Memorial Resolutions

Memorial resolutions are prepared following the death of emeritus and current faculty members. These memorial resolutions recognize and record the deceased faculty member’s achievements and contributions to the UW-Madison and become permanent records of the university upon their presentation to the Faculty Senate.

For more information and to look up memorial resolutions for faculty from other departments at University of Wisconsin-Madison, visit Secretary of the Faculty (Memorial Resolutions).

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Sewell, Richard Herbert - August 4, 2020

Faculty Document 3126
4 December 2023

Memorial Resolution of the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin–Madison
On the Death of Professor Emeritus Richard Herbert Sewell

Richard Herbert Sewell, Professor Emeritus of History, passed away on August 4, 2020, at Agrace Hospice in Madison at the age of 89. His beloved wife, Natalie (née Paperno)—an accomplished quilter—predeceased him.

“Dick,” as he was affectionately known by all who knew him, took his B.A. in history at the University of Michigan. After receiving his M.A. in history from Harvard, he spent over two years in the U.S. Navy, serving in the Pacific as an intelligence officer, before returning to Harvard for his Ph.D., which he achieved in 1964. He joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1965, gaining tenure in 1967 and promotion to full professor in 1974 before retiring in 1995.

Dick Sewell’s scholarship concentrated on the antebellum and Civil War periods, particularly the rise of political abolitionism, a subject whose tangled subtleties he masterfully brought to light. His first book covered the life of John P. Hale (1806-1873), congressman and senator from New Hampshire and a presidential candidate nominated by two different third parties. Hale, Sewell judged, exemplified a strain of moderate abolitionism that staunchly opposed the “peculiar institution” but insisted that it be dismantled by political means without violating the U.S. Constitution, which he revered. The biography challenged the prevailing view of abolitionism as primarily a moral movement and proved to be a springboard for his next book, Ballots for Freedom: Antislavery Politics in the United States, 1837-1860, the first modern comprehensive study of political antislavery’s evolution. Extolled at the time as the essential book on its subject, it continues to be regarded as a standard work in the field, largely because its argument issues from Sewell’s deep familiarity with the archival evidence. Sewell contended that an abhorrence to slavery and a commitment to promoting Black Americans’ civil rights consistently characterized the leadership of the Liberty, Free Soil, and Republican parties, even if at times they had to downplay one or another position for tactical reasons. Acknowledging that some political abolitionists were downright racist, Sewell argued that many of them harbored attitudes towards Blacks that were quite progressive, given the racial beliefs predominant among antebellum Whites. His willingness to judge historical participants by the standards of their times, not the present, was as controversial when the book was published as it is now. Moreover, Ballots for Freedom was an early book in bringing to light the nature and depth of the Slave Power Conspiracy as a fundamental element of the Republican Party and political antislavery more generally. The book is still the best synthesis of its subject after nearly fifty years.

Sewell’s final book highlighted his capacity to present judicious interpretations within an accessible narrative framework. Written for “The American Moment” series edited by his dear friend and UW colleague Stan Kutler, A House Divided: Sectionalism and Civil War, 1848-1865, managed within a mandated two hundred pages to both tell a coherent story about the war’s underlying causes as well as its unfolding—subjects usually treated separately—and advance an argument, an undertaking that many titles in the genre of historical surveys avoid. Against claims resonant in the scholarship that other issues, like nativism, were paramount in rending the nation, Sewell insisted on the primacy of slavery. His treatment of the war itself gave the Confederacy attention equal to the Union and spotlighted the experiences of Blacks, a typically evenhanded approach that explained the war’s revolutionary transformations of American life without shying from the racial dilemmas it continues to bequeath.

Dick loved teaching undergraduates. At a time when a chronological sequence of courses tracking U.S. history from the colonial period to the late twentieth century formed the backbone of the American curriculum, Dick regularly offered two of the mainstays: “the Age of Jefferson and Jackson, 1789-1848,” and “Civil War and Reconstruction, 1848-1877.” Unlike some colleagues, he gloried in teaching History 101, the American survey from 1607-1877. Students flocked to his lectures, and he won a long-deserved University Teaching Award in 1989.

Dick also mentored dozens of graduate students first as a model professional, an immensely decent person, a great teacher, and a stern and gifted editor. His students include many distinguished historians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in both academic and public history positions. Sewell never directed his students to topics he himself wished to see studied; he allowed his mentees to follow their instincts, always under his guidance. Above all, Dick read dissertations, and later other manuscripts, with care and editorial rigor. Dick did not seek fame nor fortune in a manner our profession sometimes fosters. But all of his students are eternally grateful that they taught with him, endured his red pencil, and strolled the Madison campus with him so many times.

Richard Sewell embodied the cliché of being “a gentleman and a scholar” in its highest form: an intellect who is also a totally admirable character. Esteemed by his academic peers for his contributions to one of the most contentious areas of American historiography, he was always unassuming and completely approachable. A master of his field, he never talked down to his students—undergraduate or graduate—but guided them with understanding and compassion. A paragon of integrity and common sense, he served the Department as chair between 1982-1985. The respect that he commanded from his colleagues can be gauged by the remark one of them made when asked by a subsequent incoming chair for advice about how to govern the proverbial herd of academic cats. A person on whose judgment, candor, and sense of responsibility to secure the department’s greater good the new chair could rely absolutely, replied the colleague, was Dick Sewell.

Memorial Committee
David Blight
Charles Cohen
John Sharpless

McCormick, Thomas J. - July 25, 2020

Faculty Document 3125
4 December 2023

Memorial Resolution of the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin–Madison
On the Death of Professor Emeritus Thomas J. McCormick

Thomas J. McCormick, Professor Emeritus of History, passed away on 25 July 2020 at the age of 87, comforted by his wife of 65 years, Jeri McCormick, and their family. On 7 August 2021, friends, colleagues, and students from around the world joined the family to honor Tom at Madison’s Concourse Hotel with a day of remembrance, celebration, and poetry.

