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Paul Lauter is an icon of American Studies who has been a primary agent in its transformation and its chief ambassador abroad. He is Allan K. and Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of Literature at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He has served as President of the American Studies Association (of the United States), and he is General Editor of the groundbreaking Heath Anthology of American Literature, now in its sixth edition. In the 1960s, Lauter served as Peace Education Secretary and Director of Peace Studies for the American Friends Service Committee, and executive director of the U.S. Servicemen's Fund. During 1964 and 1965 he worked in freedom schools in Mississippi, then in Roosevelt University's Upward Bound program, and in 1967 he became director of the first community school project in the nation, at Adams-Morgan in Washington, D.C. He was also active in the faculty and staff union at the State University of New York, serving as statewide vice-president for academics, as chapter president, and as grievance officer, among other positions. He was also one of the founders of The Feminist Press and its treasurer and an editor for fourteen years.

Lauter has served as director of American Studies, as English department chair, and has for many years been the director of the graduate program in American Studies.
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