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Biographies of the Esteemed Presenters


CATHLIN DAVIS - CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-STANISLAUS

Cathlin first read Little Women when she was 11 years old, and she hasn't stopped reading Alcott since. She received her BA in English from Oberlin College, and her MA and PhD in Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Cathlin’s specialty is Alcott’s juvenile fiction, and she is currently at work on an anthology of Alcott’s short stories which will bring to modern readers many tales not published in over a century. Her concordant passion is assisting educators and students in understanding how to use historical materials to learn about the past; this is her third year participating in our Series and Teacher Institute.


SARAH ELBERT - STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK-BINGHAMTON

A Professor of History and Women’s Studies, Sarah read Little Women as a young girl in the post-World War II era, and re-read it as a graduate student at Cornell University. This led not only to her dissertation, but her seminal work, A Hunger for Home: Louisa May Alcott’s Place in American Culture. Sarah has authored/edited three books and numerous articles on Alcott and other 19th Century women authors, and has maintained a strong interest in researching rural women’s lives, the history of women’s education, and the nature of sex and race relations. She is a frequent presenter at the Summer Conversational Series, and resides in Ithaca, New York.


JOHN MATTESON - JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

An Associate Professor of English in New York City and litigation attorney, John received his BA in History from Princeton, a PhD in English from Columbia, and a law degree from Harvard. John currently teaches literature and legal writing, and has published articles and book chapters on a variety of 19th Century Americans, including Herman Melville, William James, and Louisa May Alcott. His first full-length book, Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father, will be published by W. W. Norton & Company in August 2007. (NOTE: Advance copies of Eden’s Outcasts … will be available for purchase and signing at the Summer Conversational Series!)


JOEL MYERSON - UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA-COLUMBIA

A Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Research Professor, Joel’s specializations include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, textual editing, and biographical studies. With Madeleine Stern and Daniel Shealy, he co-edited The Selected Letters of Louisa May Alcott, The Journals of Louisa May Alcott, and, with Daniel, brought to light The Inheritance, Miss Alcott’s first novel, in 1997. Joel has been highly praised and recognized for his scholarship in 19th Century American Literature, and participates in conferences around the world. He is also currently serving as Inaugural President of The Louisa May Alcott Society.


SANDY PETRULIONIS - PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY-ALTOONA
An Associate Professor of English and American Studies, Sandy is author of the recently published To Set This World Right: The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau's Concord. In addition to articles on Louisa May Alcott, Henry Thoreau, Herman Melville, and other 19th Century American authors, she is the editor of Thoreau's Journal 8: 1854 and, with Laura Dassow Walls, co-editor of More Day to Dawn: Thoreau's Walden for the Twenty-First Century. Her current research includes a textual edition, in collaboration with Noelle Baker and Phyllis Cole, of The Almanack of Mary Moody Emerson and, with Joel Myerson and Laura Dassow Walls, The Oxford Guide to Transcendentalism. Sandy is also currently serving as Inaugural Treasurer of The Louisa May Alcott Society.


DANIEL SHEALY - UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA-CHARLOTTE
A Professor of English at University of North Carolina-Charlotte with a specialization in 19th Century American Literature, Daniel is author/editor of ten books on Louisa May Alcott, including the recently published Alcott - In Her Own Time. With Madeleine Stern and Daniel Shealy, he co-edited The Selected Letters of Louisa May Alcott, The Journals of Louisa May Alcott, and, with Joel, brought to light The Inheritance, Miss Alcott’s first novel, in 1997. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his new book, Shawl-Straps and Sisterhood: Louisa and May Alcott in Europe, and resides in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.


MARY LAMB SHELDEN - NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY

A Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Women’s Studies and NIU’s External Credit Programs Coordinator, Mary’s dissertation, Novel Habits for a New World, surveyed cross-dressing in 19th Century American novels, tracing the tradition back to European American, Native American, and African-American literary and folkloric origins. She has contributed the gender entry for The Louisa May Alcott Encyclopedia, cross-dressing entries for An Encyclopedia of African-American Literature and American History Through Literature 1820-1870, was assistant editor of The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, and has reviewed Alcott works for Children’s Literature. Mary is also currently serving as Inaugural Secretary for The Louisa May Alcott Society.


LISA STEPANSKI - EMMANUEL COLLEGE
Associate Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at Emmanuel, and also on the faculty of Boston College’s Wood College of Advancing Studies, Lisa received her BA and MA from Boston College, and PhD from the University of New Hampshire. Her dissertation, There is No School Like the Family School: Literacy, Motherteaching, and the Alcott Family, underscores her specialization in literacy, family, and education. Lisa has presented at numerous workshops and educational series, including past Summer Conversational Series, American Literature Association sessions, and the recent Girl Sleuths Conference. She is currently at work on her first book.

 

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