, and his circle of associates.
2016 Sarah Leonard
’The beauty of the bough-hung banks’: William Morris in the Thames Landscape”
My dissertation, “‘The beauty of the bough-hung banks’: William Morris in the Thames Landscape,” investigates the disparate riverside landscapes of the Victorian Thames as dominant presences in Morris’s varied and intertwined roles as designer, author, political thinker, and factory owner. As a lifelong London resident, Morris was most familiar with the polluted, industrialized city Thames. However, he drew visual inspiration from the rural landscape of the Upper Thames around Kelmscott for his famous pattern designs, and he put forward the same landscape as a medievalist and Socialist pastoral ideal in his poetry, novels, and political writings. At the same moment, he was searching out clean river water for the industrial production of his fabrics, and using that water to wash dyestuffs away from his printed fabrics and downstream into the London river.
In order to understand Morris’s thoughts on the Thames landscape, the inspiration he drew from it, and the ways he interacted with it, it is essential to consider the Thames and its tributaries as he might have known them – physically, in how they looked and functioned, and culturally, in how they were addressed by the writers, artists, and thinkers with whom Morris would have been familiar. Therefore, my combined landscape studies and art historical approach looks to art, literature, archival records, and the physical sites of Morris’s life to form a broad and detailed account of Morris’s Thames landscapes, their uses and depictions, and their cultural context. This account reveals the ways in which Morris’s physical and cultural landscapes manifested in the design and production of his works, focusing particularly on the series of printed patterned fabrics he named for tributaries of the Thames and its estuary: Cray, Evenlode, Kennet, Lea, Lodden, Medway, Wandle, Wey, and Windrush.
I will use the funds provided by the Dunlap Fellowship to support a research trip to the United Kingdom, currently planned for summer 2017. During this trip, I will visit a number of council archives and local museums to view documentation and images of Morris’s riverside landscapes. This material, along with research I plan to undertake in the maps collection of the British Library, will help to reveal the historic features of Morris’s landscapes, as well as the changes they underwent both in his lifetime and in the ensuing 120 years. I will also view Thames imagery and ephemera at both the Museum of London and the River and Rowing Museum, Henley, and study Morris’s original tributary pattern designs at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Birmingham Art Gallery. All of this work is essential to my landscape- and ecology-focused interpretation of Morris’s works and legacy, and will contribute particularly to my dissertation chapters concerning Morris’s London and the Merton Abbey factory.
2014 Mike Roberts
“The News from Nowhere Fellowship Symphony” is a 90 minute community piece inspired by the central themes of Morris’ utopian romance. It incorporates a ‘Cantata’ for Children’s Choir and Orchestra together with seven instrumental ‘movements’ for smaller, diverse ability, ensembles. Written with Morris’ artistic axiom as a guiding principle - “I do not want art for a few; any more than education for a few; or freedom for a few” - every child involved in the original project composed a small fragment of musical ‘DNA’ that was carefully woven into the final piece. As a result the work can truly be considered “a Fellowship Symphony written by the children, for the children”. This year the work is being recorded and published to reach a wider audience and inspire further performances by school and community groups. The Joseph R. Dunlap Memorial Fellowship will be used to help support the research and teacher consultation necessary to author and produce a series of accompanying resources – enabling schools to significantly enhance the educational impact of performing or listening to the piece. This collection of lesson plans, fact sheets and multi-media resources will help teachers facilitate effective learning experiences about the life and work of William Morris. Mike Roberts will be regularly updating progress on and new developments in the project at this website: http://www.icmus.org/. More information about composer Mike Roberts may be found at http://www.soundingofsilence.com.
Mr. Csanálosi describes his project: “News from Nowhere is a great reading experience: it makes the reader think about his or her own society. In my opinion this issue could not be more timely: in our tumultuous society, the novel’s ideas have to be taken into consideration. The references and allusions are more topical now than ever they have been. In addition, the current cultural and political situation in Hungary is actually very problematic. Now is the time to raise cultural awareness and make people dig deep as far as their self-consciousness is concerned. There are many symbols and metaphors in the novel which are easy to interpret and understand for English-speaking readers, but difficult for the Hungarian public.
2012 Leslie Harwood, William Morris' Earthly Paradise: Precursor to the Private Press Movement. See under William Morris Society Awards.
