Russel Blaine Nye Biography

Russel Blaine Nye (February 17, 1913 – September 2, 1993) was an American professor of English who pioneered in popular culture studies. He is the author of a dozen books, and his book George Bancroft: Brahmin Rebel won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for biography.

Born in Viola, Wisconsin, Nye received his bachelor's degree from Oberlin College in 1934 and his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin in English the following year. In 1938 he married Kathryn Chaney, and in 1940 he completed his doctorate on George Bancroft again at the University of Wisconsin. Nye taught in the English Department at Michigan State University from 1941 to 1979.

In 1970, he cofounded the Popular Culture Association with Ray B. Browne and Marshall Fishwick, and the three worked to shape a new academic discipline that blurred the traditional distinctions between high and low culture, focusing on mass culture mediums like television and the Internet and cultural archetypes like comic book heroes.

He died in Lansing, Michigan, in 1993.