When we cast our bread upon the waters, we can presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from that grantor's gift. (13)Maya Angelou, "The Sweetness of Charity"
In 2012 the Society for the Study of American Women Writers awarded its first Karen Dandurand Lifetime Achievement Medal to Frances Smith Foster. This award "recognize[s] a scholar's career achievement in the study of American women writers" as demonstrated by "teaching, mentoring . . . , scholarship and service" ("Society"). Karen Dandurand, whose work on Emily Dickinson and Susan Hale helped to establish the field, was a co-founder of both Legacy and the ssaww. As Judith Fetterley put it in a recent tribute to Karen, she was "a meticulous scholar, an indefatigable editor, and a nurturing colleague" (3)—a most worthy namesake for this important award, for which there is no better inaugural recipient than Frances Foster.
The tributes to Foster presented in this issue document her pioneering work as a scholar, teacher, and community builder. Written by colleagues, students, colleagues' students, and even students' students, they highlight her pathbreaking recovery work and scholarly innovations. Equally, they document her commitment to showing how this research matters in the world, to nurturing collaboration and conversation among scholars, and to supporting the work and aspirations of others. They demonstrate how her efforts have benefited those downstream. [End Page 217]
Now professor of English and women's studies emerita at Emory University, Foster has served as Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women's Studies at Emory; professor of American literature at the University of California, San Diego; and professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University, among other academic posts. The extensive list of her honors, awards, and fellowships includes a recent Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize recognizing outstanding and lasting scholarly contributions to racial, ethnic, or religious relations (shared with Clayborne Carson), the College Language Association's Creative Scholarship Award, a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, and the Emory University Scholar/ Teacher of the Year Award. This last honor goes to a faculty member who has "excelled as a classroom teacher, shown unusual concern for students, and made significant contributions to the scholarly life of the university" ("University").
The author or editor of fourteen books (with more on the way), Foster has published game-changing monographs, important editions, and innovative anthologies that demonstrate her commitment to recovery work in African American print culture and women's cultural production. Her essays appearing in scholarly journals, anthologies, and edited collections are similarly voluminous and significant; her reviews, review essays, bibliographies, and other publications are substantial. The last tribute in this section comprises a select bibliography of her published work. Although it would be impossible to quantify her impact on the work of others, we have appended to the bibliography a short selection of volumes published by some former students whose work she advised or supervised. Together these tributes celebrate Foster's gifts of scholarship, teaching, mentorship, and service; while these gifts have nourished those near to her, they also feed an ever-expanding community and promise to sustain the generations to come.