2012 Kyle Stoneman, Joseph Dunlap Fellowship, "William Morris, Evelyn Waugh and the Arts and Crafts Movement"
Mr. Stoneman holds a B. A. in art history from the University of Akron and an M. A. in art history from the University of Washington, where his master's thesis considered Victorian artist Eleanor Forescue Brickdale (1872-1945). He is currently a Ph. D. candidate at Cambridge University, where he holds an Art Sizarship at Churchill College. At the Morris Society co-sponsored "Useful and Beautiful" conference in 2010, Mr. Stoneman spoke on "Frederick Judd Waugh and the Imagery of Sir Galahad in America." Mr. Stoneman will use the fellowship to visit collections at the Henry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Michigan. He describes his project on "Evelyn Waugh, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement" as follows: "My current research is an exploration of Evelyn Waugh as a visual artist. I argue Waugh's oeuvre is an assimilation of William Morris's aethetic theories, as evidenced in both Waugh's illustrations and his collection habits. One of the key issues I wish to pursue at greater length is Waugh's notion of the artist/craftsman, which is heavily indebted to William Morris's writings. I hope to bring new insight into the employment of Morris's ideas in the twentieth century and to help fill in serious lacunae in both Morris and Waugh scholarship.
2011 Andreea Marder
Andreea Marder, the recipient of the 2011 Joseph R. Dunlap Fellowship, writes about her project entitled: "The Translation of News from Nowhere into Romanian": While searching for a possible dissertation subject for my Master's degree in Translation Studies, I was naturally drawn to William Morris, an author for whom I have always had a great admiration. Much to my surprise, only one of his books has been translated into Romanian. This is why I decided to embark on an ambitious and audacious project, i.e. the translation of News from Nowhere.
In his review of Bellamy's novel, Morris writes that "the only safe way of reading a Utopia is to consider it as the expression of the temperament of its author." Morris's own utopian romance, News from Nowhere, contains many different threads in his life, tightly interwoven to form the substance of an engaged literary work. Moreover, it is a book incredibly rich in substance and irony, sometimes self-directed. It is a vision, as its author declares, of a different kind of existence.
Morris believed that human nature was inherently good, and that it had only become perverted by unfavorable circumstances. The world in which William Guest wakes up is supposed to be a paradise for the living, but it is by no means a perfect world. Morris proposes one solution, a cure for the passivity with which we accept what makes our lives miserable. The author's intention is first of all to encourage us to dream of a better world and then to do our best to transform that dream into reality. In an industrialized society which does not know where it is heading, this message might be more appealing than ever. Due to this fact, it is my belief that News from Nowhere would be of great interest to the Romanian reader.
The book is highly embedded in its source culture, containing thousands of references which were familiar to its first British and American readers, but difficult to understand and even cryptic to present-day readers.Things can be even more problematic when it comes to understanding, interpreting, and translating them for a foreign audience. Because of this fact, extensive research has to be conducted first in order to understand the information contained in the source text, with all its presuppositions and implications, and then to render it in an accessible form to the Romanian reader. The illustrated edition of News from Nowhere has proved thus to be an extremely valuable resource for me.
The Joseph R. Dunlap Memorial Fellowship can
prevent the Romanian translation of News from Nowhere from remaining only an academic project, known to an
extremely limited number of people. The fellowship
can help me find a publishing house interested in my
manuscript and, perhaps cover some of
the expenses for the printing of the book. It is my hope that my translation project will promote
the literary work of William Morris to Romanian
2010 Jason Martinek
This year's Joseph Dunlap Memorial Fellowship has been awarded to Jason D. Martinek, for research on "William Morris and American Socialism." Martinek received a Ph.D. in history from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005 and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of History at New Jersey City University. His publications include "'The Workingman's Bible': Robert Blatchford's Merrie England, Radical Literacy, and the Making of American Socialism, 1895–1900," in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (July 2003). He describes his research as follows:
William Morris had a profound impact on the late nineteenth century American socialist movement. Yet Morris's contribution to the making of American socialism has been greatly under-appreciated by scholars. Instead, they have emphasized either the significance of Edward Bellamy's nationalism or Karl Marx's communism to the rise of American socialism. Both paled in comparison to Morris's influence in the 1890s. The most popular socialist tract of 1890s America, Robert Blatchford's Merrie England, drew its inspiration from Morris, not Bellamy or Marx. Earlier research of mine published in a special issue of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era demonstrated that this Morrisinspired forgotten bestseller of American socialism had a wide readership at the turn of the century. Historical evidence even suggests that Blatchford's book outsold Bellamy's by a margin of two to one. That article did not fully flesh out the Morris component of the story, something that I would like to address as I move forward with my research.
