Mary Saracino Zboray

1429 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
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Mary Saracino Zboray is Visiting Scholar in Communication in the Department of Communication.  She received her MA in anthropology from the Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research in 1980, and did course work as a PhD student and Smithsonian Fellow in the Department of American Studies at George Washington University from 1982 to 1984.  She has co-authored four books with Ronald J. Zboray: Voices without Votes: Women and Politics in Antebellum New England (Lebanon, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2010); Everyday Ideas: Socio-Literary Experience Among Antebellum New Englanders (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006); Literary Dollars and Social Sense: A People’s History of the Mass Market Book (New York: Routledge, 2005); and A Handbook for the Study of Book History in the United States (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 2000).  In April 2011, Voices Without Votes was awarded the Everett Lee Hunt Award annually given to a “major contribution to the understanding of rhetoric and communication,” by the Eastern Communication Association.  In August 2007, Everyday Ideas won the Prize for Best Journalism and Mass Communication History Book Published in 2006 awarded by the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.  It also was the winner of the Triennial E. Jennifer Monaghan Prize for Best Book in the History of Literacy Published in the Past Three Years, awarded by the History of Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association at its annual convention in Chicago, 27 April 2010.  In addition to several book-length monographs, Mary Saracino Zboray has also co-authored with Ronald J. Zboray numerous articles, book chapters, and essays on U.S. antebellum and Civil War era reading practices, on U.S. print culture, museums, and the lyceum, and on women’s partisanship in antebellum New England.  These appear in American Quarterly, the Journal of the Early Republic, Journal of American Studies, Libraries and Culture, Journalism History, and American Studies among other scholarly journals.  Her co-authored essays in book editions include, most recently: “Women Thinking: The International Popular Lecture and its Audience in Antebellum New England,” in The Cosmopolitan Lyceum: Lecture Culture and the Globe in Nineteenth-Century America, ed. Tom F. Wright  (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013); “The Bonds of Print: Reading on Homefront and Battlefield” in  Massachusetts and the Civil War: The Commonwealth and National Disunion, ed. Matthew Mason, Katheryn P. Viens, and Conrad Edick Wright (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2015); and “My Solitary Habit: Reading and Emergent Youth Subcultures in Civil War America,” in Lost Histories of Youth Culture, ed. Christine Feldman Barrett (New York: Peter Lang, 2015).

            Mary Zboray is currently co-editing with Ronald Zboray, U.S. Popular Print Culture to 1860, volume 5 in The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, ed. Gary Kelly, 9 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2018).  The volume’s forty essays contributed by scholars in several fields, including American Studies, Communication, History, and Literature, will cover a range of topics that express the full diversity popular print culture—through its producers, disseminators, and consumers—from its colonial beginnings to the American Civil War.  They are also completing a book project entitled “The Bullet in the Book: Volumes that Saved Civil War Soldiers’ Lives.”  It is an investigation into the many books and pamphlets—bibles, the Emancipation Proclamation, law books, pocket diaries—that soldiers placed in their pockets or knapsacks before heading out to battle, in the hopes that the print matter would take bullets for them.

            Besides prizes for her co-authored books, Mary Zboray has received awards for her articles co-authored with Ronald Zboray, as well as their conference papers and research projects. From 1998 to 1999, she and Ronald were full-time Honorary Visiting Fellows at the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.  In 2009, their “Bullet in the Book: Reading Cultures during the Civil War” received a Joseph McKerns Research Grant Award from the American Journalism Historians Association, for research at the South Carolina Historical Society.  The Cathy Covert Award for Best Article Published in the History of Journalism and Mass Communication During 1996 was given by the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication to “Political News and Female Readership in Antebellum Boston and Its Region,” Journalism History 22 (Spring 1996): 2-14.  The project, “Voices Without Votes: Women’s Political Consciousness and Partisan Engagement in Antebellum New England,” won an Honorable Mention Award from the Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University, in December 2003. The Media Ecology Association Division, National Communication Association, gave the paper, “From Histoire du Livre to the Book in Media Ecology: The Changing Face of Publishing in the U.S., 1860-1920,” a Top Paper award at the NCA 2009 annual national convention in Chicago. “I Have Said My Say: Ordinary Women and Partisan Speech Making in the Antebellum Era” received the Wrage-Baskerville Award for Top Contributed Paper from the Public Address Division of the National Communication Association, at its annual convention on 15 November, 2010.  Most recently, “The ‘Sound of an ‘Extra’: Representing Civil War Newsboys by Pen and in Print” was given a Top Professional Paper (runner-up) award at the annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Montreal, 7 August 2014. 

            Mary and Ronald Zboray gave the Edward G. Holley Memorial Lecture, at the plenary session of the Library History Round Table, American Library Association annual convention in Washington, D.C., on 28 June 2010.  They have been invited to present keynote or featured papers at several conferences, including “The Cosmopolitan Lyceum: Globalism and Lecture Culture in Nineteenth-Century America, An Interdisciplinary Research Symposium,” held at the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, 23-24 September 2011, and “Popular Knowledge, Public Stage: Cultures of Learning in the Long Nineteenth-Century,” a conference held in Alexandria, Virginia, 24-26 September 2015.  As keynote speakers, they will be presenting a paper entitled “Between Hamburg and Boston: Frederick Gleason and the Rise of Serial Fiction in the United States” at the international “Popular Culture, Serial Culture” conference at the University of Siegen in Germany.  The conference, to be held 28-30 April 2016, will feature scholars from London, Istanbul, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Vienna, as well as from several cities in Germany, speaking to the worldwide spread of serial fiction after the publication of  Eugène Sue’s Les Mystères de Paris in the Journal des Débats (1842-1843).