Studio Project

Under the Banner of Waverley

Immensely popular throughout the nineteenth century, the Waverley novels captivated public imagination as enthusiasts drew upon Walter Scott’s fictional histories and settled in new communities. From Virginia to the state of Washington, towns named Waverly appeared between 1830 and 1880—Waverly, Iowa was incorporated in 1859—as settlers established ports, canals, and railroads to access major waterways and undeveloped prairies. Waverly, Nebraska even named streets after Scott’s novels and characters! Clearly inspired by Scott’s ground-breaking novels, these communities provide unique insights into Midwest culture and American identity, particularly during the decades encompassing the Civil War and western migration.

Under the Banner of Waverley maps where and when the titular towns were founded, explores why the Waverley novels appealed to American readers, and illustrates how Scott’s legacy continues into the 21st century. Developed by Anne Stapleton (Associate Professor of Instruction, Dept. of English) in collaboration with Studio staff, this project draws upon interactive maps and an array of intriguing images.