Thus, the project outlined here will serve two purposes. On the one hand, it will be used for an article length manuscript that places Morris's ideas at the center of the turn of the twentieth century socialist movement. On the other, the research will be incorporated into a book manuscript that I am writing that uses a historyof- the-book approach to understand the rise and fall of American socialism. I will use the Joseph Dunlap Memorial Fellowship to conduct research at the University of Connecticut's Homer Babbidge Library, which contains microfilm copies of all of the major socialist periodicals of the 1890s: The Appeal to Reason, The People, The Social Democrat, and The Social Democratic Herald.
It is my contention that Morris brought a romantic sensibility to the American socialist movement that stood in stark contrast to the regimented, bureaucratic vision of Bellamy on the one hand and the crass economic determinism of Marx on the other. How could one not be enticed by sentiments like these in Morris and H. M. Hyndman's Summary of the Principles of Socialism, that socialists should seek the "completest physical, moral and intellectual development of every human being as the highest form of the social state, as the best and truest happiness for every individual and for every class, where, as none need overwork, so none shall be able to force others to work for their profit?" The concept of happiness lay at the very heart of Morris's socialism, best achievable, he believed, through the democratization of beauty, art, and pride in work. Once workers no longer had to struggle for their daily bread or work in dingy, dehumanizing factories, Morris argued, they would become artist-craftsmen who lived meaningful and fulfilling lives. Underlying his vision for an ideal society was a visceral reaction against modern society, one that looked to the past for inspiration. Historians have shown how many American workers shared Morris's critique of modern society. They, too, looked backward to a time when the work of craftsmen, artisans, and skilled labor were more fully valued for their economic contributions to American society. Industrialization and the rise of the modern corporation seemed to undercut this producerist ethos. The devaluing of productive work, or at least the impression of its devaluation, led workers to form an ideological response in the form of labor republicanism. Labor republicanism, in its most radical expression, brought forth calls for the Cooperative Commonwealth. In the Cooperative Commonwealth, not only would workers receive respect for their labor, but they would also receive the full fruits of their toils. It was a vision that strongly resonated with that of Morris, but the links between the two have yet to be examined. The value of this research is that it provides a new trans-national context for understanding the history of American socialism. Whereas scholars have traditionally emphasized the German influence, my work brings out the British. Furthermore, given Morris's popularity with working-class audiences, it provides tantalizing clues about the trans-Atlantic history of workingclass intellectual history. Historian Daniel T. Rodgers's Atlantic Crossings remains the best work that teases out the trans-national context of Progressive thought. But its focus on elites leaves out the working-class exchanges of ideas that took place in this era. Even though Morris was not himself working class, his ideas had a bottom up impact on American history. It was an impact that, though long hidden, was nonetheless significant.
2009: Margaret R. Laster: awarded for research on the Morris and Company windows in Newport, RI. Ms. Laster, a PhD candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center, CUNY, holds degrees in Art History from Williams College and the University of Chicago. Her dissertation focuses on the Gilded Age American patron Catharine Lorillard Wolfe. She is a specialist in the history of collecting and provenance research, and has served as Research Fellow for Provenance in European Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Margaret was Junior Fellow at the Frick Art Reference Library's Center for the History of Collecting in Spring 2008, and has participated in the Victorian Society’s London and Newport Summer Schools. Ms. Laster has sent us the following account of her research:
Among the artistic programs William Morris helped to create was a Burne-Jones nine panel stained-glass window depicting life-size Viking gods and heroes, which dramatically illuminated the space as one entered the house. Morris had proposed the subject and placement of these images; representatives of Morris & Company were in continual communication with Wolfe and her advisers. While the exterior of Vinland remains largely intact, despite subsequent changes and expansions, much of the original Morris interior has been dismantled and disseminated.
This collaboration with William Morris is an important component of my dissertation on the collecting and patronage of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe. I wish to study and re-create the visual program which once existed at Vinland and, further, to explore Wolfe’s motivation for embarking on the commission with Morris & Company. What drew her to these British artists of the Aesthetic movement, and how did the work progress? I have delivered a paper on my initial findings, based on research in Newport archives, at a symposium on the American Home at Salve Regina University in October 2008. I also plan to contextualize and compare Morris’s involvement with Vinland with other projects in stained-glass that he helped design for American patrons. To this end, with the funds generously granted me by the Joseph R. Dunlap Memorial Fellowship, I will travel to London and environs, as well as to Birmingham UK, to investigate crucial archives and visual materials.
2008: Michaela Braesel:
I felt very honoured for being granted by the committee of the William Morris Society the Joseph R. Dunlap memorial fellowship and I do thank the society very sincerely for their confidence in my work and for their support.
The fellowship allowed me to spend two weeks in London in April this year to finish my researches on Morris's illuminated books. I spent most of my time in the British Library to read handbooks on illumination that were printed in the second half of the 19th century to establish a sound background for the evaluation of Morris's own work and his opinion on the history of book illumination and the establishment of a "modern school of illumination." These handbooks are not available in German libraries so that I am very thankful for the possibility to travel to London.
