Quinn, J. Kerker (1911-1969) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Quinn, J. Kerker (1911-1969)

Historical Note:

John Kerker Quinn (1911-1969) was assistant in English (1936-44); instructor in English (1944-52); assistant professor of English (1952-57); and associate professor of English (1957-69) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He was a renowned educator perhaps best known as founder and editor of the pioneering literary journal Accent

Quinn earned a bachelor's degree (1933) from Bradley University and a master's degree (1936) in English from UIUC. He served as editor of Direction (1934-35) and, most importantly, Accent (1940-60), a small literary magazine he founded to highlight achievements in contemporary writing. The publication became influential and featured avant-garde luminaries during its twenty-year run, such as E. E. Cummings (1894-1962), Langston Hughes (1902-1967), and Sylvia Plath (1932-1963). Its mélange of leading-edge critical reviews, short stories, and poetry defied traditional categories such as region or movement and inspired a host of similar literary magazines. Quinn also contributed to the development of the university's Festival of Contemporary Arts, serving on the planning committee.

Quinn died prematurely on October 27, 1969, of a heart attack suffered while teaching class.


"Teacher Dies During Class," Daily Illini, 28 October 1969, https://idnc.library.illinois.edu/?a=d&d=DIL19691028.2.9&srpos=1&e=-------en-20--1--img-txIN-J.+Kerker+Quinn+--------.

"J. Kerker Quinn and the Festival of Contemporary Arts," accessed June 3, 2020, https://archives.library.illinois.edu/langston-hughes/quinn/.

"Dandy and Fine: Accent to Ascent," accessed June 3, 2020, https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/8998/dandyfineaccentt00univ.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.

Bruce Michelson, "American Literature in the Cornfields, Stuart Pratt Sherman and J. Kerker Quinn," No Boundaries: University of Illinois Vignettes, ed., Lillian Hoddeson (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2004). Accessed June 4, 2020, https://books.google.com/books?id=02eFrTPIo4gC&pg=PA88&lpg=PA88&dq=J+kerker+quinn&source=bl&ots=kI8vwI4pTd&sig=ACfU3U2GqtqFAHgv4aNrPrnrQ4dB0Ctymw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiFuZuMpejpAhWXBc0KHRj_AnoQ6AEwDXoECAoQAg#v=onepage&q=J%20kerker%20quinn&f=false.

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