With its rigorous yet caring faculty and its collegial graduate community, the University of Pennsylvania English Department offered a valuable model of scholarly commitment. It is typical of Penn that I now think of my dissertation readers, Houston Baker and Nancy Bentley, as good friends as well as mentors. I am also thankful to Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Chris Looby, Herman Beavers, Wendy Steiner, Farah Griffin, Charlotte Pierce Baker, Peter Stallybrass, and Jim English. Penn alums Teresa Goddu, Stephen Best, Stephanie Camp, Marc Stein, Kendall Johnson, Giselle Anatol, Tony Viego, Rhonda Frederick, Crystal Lucky, Melissa Homestead, Leigh Edwards, Jeremy Braddock, Hester Blum, and Martha Schoolman have become valued colleagues and fellow travelers. On my path to Penn and this book, I benefited immeasurably from the guidance of my undergraduate and master's thesis advisors: to this day, I hear the voice of G. Moses Nkondo whenever I read Frederick Douglass's Narrative; through his writing, his teaching, and his personal example, Ngugi wa Thiong'o taught me the power of documentary literature.
Philadelphia will always be home. Not surprisingly, then, it was at the Library Company of Philadelphia that this book first began to take shape. Thanks to Phil Lapsansky (for sharing his own research, his support, and his Reese's Pieces); to Jim Green (for his good-natured friendship); and to Connie King (for tracking down lost sources). I will always find a way back to the LCP, but a Mellon Fellowship in American History and Culture and a Faculty Research Fellowship from the University of Puget Sound made it much easier to do so.
Worcester may not be home, but it's a surprisingly nice place to visit, thanks to the wonderful people one always finds at the American Antiquarian Society. John Hench will be sorely missed, but I look forward to tea and conversation with Caroline Sloat and lovely evenings in the garden with Joanne