In the British Library I also had a look on single pages that were written out calligraphically by Morris but were not used in his manuscripts and a sequence of early writings of his own texts or translation in the margin of which Morris sketched floral motifs. These were important for following the conception of his manuscripts and to see how the ornamentation of his early manuscripts evolved.
The books that I could not find in the British Library I consulted in the National Art Library of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Here I visited the Prints and Drawings Department to have a look at drawings by Morris's collaborators in the manuscripts— Edward Burne-Jones and Charles Fairfax Murray. I looked at a design of musicians and from the context of the illustrations of the planned The Earthly Paradise as well as on designs for early decorative projects to see in which way the designs of these schemes are related to the miniatures in the manuscripts, in which way, ideas, compositions and figures were repeated and varied. This served to explore in which way the collaborative way of working and the re-use of designs (especially concerning glass windows and tile panels) are also to be found in the manuscripts.
I also looked at the work of William Burges, an architect and designer with a deep interest for the Middle Ages and their relevance to contemporary living and decoration. Like Morris, Burges was a visitor of the British Library and read many books on the Middle Ages that also contained illustrations from famous manuscripts in the BibliothĂ¨que Nationale in Paris. His drawings after miniatures, mostly showing single figures or groups and interesting costume details are preserved in the Victoria & Albert Museum and his notebooks with lists and comments on manuscripts in the British Library are in the collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA, this part of their collection is located in the Victoria and Albert Museum). The RIBA was also extremely helpful in the very easy availabilty of journals from the second half of the 19th century that contained articles on books on illumination, on the use of illumination and on its history as well as on lectures on this subject, for example by John Ruskin or George Audsley.
I also travelled to Cambridge to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum. Here I looked at Burne-Jones's sketchbooks, containing information on manuscripts he was interested in and drawings after costumes and figures from illuminated manuscripts. I also looked at his lists of works searching there for further information on his work for Morrisâ€™s manuscripts. A part of the fellowship money I will use to order pictures from one of the Burne-Jones's sketchbooks that I was not able to see as it was not available due to restoration.
After visiting London and Cambridge I am now working on the last chapters of my project and start editing the chapters that sketch the historical background for the evaluation of Morris's work and his opinions on illumination. I want to thank once more the Society very deeply for having me allowed to finish my research work with the grant of the fellowship.
2007: Elizabeth Carolyn Miller: Ms. Miller received her Ph. D. at the University of Wisconsin in 2003, and is the author of a book manuscript, Framed: The New Woman Criminal in British Culture at the Fin de Siecle. Now an assistant professor at Ohio University, she describes her current Morris-related book project, Print Culture and Late-Victorian Literary Radicalism:
Progress on this project will entail a sustained period of research time at the International Institute of Social History, which houses two archives crucially relevant to my project: the archives for the Socialist League (William Morris's influential political organization) and for its newspaper, the Commonweal. Two chapters of Print Culture and Late-Victorian Literary Radicalism require research in these archives: Chapter One, which focuses on artist-writer-activist William Morris, and Chapter Three, which focuses on the role of poetry in the late-Victorian radical press.
Chapter One considers the apparent conflict between Morris's depiction of print in his political novels and in his own print career. The utopia News from Nowhere and the dream-vision A Dream of John Ball both conceive of print as an industrial, alienating medium and anticipate a post-print society, but while writing these novels, Morris was also engaged in editing and writing for the Commonweal (where both novels originally appeared) and in printing numerous cheap political pamphlets for the Socialist League. Literary critics who discuss textuality in Morris's neo-Medieval novels have not adequately accounted for his active career in political print. My project shows how critical claims regarding Morris's Â“nostalgiaÂ” for oral culture fail to capture the complex analysis of media that winds through his oeuvre. I argue that the novels exhibit a sophisticated understanding of mass print's inevitable limitations as a political medium, and a corresponding recognition of the textual foundations of modern cultural memory and cultural change. To fully understand Morris's ambivalent relationship with print, however, I need to examine the papers that document production of his own newspapers and pamphlets. These will elucidate his day-to-day negotiation of how to make a social impact via print.
