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Project History

Project History

As a doctoral student, I was fortunate to work from 2008-2012 as a graduate research assistant with the Walt Whitman Archive <WhitmanArchive.org>, which is still the gold standard of single-author digital archives. I used to wish there was a comparable resource for scholars of George Eliot, the author I focused on for my dissertation.

After I became a faculty member in 2013, rather than continue to wait for someone else to build the digital research collection I wanted, I decided to create it. With wonderful mentors and research support at UNL through the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, the English department, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) program, this project has developed into the George Eliot Review Online (in partnership with the George Eliot Fellowship), the George Eliot Archive, and the newly-launched George Eliot Scholars digital commons.

These three related, ever-expanding digital projects, now with more than 3,500 searchable documents and image files, would not have been possible without my small but mighty team of graduate and undergraduate research assistants, named below. (Please scroll down.) I can never thank them enough for all they've contributed to this endeavor.  -- Bev

Project Staff

Dr. Beverley Park Rilett, Editor and inaugural director, is a Research Assistant Professor in English and a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She specializes in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British literature and culture, biography, and digital humanities. Her edition of British Poetry of the Long Nineteenth Century: A Selection for College Students was re-issued in 2019 with a Creative Commons 4.0 license, which means the digital edition is now free. Rilett has published several articles on aspects of George Eliot's life and works and is currently completing a revisionist biography. She is honored to be a vice president of the George Eliot Fellowship and digital editor of the George Eliot Review journal.


Hailey Fischer (2020 - present) is completing her first year as a Master's English student in Literary and Cultural Studies and Women's Literature. Her thesis will explore George Eliot's relationships with her siblings, especially her sister and half-sister. She is currently developing the "George Eliot in England" section of the Archive.

Sarah Guyer (2020 - present) is a sophomore English major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She transitioned the George Eliot Review files to a new metadata and file storage system, organized and transcribed unpublished manuscript correspondence about Eliot, and has begun to prepare Introductions and Notes for a new super edition of Eliot's major works.

Kaylen Michaelis (2020 - present) is a sophomore English major and Spanish minor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She is currently the project's assistant editor, overseeing the development of the Commentary by Contemporaries section and teaching Omeka to the new research assistants.

Thara Michaelis (2020 - present) is a sophomore English major and Spanish minor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Presently, she is adding metadata and articles to the Archive’s Commentary by Contemporaries section and preparing the Journals and Notebooks section for publication. She also added George Eliot-related information and links to Wikipedia.

Maxwell Robeson (2020 - present) has been organizing, proofreading, and adding to the biographical commentary on individuals included in Eliot's social network; Max also is collecting important metadata for this section, identifying the public domain sources of each portrait to be displayed on the Relationship Web.

Tanima Shrivastava (2020 - present) is a junior English major with minors in Digital Humanities and Computer Science. As our web developer, Tanima is responsible for maintaining the functioning and continuing the development of the three websites, the George Eliot Review Online, George Eliot Scholars, and the George Eliot Archive.

Former Research Assistants

Dr. Antje Anderson, 2019-21: created interactive maps of George Eliot's trips to Italy.

Sydney Baty, 2018-19: drafted short biographies summarizing Eliot's relationships; mined periodicals databases to find previously unknown contemporary articles on GE; conference presentation.

Susannah Boyer, 2018-19: located public domain sources of GE-related images and verified information for the relationship web summaries

Michaela Brown, 2020: located and added documents to our Commentary by Contemporaries section; developed content and metadata for our sister site, George Eliot Scholars.

Mackenzie Burch, 2019-20: collected data and researched terms and accessibility for our new sister site, George Eliot Scholars; also presented poster sessions and an academic conference paper.

Bryan Christman, 2020-21: assisted with the revisions of the Relationship Web summaries and researched books Eliot read for a new subproject, "George Eliot's Library." 

Shane Clegg, Summer 2019: website upgrading and coding for the interactive chronology section of the George Eliot Archive, poster session presentation

Sara Duke, 2017-18: image editing, database development, grant opportunities research; conference and poster presentations

Megan Ekstrom, 2017-2019: database development and document preparation; presented posters and conference papers.

Grace Erixon, 2019-2020: helped build interactive maps of George Eliot's trips; contributed to the relationship web; general website maintenance.

Rachel Gordon, 2017-19: curated the George Eliot portrait gallery; database development; conference and poster presentations

John Harkendorff, 2019-20: web developer with a focus on the GE Scholars site; improved the website's functionality,  developed the site's contribution interface, and facilitated email outreach to potential contributors.

Riley Jhi, 2017-2020: web development and design of the George Eliot Archive, especially data visualization modeling of the relationship web, and, with Shane Clegg, the interactive chronology; conference and poster presentations.

Bailea Kerr, 2016-18: database development; image processing; recording the history of the project; conference and poster presentations

Rose Kottwitz, Summer 2020: prepared metadata for the 896 "Cross Letters" and uploaded them all to the Archive; compared a sample set of the Cross letters with Gordon Haight's George Eliot Letters.

Anne Nagel, 2019-20: transposed the "George Eliot Portrait Gallery" section to the Central Online Victorian Educator (COVE) site; researched and co-authored (with BPR) the editorial introduction, "The George Eliot Portrait Gallery: Perspectives on the Writer."

Lindsay Roberts, 2020-21: proofread and added to the Relationship Web summaries; monitored contributions and prepared them for publication on the George Eliot Scholars site.

Kayleigh Ryan, 2020-21: primarily responsible for developing the gallery of images illustrating George Eliot's Works.

Devyn Sanderson, 2021: collected and processed illustrations of George Eliot's Works; scanned important documents for further research

Alexis Stoffers, 2020-21: redesigned our logo to add Eliot's signature; helped develop the "George Eliot in England" image gallery, designed a print edition of George Eliot in England. 

Rosamond Thalken, 2016-17: scanning, image processing, database development; conference and poster presentations

Brandon Unverferth, 2020-21: prepared a new digital edition of the George Eliot Character and Scenes dictionary for the website.

Derek Wagner, 2017-18: located and digitized many of the reviews of George Eliot's works by her contemporaries

Advisory and Contributing Editors

The George Eliot Archive and its sister sites, the George Eliot Review Online and the George Eliot Scholars digital commons, have, since their inception, relied on the expert advice and contributions of many others. We thank and recognize the following individuals (in alphabetical order):

Emily Bell

Anne-Marie Beller

John Burton

Eleanor Dumbill

Charlotte Fiehn

Constance Fulmer

Beryl Gray

Margaret Harris

Brenda MacKay

Linda Mayne

Kathleen McCormack

Bob Muscutt

Kenneth Price

John Rignall

Katherine Walter

Aurora Wheeler

Adrian Wisnicki