ANDREW W. MELLON PROFESSORSHIP IN THE HUMANITIES
Established in 1967 by Ailsa Mellon Bruce in memory of her father

Image Credit: Trinity Court Studio ANDREW W. MELLON, born in 1855, was a financier, diplomat, and industrialist. Mr. Mellon helped found the Union Trust Company of Pittsburgh, the Gulf Oil Corporation, and the Pittsburgh Coal Company. In 1921, he left the presidency of the Mellon National Bank to become U.S. secretary of the treasury, serving for ten years under presidents Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. He later served as ambassador to Great Britain during 1932-33. Upon his death in 1937, Mr. Mellon left his vast collection of art to create the National Gallery of Art and enough funds for the construction of the building on the Washington, DC, mall. Four chairs at Hopkins are named for Andrew W. Mellon, two at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, one at the Peabody Conservatory, and one at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

 

His daughter, AILSA MELLON BRUCE, a philanthropist and art collector, established the Avalon Foundation in 1940, through which she supported the National Gallery of Art and other organizations. Mrs. Bruce, who served as her father's hostess in Washington and also when he was ambassador to Great Britain, later amassed an excellent collection of small paintings by the French Impressionists, which she left to the National Gallery on her death in 1969. She was married to David K.E. Bruce, a distinguished diplomat who also served as president of the National Gallery.

 

ERIC J. SUNDQUIST, A&S 1976 (MA), 1978 (PhD), the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, joined The Johns Hopkins University Department of English in 2010. Prior to that, he was the UCLA Foundation Professor of Literature.

Dr. Sundquist is the author or editor of twelve books in the area of American literature and culture, including King’s Dream (2009), Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America (2005), which received the Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute Award, and To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature (1993), which received the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association for best book published during the year, the Christian Gauss Award from Phi Beta Kappa for the best book in the humanities, and the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award. His other works include Home as Found: Authority and Genealogy in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (1978), Faulkner: The House Divided (1983), The Hammers of Creation: Folk Culture in Modern African-American Fiction (1992), the co-authored Volume 2 of the Cambridge History of American Literature (1995), and essay collections or anthologies on American Realism, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Ralph Ellison. Eric Sundquist became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997. He also received the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007, the MELUS Distinguished Scholar Award in 1996, and the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences Faculty Award in 1995. From 1991 through 1997 he was general editor of the Cambridge University Press book series Studies in American Literature and Culture, and he has served on the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association and the National Council of the American Studies Association. In addition to teaching at UCLA, Professor Sundquist has been a member of the faculties at UC Berkeley, Vanderbilt University, and Northwestern University, where he was dean of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences from 1997 through 2002.