Chapter Three, meanwhile, will provide the first sustained analysis of poetry published in late-Victorian socialist and anarchist periodicals. These publications typically included at least one poem per issue, most of which have not previously been subject to close discursive analysis, but I argue that they played a key role in late-Victorian radical discourse. Poetry functioned to represent the relationship between tradition (signified by language and poetic form) and change (signified by the poems' revolutionary themes); more abstractly, it examined print's loss of authority amid mushrooming periodical organs and accelerating textual production. Ultimately, this chapter will include quantitative analysis of the kind of poetry included in radical journals as well as close examination of numerous individual poems. As the most "literary" and influential of the era's radical journals, the Commonweal will be a centerpiece of my analysis, and Morris's role as poetry editor will be as relevant as his role as radical poet. Working-class readers often contributed poems to the Commonweal, and many of these were printed anonymously. Access to the Commonweal archives at the International Institute of Social History will provide background on contributors and offer insight into editorial decisions about which poems to include in the paper."
2006: Anna Matyukhina: Anna is the curator of the Acquisitions Department of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and a specialist in the history of tapestry weaving who is currently completing a Ph.D. in art history at St. Petersburg State University on "The Traditions of Medieval Tapestry Weaving and the Tapestry Revival: William Morris." Anna gave a talk on "William Morris and Tapestry Weaving: The View from Russia" at the Morris in the 21st Century Conference in London last July. She has also contributed material in Russian to the Morris Society web site, and her article on "The Adoration Tapestry" appeared in the Society's January 2006 Newsletter. As a teacher of English to art history students, she introduces Morris's writings in her classes and has planned a new half-year course on Morris to be taught in the fall. The award will enable her to conduct dissertation research on Morris and Co. tapestries in Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham.
2005: Piers J. Hale: Piers received his doctorate from the Department of History at Lancaster University, England in 2003. In his thesis, entitled For Ecosocialism: Re-reading William Morris, Robert Blatchford and Edward Carpenter on Labour, Nature and Embodiment, 1884-1900, he examined nineteenth-century socialist conceptions of the relationship between sustainability and justice. Piers is currently engaged in post-doctoral research at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches classes in ethics and in the history of science. On learning of his nomination, Piers wrote: "I would like to express my gratitude to the William Morris Society and to Mrs. Dunlap in particular for the generous award you have given me under the Jospeh R. Dunlap Memorial Fellowship. I am honoured to be one of the Dunlap Memorial Scholars for the coming year and shall endeavour to extend our knowledge of Morris with my research. William Morris remains a central figure in my research into the relationships among socialism, biology and the environment. Throughout the nineteenth century, concepts of biological development profoundly influenced contemporary theories of social change. This was never more so than in the decades following the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) in which he first presented his theory of evolution by natural selection. Throughout the 1880s, people with a range of political commitments attempted to naturalise their own politics in light of evolution—amongst them were the eminent liberal scientist (and "Darwin's Bulldog") Thomas Henry Huxley, the revolutionary socialist Karl Marx, and the Russian-born anarchist and geographer Peter Kropotkin. I want to argue that Morris also entered the fray, and, indeed, that it is only in this light that we can get a full appreciation of his theory of socialism and social change. Beyond the immediate interest that the fruits of this perspective will have for Morris scholars, I believe that this research will also help to gain acknowledgement of Morris as a significant figure in this period of the history of science."
2004: no award
2003: no award
2002: no award
2001: Philip E. Chase, a Ph.D. candidate in English at Drew University. Chase's thesis, "William Morris and Germanic Legend: A Communal Ideal," considered how Morris's exposure to certain kinds of Teutonic literature, particularly the Icelandic sagas, helped him to move from "conservative radicalism" to "egalitarian socialism." Concentrating on Morris's creation of a "communal ideal through German Philology" through his Icelandic translations, Chase used the funds for travel to study Morris's manuscripts in various collections. He expected that the stipend would give him the opportunity to travel to Britain to examine materials in the British library and to work with Dr. Andrew Wawn of the University of Leeds, author of The Vikings and the Victorians.
2000: Peter Hoffenberg, Assistant Professor of History, University of Hawaii, to help defray airfare and other expenses for the "Morris 2000" conference in Toronto, where he delivered a paper, "Socialist? Orientalist? Imperialist? William Morris and the 'Eastern' Question of Indian Art."
2000: April Oettinger, Ph.D. candidate in art history, University of Virginia, for research on the impact of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499) on Morris and Burne-Jones, specifically to underwrite travel to the Houghton Library, Harvard University, to examine Morris's own copy of the book. In 2001, April reported that she would be a research fellow at the Warburg Institute in London in January 2001, and gave give a seminar there on the 19th-century "afterlife" of the book. In October 2001, she delivered a paper in Toronto entitled "William Morris' Hypnerotomachia Poliphili" at the Renaissance in the 19th Century conference. The fellowship made this travel, and the research behind it, possible, and April sends "many thanks again to the Society for giving me this opportunity."