Tom joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1970, after teaching at the University of Ohio and University of Pittsburgh. His intellectual roots at Wisconsin, however, went back to graduate school in the 1950s, where he studied with Fred Harvey Harrington and William Appelman Williams and explored groundbreaking ideas in conversation with fellow graduate students and lifelong friends Lloyd Gardner and Walter LaFeber. They together built a historiography that came to be known as the Wisconsin School of Diplomatic History, a re-interpretation of U.S. history as a story of expansionism, rooted in domestic concerns and political economy while playing out in an international arena. Their analysis was a remarkable departure from dominant narratives that had emphasized isolationism and exceptionalism, and that had considered imperial ventures before the Cold War as exceptions to the rule, or as roles thrust on the U.S.

Tom’s first book, China Market: America’s Quest for Informal Empire, 1893-1901 (Chicago,1967), contributed brilliantly to the new line of analysis. Elegantly written and prodigiously researched, China Market showed that the U.S. expansionist quest was neither a historical aberration, nor reducible to hubris or hysteria catalyzed by the War of 1898. Embodied in the myth of a China market to be conquered via market competition rather than direct colonial control, and in select takeovers of territories considered staging grounds (Hawaii, Wake, Guam, the Philippines), U.S. expansionism in the Pacific originated in an analysis of industrial production gluts and economic panic moments, especially the Panic of 1893. Policy makers saw expansionism as a remedy, indeed a necessity for domestic peace. What McCormick accomplished to reframe the history of U.S. expansionism in its Pacific context, he and his Wisconsin School colleagues, notably LaFeber, complemented with study of informal and formal imperialism in the Caribbean/Americas context.

Tom’s other important scholarly publications included a major reframing of Cold War history. America’s Half-Century: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Cold War (Baltimore, orig. 1987, rev. ed. 1995), traced the arc of the U.S. as a hegemonic power of capitalist world order, critiqued the limits of the nation-state as unit of historical analysis through dialogue with world-system theory, and presciently analyzed the strains of militarization and economic deregulation that gathered by the 1980s. Tom argued that these strains undermined the likely continuity of hegemony, in part by narrowing prosperity to a smaller slice of society. At a time when the transformation and crumbling of the Soviet Union encouraged visions of U.S. hegemony in perpetuity, McCormick’s book offered a trenchant critique and periodization.

Tom McCormick was a pioneering scholar with an acute intellect, but also so much more. His popular undergraduate lectures on U.S. foreign policy modeled how to build a compelling and elegant argument, step by step. As a graduate mentor, he provided a home of welcome and stimulation for students whose creativity, topics or dialogues with civic concerns drew them off the beaten path. He responded generously to demand for lectures across the globe, from Osaka University and Kyoto University in Japan, to University College-Dublin in Ireland, where he served as Distinguished Fulbright Lecturer in 1993-1994. He reveled in the accomplishments of others including his wife Jeri McCormick, a talented poet. As an interlocutor, he served up captivating stories and incisive comment on almost any topic – from the ins and outs of historiography to the ups and downs of international political economy, from the wonders of jazz and poetry to the fate of the Green Bay Packers.

Thomas J. McCormick was brilliant yet thoroughly unpretentious. Notwithstanding his accomplishments and acute intellect, he was less interested in impressing you than taking interest in you.

Memorial Committee
Thomas J. Archdeacon
Francisco A. Scarano
Steve J. Stern

Hollingsworth, J. Rogers - October 23, 2019

Faculty Document 2937
5 April 2021

Memorial Resolution of the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
On the Death of Professor Emeritus J. Rogers Hollingsworth

J. Rogers Hollingsworth, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died on October 23, 2019. He was 87.

Hollingsworth was born in the small town of Anniston, Alabama. He earned a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Emory University in 1954 and in 1960 a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago, where he worked with Walter Johnson in American politics, Daniel Boorstin in intellectual history, and William H. McNeil on western civilization. His first academic appointment was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty in the Department of History in 1964 and after 1985 also held an appointment in the Department of Sociology. He retired from Madison in 2000 but afterward accepted a series of Visiting Scholar appointments at the University of California, San Diego: at the Department of Physics’ Institute for Nonlinear Science over 2002-2010, the BioCircuits Institute over 2010-2018, and at the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind in 2019.

Hollingsworth’s work ranged over a very wide area of topics, including the dynamics of nation and state building, state-formation, varieties of economic governance and industrial policy, American hospitals and comparative health services, and the organizational bases of scientific discovery. His approach to all these topics was consistently materialist, historically informed and comparative, and always appreciative of the importance of institution forms and organizational routines in shaping social interests. Hollingsworth enjoyed the company and collaboration of an unusually wide range of U.S. and foreign scholars. From early in life to his end, his favorite collaborator was his beloved wife Ellen Jane, herself a distinguished social scientist.

Reflecting both his range of interests and indefatigability, Hollingsworth travelled widely in his research, not just in the U.S. and Europe but throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. During his time in Madison he was also a visiting scholar at a range of other universities and research centers, in the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden. Among his many honors, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Uppsala, Sweden in 1995 and from Emory in 1997. But the recognition that gave him most satisfaction was his 1996 election to the Presidency of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, which he helped start.

Among the hundreds of colleagues and thousands of students who knew him, Hollingsworth will be remembered not just for his many intellectual contributions and distinctive voice, but for his appetite for and fearlessness in inquiry, high standards of research, and sheer determination in getting a good unlocking explanation of whatever social puzzle he’d taken on. Many will also remember his steadfastness as a friend, his basic decency, his quiet but steady social activism, and his visceral loathing of injustice and bullying. Born and raised in a community and region of exceptionally violent economic oppression and racism, Hollingsworth never forgot that past or thought it dead. Aware of progress since and ever hopeful of more in the future, he had few illusions about people or this country but lots of love for both.

