History Department
History Department

Alumnus has thesis published by American Philosophical Society

Fri, March 3, 2006

Feist's thesis on eighteenth-century almanacs has received accolades from history professors at several universities. Prof. Kathleen Wilson of Stony Brook University wrote, “An engaging and well-written history of early English almanacs. Timothy Feist places the Stationer's Company in the context of the burgeoning “consumer society” of the eighteenth century and relates the almanacs' content with the political developments of the post-Revolution whig state. . . .”

Prof. Bernard Capp of the University of Warwick wrote, “The Stationer's Voice adds a great deal to our understanding of the almanac trade. The strength of the work lies in its thorough and perceptive analysis of the Company of Stationers, drawing heavily on unpublished Company records. . . .”

Feist is a Captain in the Marine Corps. He came to UT after returning from sea duty on a Navy ship that ended up providing some of the first troops on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan for “Operation Enduring Freedom” after 9/11. He was deployed with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit as an artillery officer.

His unit was responsible for providing security to an airfield 300 miles south of the Afghan border in Pakistan. “The base we provided security for was a Search-and-Rescue base for pilots flying into Afghanistan, as well as Special Operations Forces, CIA people, and people we weren't suppose to know about that were involved in attacking the Taliban. We did this until the Army could find a unit to take over in November 2001,” Feist said.

The following March, his sea tour finished, he returned to the States and worked on his Master's degree while continuing to fulfill his military obligation. Feist's goal was to return to his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy, to teach history.

Early modern British history had always been a major interest. His thesis originated in an English seminar on eighteenth-century British literature and popular culture. When he started researching almanacs at the Harry Ransom Center for a paper in this class, Feist realized that this would be the topic for his thesis in the History Department Graduate Program.

His Master's supervisor, Prof. Neil Kamil, advised him to submit his thesis to the prestigious American Philosophical Society for publication. “It is a remarkable achievement for anyone; I'd venture to say probably singular for an MA student in British-American history anywhere,” Kamil said.

Feist said he owes a great deal to the mentorship of Kamil and his second reader, Prof. Brian Levack. He now teaches about 72 students each semester at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland, and spends the rest of his time selecting, training and mentoring future Marine officers.

He said he benefited tremendously from the scholarship and teaching expertise of Professors Kamil, Levack, Howard Miller, Robert Olwell, Michael Stoff, and Roger Louis. “I'd have been completely incompetent to serve where I'm serving without the one-on-one mentoring and instruction that I received from these professors,” he said.

Timothy Feist, The Stationers' Voice: The English Almanac Trade in the Early Eighteenth Century (Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society, 2005). It is also listed as Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Volume 95, Part 4, 2005.

Photo by: Rhonda Feist

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