Jane E. Calvert

  • Associate Professor
  • Director/Editor, The John Dickinson Writings Project
  • History
Patterson Office Tower 1763
Research Interests:
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2003
  • M.A., University of Chicago, 1996
  • B.A., Earlham College, 1993

Professor Calvert’s research has focused on Quaker political thought and founding father John Dickinson. Her monograph, Quaker Constitutionalism and the Political Thought of John Dickinson, is the first of a trilogy of works on John Dickinson. It describes a hitherto unrecognized strain of Anglo-American political thought and action that explains the apparently contradictory stance that Dickinson took during the Revolution as an advocate of rights and liberty, but not independence or revolution. This study is the first analysis of Quaker constitutional theory; the first exploration of the origins of civil disobedience in Quaker political thought and action; and the first comprehensive exposition of Dickinson's political thought.
     The second work in the Dickinson trilogy is the first modern, scholarly edition of his complete political works. Professor Calvert is Director and Chief Editor of the John Dickinson Writings Project (JDP). Supported by a Scholarly Editions Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as private foundations and individuals, the JDP will produce a seven-volume edition of The Complete Writings and Selected Correspondence of John Dickinson, to be published by the University of Delaware Press/Rowman & Littlefield. The edition will be published in both print and open-access digital editions. To read more, visit the JDP Website: http://www.uky.edu/DickinsonWritingsProject.
      The third work of the trilogy, also in progress, is a biography of Dickinson, which will be directed towards both popular and scholarly audiences

     Professor Calvert has also produced work on Thomas Paine and the Second Amendment.

Selected Grants and Fellowships

  • The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, 2016-17.
  • The Earhart Foundation, 2013–15.
  • The Bradly Foundation, 2013–15.
  • Scholarly Editions Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2010-13.
  • Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2010.
  • SHEAR/Library Company of Philadelphia Fellowship, 2009.
  • Library Fellowship, The David Library of the American Revolution, 2007.
  • Association for Documentary Editing Travel Award, 2006.
  • Robert L. Middlekauff Fellowship, The Huntington Library, 2006.
  • Library Residence Research Fellowship, American Philosophical Society, 2006.
  • Monticello College Foundation Fellowship, The Newberry Library, 2005.
  • Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, 2005 (declined). 
  • NEH “We, the People” Summer Stipend, 2005.
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship
  • Library Company of Philadelphia/Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 2002.





Professor Calvert regularly teaches the following courses:

  • HIS 108: United States to 1876
  • HIS 301: History Methods Workshop
  • HIS 460: Colonial American
  • HIS 461: The American Revolution, 1763–1789
  • HIS 499: Senior Seminar

She also teaches specialized, experimental, graduate, and honors courses on early American religion, politics, dissent, the American Founders, and other topics.

Selected Publications: 
  • “Myth-Making and Myth-Breaking in the Historiography on John Dickinson,” The Journal of the Early Republic vol. 34, no. 3 (2014): 467–80.
  • Selected Writings of Thomas Paine. Co-editor with Ian Shapiro. Rethinking the Western Tradition Series. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.
  • “John Dickinson’s Quaker Contributions to the Creation of the American Republic,” in Faith and the Founders of the American Republic, ed. Mark David Hall and Daniel L. Dreisbach. (Oxford University Press, 2014), 277–304.
  • “Letter to Farmers in Pennsylvania: John Dickinson Writes to the Paxton Boys,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography vol. 136, no. 4 (2012): 475–77.
  • “‘The Character of an Author’: Attribution and Misattribution of the Writings of John Dickinson,” The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America vol. 104, no. 3 (2010): 341–46.
  • Brief of Historians of Early American Constitutional, Legal, and Pennsylvania History as Amici Curiæ in Support of Respondent City of Chicago, with Nathan Kozuskanich, Paul Finkelman, and Thomas D. Hamm, submitted to the United States Supreme Court, January 2010.
  • Quaker Constitutionalism and the Political Thought of John Dickinson (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
  • "Liberty Without Tumult: Understanding the Politics of John Dickinson," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 132, no. 3 (2007): 233-62.
  • "America's Forgotten Founder: John Dickinson and the the American Revolution," History Compass, 5/3 (2007): 1001-11.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1478-0542.2007.00424.x/full
  • “The Quaker Theory of Civil Constitution,” History of Political Thought vol. 27, no. 4 (2006): 586-619.
  • “Political Obligation and Civil Dissent in Quaker Political Thought,” Quaker Religious Thought nos. 106/107 (2006): 68-7


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