Hollingsworth is survived by his sister Lenora Brownlee, his wife of 62 years Ellen Jane Hollingsworth, their daughter Lauren, son-in-law Jeff Goldman, and grandchild Dashiell.

Karpat, Kemal - February 20, 2019

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2825
6 May 2019

Memorial Resolution of the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
On the Death of Professor Emeritus Kemal Karpat

Professor Emeritus Kemal Karpat passed away in Madison, Wisconsin on February 20th, 2019 at the age of 96. He received a state funeral from Turkey, and now lays to rest in Istanbul in the Fatih Mosque graveyard, the burial site of sultans and select Ottoman and Turkish dignitaries.

Kemal Karpat was born in Armutlu, Romania in 1923. He left Romania during World War II and went to Istanbul, where he studied law at Istanbul University. He graduated from law school in 1947. Professor Karpat then moved to Seattle, Washington and completed an MA in Political Science at the University of Washington, Seattle. He then moved to New York, in order to complete a Ph.D. in History at New York University. While in New York, he also worked as a staff researcher for Turkey’s delegation to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. He completed his Ph.D. in 1957 and took his first academic job at Montana State University. In 1962, he returned to New York, where he joined the History Department at New York University. In 1967, Karpat joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he spent the remainder of his career. For his immense contributions to Turkish and Ottoman history, he was awarded several honorary doctorates, as well as the Presidential Medal of Honor from the Republic of Turkey and the Medal of Freedom from his native Romania.

A giant in his field, Professor Karpat was a pioneer in the study of late Ottoman and modern Turkish history. It is difficult to think of a topic in these fields that has not been shaped by one of his dozens of books and hundreds of articles. In the middle of the Cold War, when the notion of an essentially static “Islamic civilization” still pervaded most writing on the Middle East, Professor Karpat was a leader in a generation of scholars who shifted attention toward a socioeconomic understanding of the region. His research helped define our understanding of topics ranging from the emergence of ethnic nationalism in the Balkans, to the rise of political Islam. Several of Professor Karpat’s monographs, including Turkey’s Politics: The Transition to a Multi-Party System; Ottoman Population: 1830-1914; and The Politicization of Islam: Reconstructing Identity, State, Faith, and Community in the Late Ottoman State, remain standard references for graduate students entering the field today. Professor Karpat also organized and contributed to numerous influential edited volumes, including The Ottoman State and Its Place in World History, and The Ottoman Past and Today’s Turkey. Professor Karpat’s publications bridged the artificial gap between Ottoman and Turkish Republican history, helping scholars understand the roots of modern Turkish politics in the social upheavals of the late Ottoman years.

In addition to his field-defining research, Professor Karpat was a leading figure in the establishment of professional Middle East Studies in North America. In 1966, he was one of 50 founding members of the Middle East Studies Association, of which he later served a term as president. In 1971, he was elected the founding president of the Turkish Studies Association, incorporated in Madison. The Association’s Bulletin, now the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association, is the leading journal in its field. Outside of academia, Professor Karpat was a policy advisor to both the Carter and Reagan administrations.

Until his retirement in 2004, Professor Karpat was known as an engaging and erudite lecturer. He taught generations of undergraduate students at UW-Madison. He also made enduring contributions to his field and profession by training graduate students. He directed dozens of doctoral students in his career, and many now hold important positions in Ottoman History in the United States, Turkey, and in other countries around the world. Additionally, he endowed a faculty position in Ottoman history at UW-Madison. Even in retirement, Professor Karpat remained active in his field, researching, publishing, delivering lectures, and editing the International Journal of Turkish Studies.

The History Department was fortunate to have had Professor Karpat as a colleague for four decades. He will be missed.

Kutler, Stanley I. - April 7, 2015

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2587
7 December 2015

Memorial Resolution of the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
On the Death of Professor Emeritus Stanley I. Kutler

Stanley I. Kutler, professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, passed away peacefully on April 7, 2015 in Madison. A member of the UW-Madison faculty for 32 years until his retirement in 1996, Kutler was also a public intellectual and a highly acclaimed teacher. He was a distinguished American constitutional and legal historian, endearing professor, and beloved colleague. Generations of students, both from the Department and from the Law School, where he also had an appointment, admired his dynamic and stimulating teaching. In his courses, he challenged them to critically question the real-life application of the Constitution and admonished them to view it, not as an infallible pronouncement, an artifact, but as an unfinished and deliberative democratic experiment. Many of those students continued to be his lifelong friends, seeking his sage advice and enlightening perspectives on history and current affairs decades after graduation.

Based on patient archival research, brilliant analysis, and elegant argumentation, Kutler’s scholarship cut a wide swath through American legal and constitutional history. His monographs tackled such subjects as the Dred Scott case (The Dred Scott Decision: Law or Politics?, 1967), the judiciary during Reconstruction (Judicial Power and Reconstruction Politics, 1968), the Supreme Court on property rights (Privilege and Creative Destruction: The Charles River Bridge Case, 1971), political trials (American Inquisition: Justice and Injustice in the Cold War, 1982), and the Watergate scandal (The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon, 1990; and Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes, 1997). To supplement his scholarship, he performed valuable service to the profession as author and editor of sourcebooks and encyclopedias, and as the founding editor of the influential journal Reviews in American History.

Despite this variety of research themes and scholarly activities, Kutler’s name would forever be associated with the Watergate affair and the figure of Richard Nixon. The Wars of Watergate, the definitive account, to date, of the affair that culminated in Nixon’s resignation, narrated the causes, contexts, and consequences of the worst scandal in American political history. It did not, however, end Kutler’s involvement with Watergate and in many ways launched for him a new phase. In 1992, he joined Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, in a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to force the release of the majority of conversations recorded in the Oval Office, which had not been made public during the Watergate hearings and prosecutions. Four years later, Kutler and his co-litigants won the release of more than 3,000 hours of the Oval Office recordings, some of which he transcribed with commentary in a highly praised book, Abuse of Power (1997).

