The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) is pleased to welcome back Dr. Mary Grabar, who has returned to the AHI as a visiting fellow. Dr. Grabar was previously awarded the AHI’s Bakwin Fellowship in 2011. She earned a Ph. D. in English from the University of Georgia in 2002. After teaching at several colleges throughout Georgia, she taught English at Emory University from 2007-2013 through the Program in American Democracy and Citizenship. Dr. Grabar is also the editor of, a blog dedicated to educational reform.

Visiting Fellow Mary Grabar at the AHI. Photo Copyright 2014 Tom Loughlin Jr, Utica, N.Y.

Dr. Grabar plans to spend her time at the AHI further researching and writing a book on the late George Schuyler (1895-1977), a noted African-American journalist. Schuyler’s work, she believes, should have a much more important place in American studies, in literature and history. Schuyler inspired Grabar by the fearlessness of his intellectual questioning and writing. “I think all Americans need to know about him,” said Grabar.  “He was very influential during his heyday, but has been relegated to obscurity.”

Grabar is also working on a book on education and the formation of the American character, from an immigrant’s perspective. Born in communist Yugoslavia, she emigrated as a child to Rochester, New York, with her parents. She believes, sadly, that her adoptive homeland is in decline. “From an early age,” she observed, I could tell there was something different about the character of a people who lived in freedom and security from those who lived under oppression and poverty.  Sadly, I see the American character changing as U.S. citizens adjust to more and more impositions on their daily lives by a metastasizing federal government. Alexis de Tocqueville predicted this. I just have to think back about traveling on trains or airplanes as a child and what it’s like now.  I think about how we self-censor our speech— and even our thoughts—and it’s scary.” Dr. Grabar partially attributes the decline in character to the poor state of education in the United States. “Ideology has replaced history,” she said, “and collective classroom tasks have replaced independent thinking.  Education is extremely important because it helps form our attitudes.”

In addition to working on her two books, Grabar will also continue to publish articles for several other publications. Much of her current writing focuses on the state of education, particularly issues with the Common Core. She is currently working on a piece that examines George Schuyler’s support of Barry Goldwater, during the presidential election of 1964.

Dr. Grabar is thrilled to return to the AHI, and considers working here to be one of the biggest achievements of her career. She said, “My dream has been to work in a community of scholars and pursue my own research and writing.” She is fond of the “supportive, intellectual atmosphere,” provided by the AHI, and considers it to be a “second home, a place of intellectual refuge and support.”


Story by Amy Elinski, summer intern at the AHI