St. Olaf College | News

History professor receives Huntington Library Fellowship

DeKreyGary300x350After receiving an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) last summer, St. Olaf College Professor of History Gary De Krey ’71 has received a Huntington Library Fellowship to support his ongoing research into the Levellers, a political group during the English Civil War, and their influence.

As with the NEH grant that he received last year, De Krey will use the Huntington award to support his research for a book in progress, tentatively titled Following the Levellers: Radical Ideas in Seventeenth Century England, 1647-1689.

The Huntington Fellowship provides funding for one to five months of residency and full-time research. De Krey will conduct a month of research this January at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

The merit of his project, as he sees it, comes in response to contemporary scholarly arguments that downplay the Levellers’ importance during the English Civil War.

“The Levellers have lost the visibility they formerly held in 17th-century scholarship,” De Krey says. “The extent of their influence has been questioned. Whether the Levellers can be considered as ‘democrats’ has been disputed, and even their emphasis upon individual liberties is no longer seen as an expression of natural rights thinking.”

De Krey hopes that the book he will write with the support of the Huntington Fellowship will become a catalyst for new discussion and interest about the Levellers.

“My findings should arouse interest from early modern historians, from scholars of the ‘long Reformation’ and of 17th-century political ideas, and from students (both undergraduate and graduate) in these fields,” he says.

De Krey earned his baccalaureate degree from St. Olaf, where he majored in history, and his Ph.D. in British and early modern European history from Princeton University. He joined the St. Olaf faculty in 1988 and has since taught courses on British and European history.

De Krey has published three books about the time period: Restoration and Revolution in Britain: A Political History of the Era of Charles II and the Glorious Revolution; London and the Restoration, 1659-1683; and A Fractured Society: The Politics of London in the First Age of Party, 1688-1715. He also directs the St. Olaf Center for College History and is the archivist for the Norwegian-American Historical Association.

The Huntington is an independent research center with holdings in British and American history, literature, art history, and the history of science and medicine. Its library collections range chronologically from the 11th century to the present and include seven million manuscripts, 420,000 rare books, 275,000 reference works, and 1.3 million photographs, prints, and ephemera.

Some 1,700 scholars come from around the world every year to conduct advanced humanities research using the Huntington’s collections. Through a rigorous peer-review program, the institution awards approximately 150 fellowships to scholars in the fields of history, literature, art, and the history of science.

De Krey is one of only four 2015-16 Huntington Fellowship recipients from Minnesota.