Thus, despite the prodigious range of Kutler’s work on American legal and constitutional history, many came to associate him primarily with Watergate and Nixon. “I guess it’s my lot in life to be identified with Nixon,” he acknowledged in a 1998 interview. After retirement, he wrote a play, I Nixon, that enacts portions of the transcripts, exploring with them the former president’s personality and political missteps. He also collaborated with comedian Harry Shearer on a television program, “Nixon’s the One,” a series of vignettes based on the recordings.

Born in Cleveland on August 10, 1934, Kutler went to college at Bowling Green and graduate school at Ohio State, where he obtained his doctorate in 1960. As an undergraduate he had the good fortune to meet Sandra Sachs, a Cincinnatian who would be his life companion (the couple married in 1956). They had four children: Jeffrey (deceased), David, Susan, and Andy.

After short stints at Penn State and San Diego State, the family arrived in UW-Madison in 1964. Here, Kutler found a stimulating environment for his work in legal and constitutional history, a field that already had distinguished antecedents in Madison. At the time, the Department cultivated other critical traditions in American history, such as the Wisconsin School of Diplomatic History, which stimulated specialties like his. The Law School, his second home at the University, also complemented the Department in significant ways. It had a well-deserved reputation for the study of law and society, a standing Kutler’s work enhanced. Kutler particularly admired the work of James Willard Hurst, one of the founders of the field of legal history and the author of the seminal Law and the Conditions of Freedom in the Nineteenth Century United States (1956). With Hurst, as with many colleagues in both History and Law, Kutler forged a strong intellectual bond and an enduring friendship. Indeed, throughout his career he took advantage of the synergy between History and the Law School, as well as with other scholarly communities on campus. He always thought it was his good fortune to have worked in a stimulating History department, Law School, and University

In History, Kutler trained scores of students in American legal/constitutional history and related fields. Moreover, he enriched departmental life in multiple ways. Along with Mauri Meisner, he was a co-founder of the Harvey Goldberg Center for the Study of Contemporary History, dedicated to sustaining the intellectual and political values of that legendary historian. Kutler was crucial in organizing a worldwide fund-raising drive among Goldberg’s former students and admirers. The resulting fund helped to create the annual Harvey Goldberg Lecture in contemporary history, bringing progressive historians like William Appleman Williams and Howard Zinn to campus; revived Goldberg’s famous course on Contemporary Societies; joined with the Eugene Havens Center to organize a prestigious, international conference reexamining the Cold War epoch and its demise; provided financial assistance to other campus groups pursuing compatible projects; and archived transcripts and tapes of Goldberg’s lectures. Two decades after Kutler’s retirement, the Center remains a vital and viable part of the History Department.

Among his many endearing qualities, Kutler was a supportive and caring colleague. He took an interest in the younger members of the Department, providing valuable mentoring and support. He became a close friend to many. Those of us who had the good fortune of receiving his kindness will forever miss him.

Memorial Committee
Francisco A. Scarano
Thomas McCormick
Richard Sewell

Lindberg, David C. - January 6, 2015

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2587
7 December 2015

Memorial Resolution of the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
On the Death of Professor Emeritus David C. Lindberg

The son of a Christian fundamentalist preacher, David C. Lindberg grew up in Chicago and attended the nearby evangelical Wheaton College, where he majored in physics and met Greta Johnson, his future wife. After earning an M.S. in physics at Northwestern University (1959), he attended a National Science Foundation workshop, where the UW historian of medieval science Marshall Clagett inspired him to become a historian of science. After visiting the University of Wisconsin, Lindberg chose instead enroll in the graduate program at Indiana University, where studied with Edward Grant, a former student of Clagett’s. He earned his Ph.D. degree in 1965 and took up his first history of science position in the History department at the University of Michigan. After two years in Ann Arbor (1965–1967), Lindberg left for the University of Wisconsin, at which, despite several attempts to lure him away, he remained for the duration of his career.

A prolific author with more than a dozen books and scores of articles to his credit, Lindberg published on a wide range of topics, beginning with the early history of optics. His revised doctoral dissertation became his first book: John Pecham and the Science of Optics: Perspectiva communis (1970). His Theories of Vision from al-Kindi to Kepler (1976), an impressive example of cross-cultural history of over a long span of time, argued that Kepler’s solution to the problem of vision made no sense without an understanding of both the problem that Ibn al-Haytham had set up in eleventh-century Islamic civilization and complementary developments in the intervening medieval Latin tradition. In 1983 Lindberg capped his detailed studies of medieval science with an English translation and critical edition of Roger Bacon’s De multiplicatione specierum and De speculis comburentibus.

Lindberg shone in particular when writing synthetic overviews outside his expertise in medieval science. He sought to educate the broadest possible audience about the history of science generally. His most well-known achievement in this arena was The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 b.c. to a.d. 1450 (1992; rev. ed., 2008) a book which sold tens of thousands copies worldwide and translated into German, Dutch, Greek, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, and Korean.

Lindberg’s grandest vision for the field found expression in the eight-volume Cambridge History of Science (2003–), of which he served as general editor with Ronald L. Numbers. Shortly before Alzaheimer’s disease overtook him completely, he proudly held the second volume in the series, Medieval Science (2013), which he had coedited with Michael H. Shank.

Throughout his academic life Lindberg took special pride in his teaching. At the University of Wisconsin Lindberg was a star of the large lecture hall, where he taught more than twelve thousand undergraduates and won several distinguished teaching awards. He was a master of perfectly timed and accessible lectures. Later in his career, he ritually infused into them a half- time joke drawn from a list as canonical and regular as a high-church calendar. Although he did not like the unpredictability of the graduate seminar format, he mentored some nineteen doctoral students.

