Thursday, October 23, 2008

On Leo Lemay

J.A. Leo Lemay, Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Professor of English at the University of Delaware, died on 15 October. He was 73. Lemay was a versatile author, whose books included Robert Bolling Woos Anne Miller, The American Dream of Captain John Smith, Did Pocahontas Save Captain John Smith?, "New England's Annoyances": America's First Folk Song, A Calendar of American Poetry in the Colonial Newspapers and Magazines and in the Major English Magazines Through 1765, Men of Letters in Colonial Maryland, and the first three of a projected seven volumes of a literary biography of Benjamin Franklin (the third volume of which was published earlier this month). He also edited the Library of America's great two-volume collection of Franklin's writings.

Even beyond the books, Lemay's Franklin website is well known as a tremendously useful resource about Franklin's life.

Lemay was a key figure in the development of the field of early American studies, and was very much involved with the creation of the excellent journal Early American Literature and the formation of the Society of Early Americanists.

The SEA has set up a page of testimonials by way of memorial to Professor Lemay, and the University of Delaware also has posted a memorial page.

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