1999: Carolyn Adele Gardner, writer and independent scholar, to assist with a book she was writing on Morris. The funds specifically helped to cover the cost of attending the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Ft. Lauderdale, FL (17-20 Mar 1999), where she delivered a paper on "The Maid in the Wood and the Lady in Green: Female Power and Self-Realization in William Morris's Later Prose Romances."
1999: Thomas J. Tobin of Duquesne University, for research connected with the Morris portion of his Ph.D. thesis, "The Pre-Raphaelite Critic: A Comprehensive Edition of Periodical Criticism of the Pre-Raphaelites." He uses the fellowship to travel to archives at Harvard and Yale and to format and post materials on his web site, The Pre-Raphaelite Critic. In 2000, Tom thanked the Society, reporting that his dissertation had been completed, and that the fellowship award has allowed him to post the full text of many heretofore-lost periodical sources related to Morris and Pre-Raphaelitism on his web site at Pre-Raphaelite Critic. He is thankful for the assistance the Society has given him, and intends to continue to serve the Society as a member of it s ogverning committee and as its webmaster.
1998: Shannon L. Rogers, a Ph.D. student in Modern European History at Pennsylvania State University. Her dissertation, entitled New Wine in Old Bottles: Making Popular History in Nineteenth Century Britain, explores the relationship between historical fiction and popular notions of history. Shannon has been examining the books read by "historical" authors, including Morris, in order to evaluate the veracity of their fictional accounts of the past. This has led her to an ancillary project—an inventory of William Morris's library. Since she has already gathered information on Morris's library available in the United States, Rogers's next step is to pursue archival records found only in Britain, specifically Sydney Cockerell's unpublished diaries, held by the British Library. The Society is pleased to help fund this endeavor and looks forward to the finished catalogue, which should be of infinite use to Morris scholars. In 1999, Shannon sent the following report on her project-in-progress, a comprehensive catalogue of William Morris's library: "I have spent the past year collecting all the bits and pieces of lists of Morris's books from the Pierpont Morgan Library, Yale, and the British Library. During a recent trip to the UK, in part funded by the Society's grant, I had copies made of several microfilmed manuscript lists and the relevant diaries of Sydney Cockerell."
1997: Regina Hansen described her "Report Progress on Wood Beyond the World Video" in 1998 as follows: "Due to the October 1st birth of my son Dominic, completion of 'The Wood Beyond the World' video has been postponed to June of 1998. Script, puppets and sets for the production have been completed, as has the recording of the dialogue and videotaping of all interior scenes. Still to be taped are scenes involving the harbor of Langton-on-Holm and all scenes taking place within the actual 'Wood.' These will be finished by late January. The editing process will begin in early March. Visual artist Michele Hansen—my sister—has produced a contrast between Walter's world and the enchanted, lush and over-abundant Wood to which he travels. Michele has cast Langton-on-Holm in the neutral colors and simple lines of Morris's beloved Iceland, while using Pre-Raphaelite paintings and Morris's own designs to create the Wood and its denizens. The female characters are straight out of Rossetti and Burne-Jones while Walter and his father are bearded, simply-clad Norsemen. In adapting Morris's story to video, I have made some necessary changes. Although I have not eliminated Walter's romantic escapades, the sexuality has been toned down for a general audience. Let's call it 'PG' rather than 'PG-13.' At the same time I have streamlined the plot, bidding farewell (with a sigh) to both the Bear-Folk and the city of Starkwall. I would like to thank Michele Hansen, voice artists Matt Gage and Kate Burr, technicians Rich Howley and Tom Miller, and composer Milton Gurin for their work. Special thanks to the Morris Society in the U.S. for much needed funding."
1996: Chatham Ewing: in 1996, Chatham Ewing was a graduate student in English at New York University. His William Morris Society Fellowship was used toward producing an electronic facsimile of the Kelmscott Chaucer which aims to combine the best features of a visual facsimile with those of a critical edition complete with essays and bibliographies. In 1997, he wrote to us to report: "The Society gave initial funding to my project which entailed producing a facsimile of the Kelmscott Chaucer for the World Wide Web and possibly CD-ROM. The first portion of the project is now complete and is available for viewing on the Fales Library web page (for the address send e-mail to Chatham Ewing at email@example.com). Essentially, this project is a look at how authentic a reproduction the digital medium can produce, and what the benefits of such translation could be. Work on a prototype—a version of Gothic Architecture, printed by the Kelmscott Press in 1893—shows that digital editions could easily and rather inexpensively serve as adjuncts to the actual text in a rare book room, by simultaneously increasing access (through either CD or WWW technology) and preserving the materials from unnecessary handling. However, the best digital photographic facsimile fails to capture what some would mundanely call useful information, and what Walter Benjamin might rather more poetically call the 'aura' of a book. The historical reality of a unique object provides us with a window into the past which can't completely find its way onto a computer screen."