In 1982 the University of Wisconsin awarded him an Evjue-Bascom professorship. A decade later (1993) he received an even more distinguished Hilldale professorship. Among his many administrative duties, Lindberg served as chair of the History of Science department on several occasions and also served two terms as Director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities (1987–1993, 2002–2003), a scholarly center that had been founded by fellow historian of medieval science Marshall Clagett in 1959.

Beyond his teaching and administrative work for the UW, Lindberg contributed considerable time and energy to the History of Science Society, serving on its Council in 1970–1972 and again in 1981–1983 and 1992–1997. He was also elected President in 1994 for a two-year term. At various times he chaired the Local Arrangements Committee for the Annual Meeting, the Committee on Publications, the Committee on Meetings and Programs, and the Nominating Committee. In 1981 he co-chaired, with Ronald L. Numbers, the Annual Meeting Program Committee that, without funding or approval, launched the Society Lecture. In 1992 the Society elected him president for a two-year term (1994–1995). In recognition of his many contributions to the field, the History of Science Society in 1999 bestowed on him the Sarton Medal for lifetime scholarly achievement, his most treasured award.

Over the years he received many other honors as well. Among the most appreciated were an appointment in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1970–1971), a Guggenheim Fellowship spent at the University of Oxford (1977–1978), his election to fellowship in the Medieval Academy of America (1984), corresponding (1986) and full (1991) membership in the Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences, and a fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991).

In the mid-1990s the physically vigorous Lindberg fell victim to the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. As his memory failed, he continued to attend departmental colloquia and brown-bag seminars. On 6 January 2015, surrounded by his immediate family, he died peacefully at Covenant Oaks Memory Care in Madison. He is survived by his wife, Greta; his daughter, Christin Lindberg; his son, Erik Lindberg; and four grandchildren. Countless former colleagues, students, and friends have for some years been missing the Lindberg we knew—and now mourn his passing.

Memorial Committee
Michael H Shank
Ronald L. Numbers
Thomas H. Broman

Siegfrid, Robert - September 2, 2014

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2599
1 February 2016

Memorial Resolution of the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
On the Death of Professor Emeritus Robert Siegfrid

Robert Siegfried, a pioneering historian of science, died at age 93 on September 2, 2014. In 1952, Siegfried was one of the first two students to earn a Ph.D. for work in the history of science at the University of Wisconsin, and he returned to the University in 1963 as a faculty member of the History of Science Department, where he taught for more than twenty years until retiring in the mid-1980s as professor emeritus. Before returning to Wisconsin, he taught at Boston University, University of Arkansas, and the University of Illinois. In 1957, he was a founding member of the Midwest Junto of the History of Science Society.

Siegfried’s career as an historian of science began during the years after World War II when awareness that the world had entered the “atomic age” seemed to require a better understanding of the nature and importance of science in its historical and cultural contexts. The University of Wisconsin had established the country’s first History of Science Department shortly before the war, and after the war the department become a leader in the field. As chairman of the History of Science Department from 1964 to 1975, Siegfried helped to guide the department’s expansion with a keen sense of the significance of its mission. He is remembered by his colleagues for his qualities of honesty, openness, fairness, and mutual respect, which did much determine the character and success of the department.

Bob’s scholarly work focused upon the developments in the history of chemistry that culminated with John Dalton’s atomic theory. His study of this period produced several seminal articles as well as his post-retirement From Elements to Atoms. A History of Chemical Composition. With the geologist Robert Dott, Siegfried made available an edition of Humphry Davy’s 1805 geological lectures, and he also co-authored Concepts in Physical Science, a textbook. His courses probably covered a greater range of subjects than those of any other member of the department. His regular offerings included courses on the history of chemistry, science in the enlightenment, history of astronomy and cosmology, and “Newton, Darwin, and Freud.” Reflecting the times, Siegfried and David Lindberg created an undergraduate course during the 1970s entitled “Pseudo-science and the Occult,” which was taught jointly for a few years but was then continued by Siegfried himself. Siegfried believed that teaching was a critically important part of a professor’s duties that was often undervalued.

Siegfried’s Ph.D. at Wisconsin was awarded jointly by the History of Science and the Chemistry departments, and he remained committed to the idea that history of science was an interdisciplinary undertaking that required the insights of both scientists and historians. Science, itself, however, he believed was frequently misunderstood as a search for an ultimate “Truth.” To the contrary, he argued, it was the openness of science to new ideas that distinguished it from dogmatism. Encapsulating his own views, he frequently declared that the epigram, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” could be better put as “You shall search for the truth and the search shall make you free.” Siegfried’s views on the nature of science animated his teaching, and also led to his involvement in public debates about parapsychology, the Bermuda Triangle, and, especially, Creationism. In Siegfried’s view, the great merit of Darwinian evolution was simply that it “explained so much.”

In politics, Siegfried was a Democrat and in religion he was a Unitarian. As a graduate student, Siegfried joined Madison’s First Unitarian Society, and one of his most cherished memories was his role as a quarry-to-church “stone hauler” under the direction of Frank Lloyd Wright in the construction of Madison’s Wright-designed First Unitarian Society meeting house. After he returned to Madison as a professor, Siegfried rejoined the First Unitarian Society, which remained a center of his social life. For many years, he sang in the Unitarian Society choir. After retirement, and before the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, Siegfried volunteered at UW Hospital, taught Elderhostel classes, and was actively engaged in a variety of sports and hobbies. A celebration of Siegfried’s life was held at the First Unitarian Society Meeting House on May 2, 2015.

