- Guggenheim Fellow (1970)
Peter Boerner received his Doctor of Philosophy from the University Frankfurt am Main in Germany in 1954 and spent his postdoctoral year studying at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. Before coming to the U.S. to begin his teaching career, he was curator at the Goethe-Museum in Dusseldorf, Germany (1955-1958), and a resident director at the Stanford University Study Center in Beutelsbach, Germany (1958-1961). His first teaching position in the U.S. was as an assistant/associate professor of German at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1961-1964). He then taught at the State University of New York at Buffalo as an associate professor of modern languages (1964-1966) before returning to the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a professor of comparative literature (1966-1971). He began his career at IU Bloomington in 1971 as chair in German literature. He spent 23 years at IU before retiring as professor of comparative literature, Germanic studies and West European studies. He continued his research even after retiring. In 1995, he received the title of Professor Emeritus.
Boerner was a renowned Johann Wolfgang van Goethe researcher that published his works in a 45-volume paperback edition and wrote a biography of Goethe in German that has been translated into English and nine other Asian and European languages. Boerner was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in German and Scandinavian literature in 1970. He was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1967), Middlebury College (1968), and Yale University (second semester of 1977-1978); he was awarded research fellowships in Germany at the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbuttel (second semester of 1976-1977), at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld (1980-1981), and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin (1986-1987). He was also awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship (second semester of 1993-1994).
Boerner was a member of the Bloomington North Rotary Club and received the Emeritus Award from Greater Indiana Masters Swimming. The Inaugural Peter Boerner Memorial Faust Lecture was held at IU Bloomington in 2016.
Boerner passed away at his home in Bloomington on June 12, 2015.