1996: Kevin Melchione received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His dissertation in aesthetics was entitled "Cultivation: Art and Aesthetics in Everyday Life" and his work on Morris was part of a larger project examining the role of craft in contemporary culture. In 1997, he reported that "my project is a critical reconstruction of the theory of craftsmanship spawned by Ruskin and Morris and underwriting the contemporary studio crafts movement. In contrast to other modernist disciplines like painting and sculpture, which have re-invented themselves many times over, the modern studio crafts are marked by a continued commitment to the views formulated at their inception in the late nineteenth century. In other traditions, ideological shifts accompany stylistic shifts; an important part of writing the history of these disciplines is coming to terms with the relationship between what is said and what is done. The curious anomaly of the studio crafts is that, despite stylistic changes, assumptions about the nature of handwork, craftsmanship, mechanical production, and the history of the decorative arts have been handed down with little revision. These assumptions have congealed into what I call the 'folk wisdom' of the studio crafts. The wholesome ring of this folk wisdom, along with its vagueness, has hampered serious consideration of the most ambitious and problematic claims of the modern Studio Crafts movement. I am attempting to bring crafts criticism beyond this folk wisdom by isolating the legitimate moral and aesthetic values in Morris's thought, separating them from the vague truisms that have plagued discussions of artisanal work in the industrial era."
In 2005, the Society initiated the William Morris Society Award to support further creative and academic work that helps to spread the ideas and ideals of William Morris to a wider public.
2014 Balázs Keresztes, Handcrafted Humanities? Why William Morris is Needed in the 21st Century
The 2014 award is to Balázs Keresztes, a Master of Arts graduate from Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary), for his work in translating a selection of Morris’ essays and lectures into Hungarian. Mr Keresztes describes his project as follows:
"Apart from translating some of Morris’s key essays, I take him as a central figure of my thesis (which has now grown into a dissertation project). What I am focusing on is how the essentially material perspective of his work (seeing the book as a ‘palpable object’, perceiving physical labor as a source of ‘bodily pleasure’, and approaching architecture from the side of its materials rather than its so-called styles) enables us to see him as a figure operating within a discursive framework completely different from that of nineteenth-century Romanticism. This common ground of materiality makes the various aspects of his life work compatible with each other, and makes his whole life work compatible with various trends and topics of today’s humanities, ranging from material culture studies to the study of the everyday, from material philology to media studies.
I firmly believe that rethinking the heritage of someone who so strongly emphasized the practical and material aspects of both his fields of interest and the way he dealt with them, possesses a potential for the humanities which is shifting from its primarily theoretical position towards a more practical, more material- and object-oriented one.
With the help of the William Morris Society Award I am editing a volume to introduce the argumentative legacy of Morris to the Hungarian reading public. The book will present a selection of Morris’ essays in my translation, accompanied by a shortened and more introductory version of my thesis on Morris. I hope that making writings of Morris available in Hungarian with an introduction that highlights his relevance for the humanities at its current state would inspire Hungarian literary and cultural critics to turn their attention toward his work."
2013: No award.
Clara Finley. The recipient of the 2011 William Morris Society Award writes:
With the generous help of the William Morris Society, I'm writing a brief and accessible biography of Morris. Each chapter of the book will begin with an image of one of the gorgeous objects he designed or created. Whether a chair, textile, or book, each image will provide a loose theme for the chapter that follows it. Through the visual attractions of Morris's art, I hope to draw casual readers into the story of his life. The idea for the book came from the way in which I first "met" Morris, years ago in a small college library. While browsing, I spotted a beautifully patterned spine. The title meant nothing to me: William Morris: His Life, Work and Friends. I began to read, and found myself drawn into the world of this intense Victorian who dreamed himself into the thirteenth century. At that time my friend and I had an art print hung on our wall: a painting of a woman, sensual and glowering, with a pomegranate in her hand. My friend had bought it at a garage sale; we had no idea who had painted it. As I sat, flipping through the library book, my eyes fell upon a photograph of a woman with a tall tuft of hair and a strong neck. This was unmistakably the woman from the painting. It gave me an eerie thrill to see its model come to life on the page, and to learn her name: Jane Morris.
Now that I know more, I know that Jane Morris herself, in my position, might have considered attending a séance, to find out what the woman in the painting wanted from her. However, I'm not nearly as imaginative as she was. I thought instead of all the flowers and Victoriana in modern advertising, and how they guided
my hand to select Morris's book, just as they drove my friend to pick Rossetti's painting of Jane.