Robert Siegfried was born in Marietta, Ohio, on January 18, 1921 to Mary Crawford and Ernest Calvin Siegfried. His father, from whom Bob may have inherited an early taste for writing poetry, was a professor of English at Marietta College. Siegfried graduated from Marietta College and during World War II served as an instructor in flight and meteorology at the Glenview Naval Air Base. During the war, he married Rachel McCutchen, who was a laboratory technician in the Chemistry Department at the University of Oklahoma. Robert and Rachel Siegfried had four children: Margaret, Jean, John, and David. In 1974, Robert and Rachel separated and later divorced. In 1976, Robert Siegfried married Judith Richardson, a teacher.

Robert was predeceased by his first wife, Rachel, and is survived by his second wife, Judy, and by his four children.

Memorial Committee
Victor L. Hilts (chair)
Robert Dott
Daniel Siegel
Glenn Sonnedecker

Lerner, Gerda - March 3, 2014

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2474
3 March 2014


On January 2, 2013, Gerda Lerner, Robinson Edwards and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Senior Distinguished Research Professor Emerita of U.S. Women’s History, passed away in Madison, surrounded by her family. A refugee from Austria during World War II, she told her story in the memoir Fireweed published in 2002.

Born Gerda Kronstein in Vienna, Austria on April 30, 1920, Professor Lerner emigrated to the United States and ultimately settled into a happy marriage with the filmmaker Carl Lerner. Among her creative projects she published a novel, No Farewell, and co-wrote the screenplay for “Black Like Me,” directed by her husband. She was also a poet and in 2009, together with her friend and art photographer Sandy Wojtal-Weber, they self-published a book entitled In Praise of Aging. One of the founders of the field of Women’s History in the United States, Professor Lerner received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1966 and, after teaching at Sarah Lawrence for a number of years and founding a graduate program in Women’s History there, came to Madison in 1980 and founded the Program in Women’s History here. A prolific historian, she was the author of numerous books on women’s history, not only about the United States but more broadly. The recipient of countless awards and prizes, she received the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art in 1996 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998.

Gerda Lerner’s impact on the fields of U.S. History and Women’s History, on the lives of students and colleagues, and on the UW History Department, was immense. Among the ways she was described at a memorial event held in April 2013 was as “brave and outspoken and full of passion”; “a pathbreaker”; “an inspirational speaker whose implicit audience was always far broader than academia”. She was a supportive mentor who could also be demanding and sometimes harsh, but it was always in the interest of making people’s work better. She never forgot her roots as an activist, and “she was an example to all of us.” Graduate students who arrived in Madison after she had already retired noted that their work “would be virtually impossible without the discipline-shifting insights of Gerda Lerner.” A colleague who met her when she interviewed for the position here also made clear that, as someone who survived on the UW campus both before and after Gerda, there was no doubt that after Gerda was better.

Gerda enjoyed getting to know colleagues and students personally, and supporting them and their families. She greatly enjoyed keeping up with my two boys as they grew and became independent. We enjoyed numerous meals together over the years and, after my sons moved away, she always asked how they were.

A consistent part of any meal at Gerda Lerner’s house, at least between April and October, was a tour of her garden that was her pride and joy. Another way in which her love for nature emerged was in her avid dedication to hiking, and she would always convince you to take a walk with her when you visited.

Florencia Mallon

Hamerow, Theodore S. - February 3, 2014

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2462
3 February 2014


Theodore (Ted) S. Hamerow, G. P. Gooch Professor of History, who taught here from 1958 until his retirement in 1991, and who served as chair of the History Department from 1973 to 1976, died at his home in Madison on February 16, 2013.

Ted Hamerow was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1920. His parents were actors in the great Yiddish Vilna Troupe. When his parents immigrated to the United States in 1925, Ted remained with his grandparents in Poland and Germany before himself coming to New York in 1930.

Ted was educated in the city’s public schools and graduated from the City College of New York in 1942. He served in the U.S. Army in Europe from 1943 to 1946 in the infantry and then as a translator for the military police. After the war he earned a master’s degree at Columbia in 1947. Ted was then accepted into Hajo Holborn’s stellar program in modern German history at Yale, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1951.

Ted’s first jobs were brief stints at Wellesley and the University of Maryland’s program in Germany. In 1952 he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where he taught until 1958. In the mid-to-late 1950s, the UW History Department was making a major effort to strengthen its European area. In 1956 it hired George Mosse, and two years later it hired Ted Hamerow. Ted’s career at Wisconsin was stellar. He directed one of the largest doctoral programs in modern German history in the United States. He was also a compelling undergraduate teacher, with a style all his own. Ted did not use detailed lecture notes or maintain precisely the same lectures year after year. Instead, he prepared only a very brief outline for each lecture, which he then tore up once class was over.

In addition to being a fine teacher at the graduate and undergraduate levels, Ted was a remarkably productive scholar, publishing extensively as a specialist in the era of the unification of Germany. He was particularly interested in the study of social and economic forces and in fact was a pioneer in these areas. His first book was Restoration, Revolution, Reaction: Economics and Politics in Germany, 1815–1871 (1958), followed by the two-volume Social Foundations of German Unification, 1858–1871 (1969, 1972), which solidified his reputation as a scholar of the first order. He went on to produce a total of ten works in eleven volumes, as well as co-authoring a textbook, and publishing four other edited or co-edited books. His interests extended beyond Imperial Germany. In Reflections on History and Historians (1987) Ted analyzed the current structure and problems of the historical profession and the declining place of history in culture and education, and he proposed several reforms. His 1990 book, From the Finland Station: The Graying of Revolution in the Twentieth Century, was a comparative analysis of the revolutionary process in Russia, China, Cuba, and Vietnam.

