Mr. Douglas L. Wilson
Class of 1953
Hall of Honor 1994
Dr. Douglas Wilson was born in St. James, Minnesota and was eight years old when his family moved to Grand Island in August of 1944. He attended Dodge School and Barr Junior High before entering Grand Island Senior High in the fall of 1950. At Grand Island Senior High, he was active in dramatics, acting in several plays and performing in the one-act play competition forensic tournaments. For three years he worked on the school newspaper The Islander, participated in student government, and was elected cheerleader his last two years.
After graduating from Doane in 1957, Dr. Wilson enrolled in the graduate English program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he spent four years pursuing a master’s and doctoral degree in English and American Literature. Leaving graduate school in 1961, Dr. Wilson joined the English department at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and remained there for 33 years. At Knox he taught whole range courses in literature and helped found an interdisciplinary in American Studies. For many years he was also the Director of the Library. His first book was published in 1967 by Harvard University Press.
As a scholar pursuing research on Jefferson and Lincoln, Dr. Wilson has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and Huntington Library in San Marino, California and the Newberry Library in Chicago. In this same connection, he has been invited to speak at Monticello, Jefferson’s residence, Colonial Williamsburg, the Library of Congress, and University of Virginia, and the Abraham Lincoln Symposium in Springfield, Illinois.
This year, 1994, Dr. Wilson has been appointed founding director of a new research center being established by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation at Monticello, to be known as the International Center for Jefferson Studies.