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Hagstrum, Jean H.


Jean Howard Hagstrum was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on Mar 26, 1913, the son of Andrew, a merchant tailor, and Sadie Gertrude (Fryckberg) Hagstrum. Hagstrum graduated from Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis in 1930. He received a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) from the University of Minnesota in 1933 and a diploma from the North Park Theological Seminary in 1936. In 1938 he was awarded a Master of Arts by Northwestern. Hagstrum received his PhD. from Yale in 1941 with a dissertation was entitled “The Sermons of Samuel Johnson.”

In 1940 Hagstrum was appointed Instructor of English at Northwestern, a position he held until 1947. During World War II he served as Chief of the Allocation Division, Office of Censorship (19421944) and with the U.S. Army (1944-1946) in Italy.

Hagstrum was promoted to Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern in 1947, to Associate Professor in 1952, and to Professor in 1958. From 1958 to 1968, and again in 1973-1974, he served as Chairman of the Department. In 1970 he was named John C. Shaffer Professor of Humanities and English. He retired at the close of the 1980-1981 academic year.

In addition to teaching and discharging various administrative duties, Hagstrum served on several important faculty committees, most notably as a member and chairman of the Faculty Planning Committee (1965-1970). Under his chairmanship the Committee issued an influential two-volume report proposing a series of new educational programs for Northwestern, formally entitled “A Community of Scholars” but commonly known as the “Hagstrum Report.”

Hagstrum's major research interests included eighteenth-century English literature, the relationship of poetry and painting, the Romantic period, and the interaction of psychology and literature. In 1952 the University of Minnesota Press published his first book, Samuel Johnson's Literary Criticism, which the University of Chicago Press reprinted in 1967. The Sister Arts: The Tradition of Literary Pictorialism and English Poetry from Dryden to Gray was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1958, and reprinted in 1974. In 1964 Hagstrum's William Blake: Poet and Painter was published by the University of Chicago Press (reprinted in 1978), and Samuel Johnson: Sermons (with James Grey) was published by Yale in 1978. Hagstrum's Sex and Sensibility: Ideal and Erotic Love from Milton to Mozart was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1980. His final book, Esteem Enlivened by Desire: The Couple from Homer to Shakespeare, was published in 1992 by the University of Chicago Press. Hagstrum also authored over thirty articles and many reviews. A festschrift entitled Sensibility in Transformation: Creative Resistance to Sentiment from the Augustans to the Romantics, Essays in Honor of J.H. Hagstrum was published in 1990 by the Associated University Presses.

Hagstrum's activities in various professional organizations reached a high point in 1968 when he was elected to a four-year term as a member of the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association. Shortly thereafter he was nominated for president. He was a member of the supervising Committee of the English Institute and served as its Chairman in 1964. Hagstrum also served as a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee of the Paul Mellon Center for British Art and British Studies at Yale, as President of the Johnson Society, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Newberry Library. He lectured widely in the United States, Europe, and India.

He was awarded three Fulbright Fellowships (Italy, 1953-1954; India, 1972 and 1982), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1973-1974), and several other grants. His other honors include a Presidential Fellowship from Northwestern, The Melville Cane Award of the Poetry Society of America, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota, the Phi Beta Kappa Distinguished Service Award from the Chicago Area Association, and a Doctor of Letters from North Park College. He received the first annual Scaglione Prize from the Modern Language Association in 1993 for Esteem Enlivened by Desire.

On June 29, 1941, Hagstrum married Ruth Pritchett (born Oct 8, 1912). They had two children: Katherine Jeanne and Phyllis Ann. The Hagstrums retired to Arizona in 1993. Ruth Hagstrum died on August 27, 1995, and Jean Hagstrum died on November 5, 1995, in Tucson, Arizona.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Jean H. Hagstrum (1913-1995) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/11/7
Abstract Jean Howard Hagstrum taught English Literature at Northwestern University from 1940 until his retirement in 1981. His extensive papers document his educational, teaching, administrative, and scholarly career.
Dates: 1921-1995