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Dr. Timothy Bintrim

Timothy Bintrim 2015

Title: Department Chair, Assistant Professor of English
School: Arts & Letters
Academic Department: Literature and Languages
Phone: 814-472-3116
E-mail: tbintrim@francis.edu
Office Location: Scotus Hall 306


  • B.A. and M.A., Slippery Rock University (1988 and 1990)
  • Ph.D. in American Literature, Duquesne University (1996)


“The Internet is wonderful, but much of our collective past will never reach the Web unless researchers do the preliminary digging (even around toppled gravestones).” - Tim Bintrim

My teaching and publications stress real-world applications of archival research. For example, my first-year composition students profile a historic place that is in some way connected with their home, family, or passions. Many discover local histories, interview elders, and take original photographs of their site, all of which makes this first project significant. One student found his eighth great-grandfather, a colonel in the British Army, had directed the building of Fort Ligonier. Another wrote about his hunting spot marked by sinkholes from underground mine fires. The smoke rising from the earth, he thought, linked him to several generations of coalminer ancestors. My own research into century-old newspaper articles caused the gravestone of a once-famous American illustrator, Charles Stanley Reinhart, to be raised and remounted at Allegheny Cemetery of Pittsburgh. The Internet is wonderful, but much of our collective past will never reach the Web unless researchers do the preliminary digging (even around toppled gravestones). Since 2007, I have developed courses in Western Pennsylvania Women Writers, Environmental Literature (team-taught on campus and at Juniata College’s Raystown Field Station), and Literature and Medicine. A founder of SFU’s biennial literary retreat on Western Pennsylvania Women Writers, I continue researching Willa Cather’s Pittsburgh decade (1896-1906). With other faculty, I have taken students off campus for a literary tour of Pittsburgh, a senior capstone course at the Harmonist village at Economy, PA, historical tours of the Mount Assisi Gardens built by steel-master Charles M. Schwab, and three overnight kayak trips to Raystown Lake. I am co-advisor with Lane Loya of the Environmental Action Society.

Research Interests
  • Willa Cather’s unsigned and pseudonymous journalism
  • Cather’s Pittsburgh friendships
  • Other writers with Western Pa roots, such as Annie Dillard and Rachel Carson, and Mary Roberts Rinehart
Student Advising

Directed Student Presentations/Independent Studies for:

Senior Capstone

  • “Investigating Rebecca Harding Davis’s ‘The Harmonists’: Was there harmony in Harmony?” (attended by 24 seniors)

Independent Study

  • American Literature Survey II
  • Palliative Comedy in American Fictions of War (Senior Honors Project)
  • Brochure on the History of the Charles M. Schwab Gardens (Environmental Lit class project)
Selected Articles
  • “Gathering by Moonlight: Another Prototype for the Russian Wolf Story in My Ántonia.” Teaching Cather (Utah State U), Spring 2010.
  • Contributing researcher and photographer for the Cather Scholarly Edition of Youth and the Bright Medusa, edited by Mark Madigan. U of Nebraska P, 2009.
  • "Cather as Illustrator." Essay in peer-reviewed book collection, Willa Cather: New Facts, New Glimpses, Revisions. Ed. Merrill Skaggs and John Murphy. Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2008. 65-84 with 12 illustrations.
  • "From Larceny to Suicide: The Denny Case and 'Paul's Case.'" (co-written with Mark Madigan). Essay in the peer-reviewed book collection, Violence, the Arts, and Cather (2007) from Fairleigh Dickinson UP, edited by Merrill Maguire Skaggs and Joe Urgo. 109-123, illustrated.
  • “A Palm for Stanley: Reinhart’s Grave Restored Through Cather’s Writing.” (co-written with Mark Madigan) Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial Newsletter and Review 45.4 (Fall 2002): 35-38.

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