distinguished alumni award
John Towner Frederick
John Towner Frederick, founder and editor of Midland literary magazine, published from 1915 through 1933, was cited for his impact on the university as a teacher, editor, scholar, critic, and novelist. Popularly characterized by many as being one of the last teachers to have inspired worship in the student heart, Professor Frederick drew national literary attention to Iowa through his magazine and its high standards.
Born in 1893, near Corning, Professor Frederick entered the University of Iowa in 1909, at the age of 16. He left school briefly, but returned to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa and president of his class. It was during this period he founded Midland. He received his BA degree in 1915, his master's degree from Iowa in 1917, and the honorary Doctor of Literature from the University of Notre Dame in 1962.
Except for one year at the University of Pittsburgh, Professor Frederick was a member of the Department of English at Iowa from 1921 to 1930. For 15 years thereafter, he taught at both Northwestern University and Notre Dame, and from 1945 to 1962, at Notre Dame alone, where he was chairman of the Department of English for three years before his retirement. He returned to Iowa to become visiting professor in the Department of English from 1962 to 1970.
He is a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society. Professor Frederick conducted a radio program entitled "Of Men and Books" on CBS from 1937 to 1944 and for many years was a book reviewer for the Chicago Tribune. He is author of several novels and critical works.