Books & Giving
Lasseter Edits Book on Rebecca Harding Davis
Nineteenth-century fiction writer and journalist Rebecca
Harding Davis produced more than 500 published works during
her 50-year career. Best known for her 1861 novella, Life
in the Iron Mills, she began writing in a style later
known as literary realism a full 20 years before its generally
accepted beginning in the 1880s.
A new book on Davis, co-edited by Samford University English
professor Janice Milner Lasseter, sheds light on the writer's
career as an early Realist and nineteenth-century cultural
commentator. Rebecca Harding Davis: Writing Cultural Autobiography,
published recently by Vanderbilt University Press, combines
an annotated edition of Davis' 1904 autobiography, Bits
of Gossip, with a previously unpublished Davis family
Sharon M. Harris of Texas Christian University was co-editor
with Dr. Lasseter.
Davis' memoirs are not traditional autobiography. Rather, she shares
her perspectives on the extraordinary cultural changes that occurred
during her lifetime and the people--sometimes scandalous--who shaped
those events. She includes portraits of famous people she knew,
such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott,
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Horace Greeley and others.
Together, the annotated memoir and family history provide a view
of nineteenth-century American culture from an observer who wrote
about it for half a century. Davis was born in 1831 and died in
1910. During her lengthy career, she produced short stories, novels,
novellas, sketches and social commentary.
Her son, Richard Harding Davis, followed in her footsteps as a
writer, gaining fame as a war correspondent and producer of fiction
and non-fiction during the late nineteenth- and early twentieth
Lasseter is a nineteenth-century specialist and former chair of
the Samford English department. She has written widely on Davis,
including the chapter, "Hawthorne's Legacy to Rebecca Harding
Davis" in the book, Hawthorne and Women.
Samford Receives Lilly Grant for Program Relating Faith to Vocations
Samford University received a $49,072 grant from Lilly Endowment
Inc. of Indianapolis, Ind., to develop a program that helps students
examine the relationship between their faith and vocational choices.
The program will provide opportunities for students to explore
Christian ministry as a vocation, and will enhance the capacity
of faculty and staff to teach and mentor students in this area.
Samford was one of 50 church-related schools awarded such planning
grants of more than 300 applicants nationally. The program is designed
"to identify and nurture a new generation of highly talented
and religiously committed leaders of church and society," according
to the endowment.
The grant will enable Samford to coordinate the efforts of various
programs and departments into an overall strategy for helping students
relate their faith to their choice of vocation.
Plant an Endowment Tree . . . and Reap Its Dividend
Establishing an endowment fund at Samford University is like planting
a tree. It results in:
- Annual Harvests. Endowment earnings produce "acorns"
every year for Samford, which can grow in the form of scholarships
and other benefits for students.
- Steady Growth. Only a portion of the earnings is spent each
year. The remainder is added back to grow the fund for even greater
use the following year and beyond.
- Positive Results. Endowment funds make it possible for Samford
to continue its mission of "nurturing persons, for God, for
You can plant an endowment tree at Samford and name it after a
loved one, a person who has influenced you in a significant way
or yourself. Your tree will yield annual endowment harvests that
will provide positive results for generations to come.
Samford Director of Gift and Estate Planning Stan Davis is available
to explain the steps and help you through the process of creating
an endowment. You may contact him by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phoning (205) 726-2366.