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Queen's University

Queen's Encyclopedia

Disraeli Project

[portrait of a young Benjamin Disraeli]

Portrait of Benjamin Disraeli

The Disraeli Project began in 1972 when two Queen's University faculty members, John Matthews from the Department of English and D.M. Schurman from the Department of History, began work on Disraeli, a two-term British Prime Minister and literary figure, as a sabbatical project. Their success in tracking down previously undiscovered Benjamin Disraeli letters in England led to the establishment in 1975 of the Project, in which they were joined by J.A.W. Gunn, Head of Political Studies at Queen's.

In 1982, two years after the founding grant expired, the first two volumes appeared, to great critical acclaim, but the Project fell dormant.

Two years later, Mel Wiebe from the Deparment of English reorganized the Project on a much smaller scale, obtained funding with a new team, and successfully published the next three volumes of the edition.

By the 1990s, Professor Wiebe was able to renew funding for the Project by an innovative cooperative arrangement between the public and private sectors. Funded to this point entirely by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Project was jointly funded by SSHRCC and a group of private individuals and corporations until 2000.

Thanks to the efforts of Professor Wiebe, in 2007 the Disraeli Project received a $545,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Although retired since 2004, Professor Wiebe remains actively involved in an advisory capacity and reviews all newly edited letters.

The most recent volume is Volume VIII (1860-64), published in 2009. Volume IX (1865-67) is due for publication in 2012.

Learn more about the Disraeli Project...

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