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Fanning, Charles | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Fanning, Charles

Historical Note: Charles Fanning was born in November 11, 1942 and grew up in Norwood, Massachusetts. He earned a BA from Harvard College in 1964, and a MAT from Harvard University in 1966. Fanning studied with  John V. Kelleher at Harvard University, who was the first endowed chair of an Irish Studies program in the United States. He received a MA in 1968 and PhD in American Civilization in 1972, earning both degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.  His doctoral dissertation, later published as Finley Peter Dunne and Mr. Dooley: The Chicago Years, won the Organization of American Historians Frederick Jackson Turner Award in 1979. Fanning taught at Bridgewater State University for 21 years in the English Department. In 1989, he won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Exiles of Erin: Nineteenth-Century Irish-American Fiction. In 1990, the magazine Irish America voted him as one of the "Top 100 Irish-Americans" in their annual poll, and in 1991, Fanning won the Book Prize for Literary Criticism and Related Fields from the American Conference for Irish Studies for The Irish Voice in America. From 1991-1993, he worked at the University of St. Louis Missouri as an assistant to the chancellor, until he joined the Southern Illinois University Carbondale English Department faculty. During his academic career at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Fanning won a $236,000 three-year grant from the US Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education to create an Irish and Irish Immigration Studies program at the university. As director of the program, Fanning developed courses in early Irish history, Irish diaspora, Irish poetry and literature, and hosted Irish-American topics conferences. In 2004, Southern Illinois University Carbondale awarded Fanning with the Outstanding Scholar Award for his academic accomplishments. In 2007, after fourteen years of teaching at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he officially retired. In 2010, he published his memoir Mapping Norwood, which is about his childhood growing up in an Irish-American community in suburban Massachusetts, and his search to learn more about his ancestors.
Sources: "Charles Fanning to Retire from SIUC on Aug. 31," Andrea Hahn,, accessed February 3, 2017.
Note Author: Joseph Valle

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