We have all been bitten by the Victorian bug. It's the perfect time for this kind of project. Once drawn in, readers will find Morris's personal relationships at the heart of the book, and they will witness his lifelong battle against ugliness of all kinds. His poetry, design, handicrafts, socialism, and activism will be cast as different attempts at the same goal: to beautify a society he saw as polluted, unjust and lacking in art.
I'm very grateful to the William Morris Society for this award. It will contribute much to the success of this project, by helping me to visit archives and galleries in England.
2010: No award
2009: No award
2008: Abbie N. Sprague: A graduate of Bucknell University and Sotheby's Institute of Art (M.A.), who has served as a curatorial assistant at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Ms. Sprague was completing a dissertation at Cambridge University on "Painting in the Arts and Crafts Movement." Her award was used to help illustrate an article on painters in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, published in the British Art Journal (Winter 2009). She describes her article, "Brushes, Palettes, Smocks and Mahl Sticks: Painting in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society," thus:
The Royal Academy, from its inception, perpetuated a belief in high and low art. Exclusive, hierarchical, and restricted to promoting and cultivating the fine arts, the Academy embodied principles antithetical to those embraced by the arts and crafts movement. William Morris voiced the concerns of many craftsmen who saw the ever-growing separation of the arts, when he wrote, "when they are so parted, it is ill for the Arts altogether." Foreseeing that the intransigent Academy was unlikely to reform, craftsmen established their own guilds and societies to promote their philosophies and works of art. Their aim was to unify the arts. The establishment of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1888 provided a place where craftsmen from diverse disciplines could converse, collaborate, and exhibit their works.
Distracted by the movement's novel aims, past arts and crafts scholars have focused their research on the applied and decorative arts; in turn, the fine arts were neglected. Painters were denied a place alongside their fellow artisans and unduly excluded from arts and crafts assessments. However, painters were like-minded craftsmen: they ground their pigments; designed, carved and gilded their frames; and integrated the arts by transferring their skills to the applied and decorative arts. This article intends to rectify painters' neglect by examining the membership, imagery, and exhibited works of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society between 1888 and 1916.
In the eyes of the arts and crafts artisans, there was no distinction between the high and low arts. The arts were equal without hierarchy; "none was before or after the other, none was greater or less than another." Painting was no exception and, as this article intends to demonstrate, painters were an integral part of the arts and crafts movement.
2007: Holly Dworken Cooley: After receiving her Ph.D. in English literature from Case Western Reserve University in 1988, for many years Ms. Cooley taught Victorian literature and writing at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford and Rio Salado College in Phoneix, Arizona. Now residing in Florida, she is the editor of Goblinmarket/, an electronic journal for children's literature, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Ms. Cooley describes her project:
As I envision it, the child-friendly art to accompany the text will illustrate the connection between childhood and later life: for example, a young Morris studying the patterns of leaves and flowers, and then an older Morris working similar patterns into a tapestry. I also see examples of Morris designs in different mediums included throughout the text, to introduce young readers to his distinctive designs. A brief list of Resources at the end will include selected works written by and about Morris, as well as internet sites, including The William Morris Society website. Too, I intend to include a list of places in both the United Kingdom and the United States that can be visited to see examples of his paintings and interiors. I would like to convey a sense of the genius involved in looking at all aspects of life as art and in pursuing art in as many different areas as Morris did. Children, I suspect, will find the range of his interests and accomplishments just as intriguing as older audiences always do.
2006: no award
2005: Ignacio Zulueta lives and writes in Oakland, California. He is a graduate of Brown University's playwriting program, the proud author of two award-winning plays. Mr. Zulueta is a 2005 Tournesol Playwriting Resident at San Francisco's Z Space Studios. "Red House" is a full-length play about the entangled affairs of William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti- told entirely from the perspective of Georgiana Burne-Jones, the self-effacing biographer of her husband and his circle. In the staid and class-obsessed Victorian era, their art was unheralded in its embrace of egalitarian spirituality, rural anachronism, and tragic romance. But what is splendid on canvas can verge on the sordid when attempted in the real world: one by one, the lives of the Pre-Raphaelites became suffused with the same ill-starred tragedy that permeated their works. The playchronicles Georgiana's rapprochement with these long suppressed betrayals. Though devoted to the legacy of her departed friends, Georgiana struggles to reconcile herself to their failings and human weaknesses. Grappling with vivid memories that make her widowed life seem shadowy by comparison, Georgiana finds herself caught in the paradox of reliving her past while simultaneously destroying it.