Dr. Michael Verney is a National Endowment for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in September 2016 and his B.A. in History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2008. He specializes in the global history of the early American republic with a focus on maritime empire and expansion.
He is using his time at the Library Company to research additional material for his first book. That project, an expansion of his dissertation at UNH, is entitled A Great and Rising Nation’: American Naval Exploration and the Forging of a Global Maritime Empire, 1815-1860. It examines the U.S. federal government’s first embrace of global imperialism through the exploring expeditions of the antebellum navy. Between 1838 and 1860, the Navy dispatched fifteen voyages of discovery around the world. These missions ranged from the Antarctic to the Arctic, from Ottoman Palestine to Japan, and from South American rivers to the North Pacific. Overall, they show that the early American state was far more ambitious and powerful than scholars have previously supposed.
According to Dr. Verney, “the Library Company preserves valuable materials that are helping to fill in the gaps and answer additional questions. Among these are an impressive collection of the published editions of the narratives and reports of U.S. naval exploration, as well as antebellum travelogues and manuscripts”. He notes that his research at the Library Company has allowed him to expand and revise his dissertation for publication with the University of Chicago Press.