Retirement little diminished the pace of his research and publication. Among the notable books that he published after his teaching career ended was On the Road to the Wolf’s Lair: German Resistance to Hitler (1997), which focused on the conservative opposition to Hitler. At the age of 88 Ted brought forth Why We Watched: Europe, America, and the Holocaust (2008), a new examination, based extensively on primary research, of the policies and attitudes of Allied governments and institutions during the Holocaust. He also published a memoir of his earliest years, Remembering a Vanished World: A Jewish Childhood in Interwar Poland (2001).

Ted was active in service to the profession and in public service, among other things as chair of the Modern European History Association of the AHA in 1978 and later as a member of the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1992 to 2008. He was the founding president of the Wisconsin Association of Scholars and was also one of the founders of The Historical Society, which makes an award annually in his name for the best dissertation in European history.

Ted was a firm and passionate believer in free speech and in maintaining fair and objective standards, and he believed that historians had the responsibility to carry out new research and speak the truth, as they saw it, irrespective of current fads or politics. He had the courage to speak eloquently, passionately, and forthrightly on behalf of his principles, if need be as part of a small minority.

Ted is survived by his wife, Diane, two daughters, two stepsons, two grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren.

James S. Donnelly
Richard Leffler
Stanley G. Payne

Narain, Avadh Kishore - February 3, 2014

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2466
3 February 2014 


Avadh Kishore Narain, an internationally renowned historian, archaeologist, numismatist, and authority on Buddhism in ancient India and Central Asia, passed away on the 10 July 2013, at his home in Varanasi, Bihar, India. During a long and distinguished academic career, he shaped the study of Indo-Greeks around the world, attracting, influencing, and mentoring generations of scholars and forging life-long scholarly linkages and personal friendships with scholars on several continents. His later research, focused on peoples of Central Asia who followed the Yavanas (Indo-Greeks), especially on the Indo-Sythians (Sakas), Indo-Parthians, and the Yue-Zhi or Kushanas during the reign of Kanishka, was path-breaking, both empirically and conceptually, providing new ideas for current and future research.

Narain was born in 1925 in Gaya, Bihar – near Bodh-Gaya, the birthplace of Buddhist Enlightenment – and grew up on Sarnath and Varanasi, about 160 miles east, where he spent most of his adult life. In 1947, he was awarded his first Post-Graduate Degree in Ancient Indian History, Culture, and Archaeology by Banaras Hindu University (BHU), securing the first of the University and Dayaram Sahni Gold Medal. In 1954, he completed his Ph.D. at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, under the direction of A. L. Basham. His most famous work, The Indo-Greeks (OUP, 1957), challenged ideas of Sir William W. Tarn (d. 1957). His long association with his alma mater in Varanasi continued for the rest of his life. He held the Manindra Chandra Nandi Chair of Ancient Indian History & Culture (AIHC) & Archaeology at BHU; became Head of the Department of AIHC&A; Principal of the College of Indology; Dean, Faculty of Arts; and Director of Archaeological Excavations and Explorations. He also had visiting research fellowships and professorships at, SOAS, London; Macalaster College, MN; Visvabharati, Shantiniketan, W. Bengal; the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton; the Institute for Research in the Humanities, UW-Madison; Columbia University and New York University. Other awards and honors included the Holkar Fellowship; the Chakravikrama Gold Medal; Campbell Gold Medal for Life Time Achievements in Ancient History; grants from the Ford, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller Foundation; elections as Life Fellow of Royal Numismatic Society, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and Honorary Member of the International Association of Buddhist Studies.

A.K. Narain’s earliest connection with UW came in 1964, with his help, collaboration and sponsorship of the UW College-Year-In-India at BHU, Varanasi. In 1971, he was appointed Professor of History & South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During the next seventeen years, he inspired and trained generations of graduate students, many of whom themselves went on to occupy professorships in prestigious universities. He also served as Chair of the Buddhist Studies Program at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison. After taking early retirement in 1988, he was made Professor Emeritus of History and of Languages and Cultures.

Returning to Varanasi, Professor Narain founded and served as first director of the Bikkhu J. Kashyap Institute of Buddhist and Asian Studies at BHU. Among manifold contributions to organizing research his field throughout the world, he became editor, or founder-editor, of seven academic journals: (1) Bharati: Research Bulletin of the College of Indology (BHU); (2) Puratattva: Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of India (which he founded); (3) Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (which he co-founded); (4) Journal of Indian Buddhist Studies; (5) The Indian Journal of Asian Studies; (6) Asia Prashant: Journal of the Indian Congress of Asian and Pacific Studies; and (7) The Indian International Journal of Buddhist Studies. During his last years, he was engaged in work on his most ambitious project: Kurush to Kanishka – A Millennium of Early History of Asia without Nation-State Boundaries: Movements and Interactions of Peoples, Ideas, and Institutions. Some volumes of documentary history in this project are complete and at various stages in the publication process. He strongly believed in “connected histories” and his writings all exhibit a marked tendency toward a focus that blend elements both Indian and non-Indian.

During his long academic career, Professor A. K. Narain’s knowledge and scholarly expertise left an imprint both deep and wide. His influence on scholars and students was such that some have banded together to produce two commemorative volumes. The first, a special 2014 issue of the Indian Jounal of Buddhist Studies, is being organized and edited by Dr. Roger Jackson, John W. Nason Professor of Asian Studies & Religion, Carleton College, MN, and Dr. Lalji ‘Shravik’, Professor of Pali & Buddhist Studies, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. The second volume reflects Professor Narain’s interest on “India and the ‘Other’” (scheduled for 2015), is being produced by Dr. Kamal Sheel, Professor of Chinese Studies a BHU; Dr. Charles Willemen, Professor and Distinguished Fellow of the Belgian Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences and (currently) Vice-Rector of the International Buddhist College, Sogkhla, Thailand; and Dr. Kenneth Zysk, Professor and Head of Indology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Preceded in death by his first wife, Sudha, who passed away early, his parents, and four sisters, A.K. Narain is survived by his second wife, Usha, two sisters, five children and nine grandchildren: (1) son Kamal Sheel (at BHU, Varanasi), Kamal’s wife Ranjana Sheel, and grandchildren Siddhath Sheel and Aditi Sheel; (2) daughter Madhu Saxena Madhu Saxena (Atlanta, Georgia), Madhu’s husband Ashok Saxena (Univ. of Arkansas) and grandchildren Rahul Saxena and Anjali Saxena; (3) Anand Sheel (Saratoga, CA), Anand’s wife Vandana Sheel, and grandchildren Sonali, Nikhil, and Shreya; (4) daughter Madhunanda Prasad (San Jose, CA), her late husband Madhurendra Prasad and grandchild Ruchi Prasad; (5) daughter Madhukanta Kumar (NewYork City), her husband Birendra Kumar, and A.K.’ s grandchild Gautam Kumar.

