For many years, both press and journal were under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr. and Robert Skinner. In 2011, the archives were moved from their original home in the library to the English Department, which is itself housed in the historic Administration Building.
In tribute to their many years of service, the new archive room was named in their honor.
The following article, by XRP managing editor Katheryn Laborde, appeared in The Literary Way, the newsletter of the Xavier University English Department (Dr. David Lanoue, editor).
Bonner & Skinner Repository Dedicated
Dr. Tom Bonner, Professor Emeritus and former Department Chair, and Mr. Bob Skinner, University Librarian, were pleased to learn that the Xavier Review/Xavier Review Press archive room has been named the Bonner & Skinner Repository in tribute to their many years of service to the press and journal.
At the surprise dedication ceremony, which kicked off the fall English Department Colloquium, Dr. Bonner and Mr. Skinner commented that they had each worked twenty years or more in the capacities of Executive Editor and Managing Editor, respectively. Dr. Bonner noted that the Review was started in order to pick up where the defunct Xavier University Studies had left off. Studies, a journal that was started in 1961 was, during its ten-year run, dedicated to arts, humanities, and social studies. In 1980, Dr. Bonner and African-American poet Charles Fort started Xavier Review with a focus on literature and culture. When Fort left, leaving Bonner at the editorial helm, Skinner's casual offer to help with production materialized into the position of Managing Editor.
Filling a new journal is hard work. Skinner said that they "scrounged around" for material and were rewarded with treasure. In the early years, the Review featured the writings of Andrew Salkey, Al Young, Tom Dent, Gordon Osing, Peter Cooley, Jerry Ward, and Lenard D. Moore, as well as interviews with Ernest Gaines, Walker Percy, Alex Haley, James Baldwin, Andre Dubus, and Elmore Leonard. The interest in Dubus would leave its mark on the press as it went on to publish a couple of books about the Catholic writer from Lake Charles, Louisiana. In addition, the Press published works from a variety of poets and other writers; the last work Dr. Bonner edited was a book on the work of Free Men of Color cabinet makers in the 1800s.
Mr. Skinner retired from his position in 2010, following Dr. Bonner, who had left the job of editing the Review and then the Press, a few years prior. Both continue under new leadership: Dr. Nicole Greene is looking forward to publishing a book about the landmark painting by Frederick J. Brown that is housed in the Xavier library and a collection of essays on Percival Everett; Ralph Adamo recently kicked off his first issue of Xavier Review, a volume that features the writing of novelist Nancy Lemann, among others.
The Bonner & Skinner Repository is located in the English Department.