John D. Seelye, 1949

Professor, scholar, and author.
For his achievements as a professor, scholar, and author, Vermont Academy is proud to honor John D. Seelye, a 1949 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

Seelye graduated Wesleyan University with honors in English. He served two years in the Navy, then entered Claremont Graduate School, where he earned a Master’s Degree and Ph.D., writing his dissertation on Herman Melville. Seelye has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Connecticut, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dartmouth College, and the University of Florida, where he holds the chair as Graduate Research Professor. He has received several research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Fellowship.

A version of his Melville dissertation was published, as was The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, his rewriting of Twain’s classic. His other titles include The Kid, Dirty Tricks: Or, Nick Noxin’s Natural Nobility, Mark Twain: A Meditation with Pictures and Prophetic Waters: The River in Early American Life and Literature, Beautiful Machine: Rivers and the American Republic, 1750-1825. His latest book, Memory’s Nation: The Place of Plymouth Rock, is being published, and he is still working. Vermont Academy is honored that John Seelye wrote The Vermont Centennial Poem for the Academy’s centennial celebration.
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