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Winner of the 2022 EDIS Graduate Student Fellowship: Cheryl Weaver

Winner of the 2022 EDIS Graduate Student Fellowship: Cheryl Weaver
Cheryl Weaver is completing her dissertation at the University at Buffalo on nineteenth-century American women's letters, with a concentration on Emily Dickinson’s epistolary network of young women. She has presented on her work at The Epistolary Research Network conference and will be presenting on Margaret Fuller’s letters at the Thoreau Society Gathering.

Project description:
Emily Dickinson’s Epistolary Network: Women’s Friendships in Antebellum New England and Abroad
This dissertation analyzes the letter-writing practices of young women educated in New England during the 1840s and 1850s, a time when young women’s epistolary friendship networks flourished due to a more economically accessible and geographically expansive postal service. Dickinson, her Amherst Academy “circle of five,” Emily Fowler Ford, and Helen Hunt Jackson are the focus of my epistolary analysis. These correspondences provide a representative view not only of women’s approaches to epistolary rhetoric and pragmatic matters associated with letter writing, but also Dickinson’s conformity to these practices. My research adds to current scholarship through focusing on Dickinson’s early letters, often overlooked or treated as incidental juvenilia, in conjunction with the nation’s formative years as evidence of changing postal practices and Dickinson’s conventional adherence to postal norms.