August 18, 2015

SVSU creates graduate fellowship for study of Fredericks, Follett, Roethke

Saginaw Valley State University will welcome scholars to study the art and literature of three renowned figures through a newly established program, the Fredericks-Follett-Roethke Graduate Fellowship in the Arts & Humanities.

SVSU is home to archival collections of popular British author Ken Follett; the late Michigan sculptor Marshall Fredericks; and the late poet Theodore Roethke, a Saginaw native.

“We are fortunate to have these incredibly rich resources at SVSU, and we don’t want them sitting idle,” said Deb Huntley, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We want to see them used and studied. Through the work of the scholars selected for the fellowship, over time we should gain a deeper understanding of these artists and their legacies, what inspired them, and how they applied their craft.”

Scholars selected for the residency will be graduate students who conduct original research on the works of one or more of the individuals whose collections are housed at SVSU. They are expected to share their findings publicly through a conference paper, published article in a scholarly journal, or other appropriate outlet.

The first recipient of the fellowship is Nick Hartigan, a fifth-year doctoral student at the University of Michigan who specializes in the study of 20th-century sculpture, particularly the period 1965 to 1995. He will conduct a research residency at SVSU during the summer of 2016.

Hartigan’s research will focus on the works and career of Marshall Fredericks, but he also will be introduced to the writings and materials of Follett and Roethke.

In addition to conducting research, Hartigan will speak to SVSU students as a guest lecturer in multiple classes during his residency.

SVSU is home to the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. Named for the preeminent 20th-century American figurative sculptor who spent most of his career in Michigan, his well-known public works include “The Spirit of Detroit” and the “Cleveland War Memorial: Fountain of Eternal Life.” Fredericks’ collection includes some 200 pieces; few American sculptors have given their entire collection to one institution.

The Fredericks Archives at SVSU were established in 2005, following receipt of the sculptor's business and personal records, and span the 70 years of Fredericks' career from 1928 to 1998. Materials include personal, foreign ministry, and general correspondence as well as special letters and cards received by Fredericks; photographs relating to Frederick's teaching career, projects, civic activities, and personal life; project files, media articles, journals, clippings and books about Fredericks and his work; and numerous other resources.

The Follett Archives at SVSU provide interesting insight into the writing process employed by international best-selling author Ken Follett, and are considered to be the largest collection of such materials in the world. His wide-ranging works include the spy thriller “Eye of the Needle” (1978) and medieval historical fiction such as “World Without End” (2007).  

Follett’s archives at SVSU were initiated in 2000, with the author's gift of his business correspondence, drafts, working notes, handwritten outlines, unproduced screenplays and interview notes. These mostly unpublished working documents relate primarily to Follett's novels and creative works written between 1978 and 2007. Also included in the archives are an extensive collection of his published books, including long-out-of-print novels and children's books published pseudonymously, anthologized short stories, first editions, and a selection of his novels translated into foreign languages.  

Theodore Roethke, arguably Saginaw's most famous native son, is considered one of the most influential American poets of the 20th century.  His nine books of poetry and other writings earned him every major award available to an American poet, including two National Book Awards and the Pulitzer Prize.  In 2005, Roethke's widow, Beatrice Roethke Lushington, enhanced the existing Theodore Roethke Collection at SVSU through the donation of her personal collection of first editions of her husband's work and ten books of literary criticism about Roethke.

Other materials in the Roethke Collection include extensive files related to the Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize from its establishment in 1968 through 2014. The Theodore Roethke Home Museum, located off-campus in Saginaw, serves as an additional resource and is maintained by the Friends of Theodore Roethke, an organization which donated numerous documents to the Roethke Collection at SVSU.

Saginaw Valley State University is a comprehensive university with more than 90 programs of study for its nearly10,000 students. Located on a suburban campus in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region, SVSU is committed to quality teaching in the classroom, field-based learning, leadership in STEM education (science, technology, engineering, math), NCAA Division II athletics and a broad range of academic and extracurricular opportunities for students to excel.