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Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

Ezra Greenspan, 2019-2020 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow


Date: 5:30pm EDT October 15

Welcome te Starr Center’s Patrick Henry Fellow Ezra Greenspan as he delivers an illustrated talk about his half century career as a student, professor, and writer.

Ezra Greenspan is a literary and cultural historian who studies and teaches the history of written communications and media in the United States - from manuscript and print to digitalia.  His interests include the history of writing, printing, and publishing; of institutions of letters such as libraries and schools; of the interplay between letters and visual images; of archives and archiving; and of the historic uses of written communications, especially by ethnic groups such as African Americans and Jews. 

He will also discuss his current research, a multigenerational family biography titled Frederick Douglass’ People: A Family Biography. “It recounts the life of Frederick Douglass in relation to the lives of his relatives—ancestors, siblings, cousins, wives, children, and grandchildren,” he said.

Greenspan’s interests underlie his practice of writing biography. His most recent book, William Wells Brown: An African American life, was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle award for biography and for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize. In addition to his work as a biographer, Greenspan is the former chair of the English Department at Southern Methodist University and the founder of its Ph.D. program. As the Patrick Henry Fellow, Greenspan will conduct a student workshop titled “Life Writing on the Eastern Shore.” The course, will integrate the reading, researching, and writing of biography.

Reception to follow.