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. Our annual 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 website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter handle, providing valuable ways and means for members to share ideas and information and to keep current with each other’s work.

2014 Conference, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, “Victorian Violence”

Every year, the conference invites a distinguished speaker to be the Jane Stedman Lecturer. Jane Stedman (1921-2003), a professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago for about 40 years and a long-time member of MVSA, was a scholar with wide-ranging interests. She wrote a biography of William Schwenck Gilbert, entitled W. S. Gilbert, A Classic Victorian & His Theatre (Oxford, 1996) and two other books on Gilbert, one on his theatrical criticism (2000) and one entitled Gilbert Before Sullivan (Chicago, 1967). She also wrote many interdisciplinary and provocative articles, such as an essay on Charlotte Brontë and Thomas Bewick’s illustrated natural history study, British Birds, an interdisciplinary essay on art, science, and literature in Brontë Society Transactions, 15 (1966):  36-40, and “From Dame to Woman:  W. S. Gilbert and Theatrical Transvestism,” Victorian Studies, 14.1 (1970), 27-46. She gave many fine talks at MVSA conferences, such as “The Curriculum at Castle Adamant: Tennyson’s and Gilbert’s Learned Ladies” on Princess Ida, with musical examples from the libretto rendered by members of Michigan’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society. She and her husband George McElroy were very generous and left endowments not only for MVSA but also for the Morgan Library & Museum.

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.

We welcome donations to help support our fellowships (the Arnstein Dissertation Prize and the Burgan Prize), our speakers (the Stedman Fund), and our general fund.  To make a contribution to MVSA, click the linked text and follow the prompts to donate online, or visit the Membership page for information on submitting a check. Donations can also be made “In Memory” or “In Recognition” of a colleague or loved one; please enclose a message with your check or add a note to your online donation. Contributions to MVSA are recognized in our annual conference program, and all donations to the organization are tax deductible.

MVSA maintains profiles of Current Officers and Board Members, and a detailed record of Past Officers and Board Members, part of the Archives section of the website. The current organization By-Laws (as well as 2015, 20132012, 1995, and 1977 versions) are available as a PDF download.

For  questions about the organization, please contact president@midwestvictorian.org; for questions about conference registration and other money matters, please contact treasurer@midwestvictorian.org.