Founded by a small group of scholars in 1977 under the leadership of English Professor
Lawrence Poston of the University of Illinois-Chicago, the Midwest Victorian Studies
Association has flourished for over thirty years. MVSA now has a roll of about 200
members from more than 100 colleges and universities throughout the Midwest and
beyond. Dedicated to multidisciplinary study of the Victorian Period in Britain, MVSA's
membership is comprised primarily of teachers, scholars, and students of history,
literature, art history, music, philosophy, and religion--specialists and generalists alike.
Over the years, MVSA's principal purpose has been to foster new understandings and
appreciations of the Victorians by hosting an annual conference and by otherwise
encouraging and facilitating scholarly exchange, collaboration, and publication. The
conference combines panels of presenters with keynote speakers, meals, and
entertainments, which range from musical performances to a complete Victorian ball.
In addition to organizing a Victorian studies conference each year, the MVSA maintains this
Web site and a Facebook page, providing valuable ways and means for members to share
ideas and information and to keep current with each other's work. Committed to the
support of graduate research in Victorian studies, MVSA funds a dissertation research
award that is presented each spring at the annual meeting. The first-book prize, awarded
in 2008 (to Ivan Kreilkamp of Indiana University) and 2009 (to William McKelvy of
Washington University-St. Louis), recognized outstanding work by newer scholars in the
field of Victorian studies.