Dr. Eric D. Lamore has received numerous academic awards and fellowships for his current research project, a critical edition of the Quaker Abigail Field Mott’s 1829 Life and Adventures of Olaudah Equiano.
With fully funded travels to the US and England planned for this summer and next summer, Dr. Lamore will conduct archival research at a variety of locations. These appointments and fellowships include the following:
- A 2019 Summer Scholar-in-Residence appointment through the Faculty Resource Network at New York University (NYU);
- A 2019 Reese Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society (Worcester, Massachusetts);
- The 2019 Reese Fellowship for American Bibliography and the History of the Book in the Americas from The Bibliographical Society of America;
- A One-Month Fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania);
- A 2019 Eccles Centre for American Studies Visiting Fellow appointment at the British Library (London, England);
- A 2019 Gest Fellowship at Haverford College (Haverford, Pennsylvania); and,
- A 2019-2020 Short-Term Fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a part of the New York Public Library.
Additionally, Lamore was selected to participate in the 48th Annual Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents sponsored by The Association of Documentary Editing and funded by The National Historical Publications and Records Commission. This Institute will take place this June on the campus of Princeton University. “As a participant of the Institute, I will learn more about editorial methods and other skills that will help me finish my critical edition of Mott’s 1829 book,” shared Dr. Lamore in a written interview.
All these fellowships, awards, and travel opportunities will provide Dr. Lamore with the resources and time needed to conduct his research on nineteenth-century Quakers, nineteenth-century print culture, the New York African Free School, and Mott. This research project is focused on Mott’s 1829 abridged, posthumous, and unauthorized edition of Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative, a best-selling autobiography first published in London in 1789. With his autobiography, Equiano helped eradicate the transatlantic slave trade and institution of slavery in Great Britain and its colonies.
“The nature of the work involves comparing all the extant copies of Abigail Field Mott’s edition to see if there was any variation in the way the text was printed,” explained Lamore. After the research and comparison, he seeks to establish a copy-text and annotate the text by providing notes that anchor the twenty-first-century reader in the contexts in which the text was produced, disseminated, and read.
My work specifically focuses on why Equiano’s Interesting Narrative remained relevant in the nineteenth-century United States, while the autobiography was not necessarily read or reprinted regularly in Great Britain. I’m especially interested in the circulation of early black Atlantic books and the transatlantic print networks that ensured these books continued to remain relevant in new contexts.
For his 2019 Gest Fellowship, Dr. Lamore will study the extant letters written by and to Abigail Field Mott and her husband, Richard Mott, that are in Haverford College’s Quaker and Special Collections. He also plans to engage in archival work by locating and studying all books edited, co-written, and written by Mott. Lamore will transcribe relevant archival documents for the appendix of his edition.
With this critical edition, Lamore seeks to convince scholars and students that studying unauthorized, posthumous, and abridged editions of early black Atlantic books yields new discoveries on the circulation and consumption of these texts.
Truly new insights on early black Atlantic books and lives emerge when we take these editions that have been traditionally ignored more seriously. I hope to establish that Mott’s editing of Equiano’s life and autobiography helps scholars and students have more nuanced conversations on the relationships between citizenship, education, and resettlement in the United States during the early nineteenth century.
When asked what he is most looking forward to about this summer, Lamore shared his excitement for visiting several libraries in the United States and learning from the individuals he’ll meet. “These individuals include literary scholars, archivists, and documentary editors,” shared the Professor of English. “I am eager to see and study a number of rare manuscripts at these libraries…[and] I look very much forward to starting this academic work.”