Meisner, Maurice J. - April 8, 2013

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2408
8 April 2013


Maurice Meisner, the Harvey Goldberg professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died on January 23, 2012 at the age of 80. Acclaimed by another prominent scholar of China as “one of the foremost historians of our time,” Meisner’s path-breaking books and articles on contemporary Chinese history not only became standard works in the field, but infused a score of PhDs with his own enthusiasm and high standards.

Born in 1931, he grew up in depression-era Detroit, spent two years at Wayne State University and then transferred to the University of Chicago. Bypassing the BA, he was admitted by examination directly into the graduate program, where he earned his MA in l955 and his PhD in l962. After teaching five years at the University of Virginia, he joined the UW-Madison history department in 1968, retiring in 1996. In the course of his career, he benefited from and was honored by research fellowships by Harvard’s East Asian Research Center, the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavior Sciences at Palo Alto, the American Council of Learned Societies, the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Chinese Studies, the University of Michigan’s Center for Chinese Studies, the Social Science Research Council, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities. He capped his distinguished career in 1999 with his selection as visiting centennial professor at the London School of Economics.

Meisner’s nine books on the intellectual and political history of the Chinese revolution focused on the theory and practice of socialism, marxism, utopianism and Maoism. Both a committed democratic socialist and a critically rigorous historian, he chronicled and minutely dissected the triumphs, contradictions and evolution of the revolution from his first book on its 1910s anti-imperialist origins in his Li Ta-chao and the Origins of Chinese Marxism to his penultimate book on its ironic late-20th century mutation into bureaucratic capitalism in his The Deng Xiaoping Era: An Inquiry into the Fate of Chinese Socialism. His classic overview, however, was his Mao’s China: A History of the People’s Republic. About it, the journal Foreign Affairs presciently wrote: “Of the thousands of books written about contemporary China, only a few will stand the test of time. This is one of them.” Twice revised in new editions and translated into seven languages, including Chinese, Japanese and Korean, it was long a standard text in the field. Even its 3rd edition, Mao’s China and After, published in 1996, remains important because it not only updated the time frame, but made significant revisions in Meisner’s own thinking, reflecting both new information and his own intellectual rigor and honesty. Fascinated by both the ideals and theory of China’s revolution, he could nonetheless be bitingly critical of its practice, be it the cult of Mao and utopian excesses on the left or the cronyism, corrupted ideals and one-party capitalism of the Deng era on the right.

A respected and responsible citizen of the history department, Meisner served for most of two decades on its pivotal planning committee and chaired or served on nearly a dozen search committees. His major contribution, however, was as founder and chair of the Goldberg Center for the Study of Contemporary History. A longtime friend of Harvey Goldberg, the department’s legendary and charismatic lecturer, Mauri and his wife, Lynn Lubkeman, took Harvey into their home and gave him care, comfort and friendship during the late stages of his battle against colon cancer. On his death, Goldberg put a small portion of his estate under Meisner’s direction to be used to sustain Harvey’s legacy and its political and intellectual goals. To that end, Meisner wrote the initial proposal for the Goldberg Center, secured its approval as part of the department’s organizational structure and, helped by Stan Kutler, organized a worldwide fund-raising drive among Goldberg’s former students and admirers to augment the original bequest. The resulting fund yielded multiple and varied benefits as it: helped to create the annual Harvey Goldberg Lecture in Contemporary History, bringing progressive historians like William Appleman Williams and Howard Zinn to campus; revived Goldberg’s famous course on contemporary societies, first as a lecture class headed by Tom McCormick and later as an honors seminar taught by Meisner himself; brought a host of eminent scholars from around the country to participate in that course; joined with the Eugene Havens Center to organize a prestigious, international conference reexamining the Cold War epoch and its demise; provided financial assistance to other campus groups pursuing compatible projects; and archived transcripts and tapes of Goldberg’s lectures. A decade and a half after Meisner’s retirement, the Goldberg Center remains a vital and viable part of the history department.

While soft-spoken and often self-deprecating, Meisner’s sharp, ironic wit, incisive analysis and encyclopedic knowledge made him a popular teacher, especially in the heyday of undergraduate interest in the Chinese revolution. It was in his graduate seminars, however, where he made his greatest mark, successfully directing a near score of doctoral students in a field made especially difficult by the demands of language acquisition, long-distance travel, extended stays in different cultures and the shifting currents of available financial aid. Revered for his liberal approach in letting students follow their own interests, not his, Meisner’s students have now carved out distinguished careers of their own in America, Asia and Europe. Fiercely loyal and devoted to him intellectually and personally, they organized a four-day conference in his honor in 2009 entitled “Reflections on History and Contemporary Change in China Before and After Tiananmen.” Those conference presentations, in turn, became the basis of an edited book in 2011 entitled Radicalism, Revolution and Reform in Modern China: Essays in Honor of Maurice Meisner.

Professor Meisner is survived by his wife, Lynn Lubkeman, his son Matthew and three children by his first marriage, daughter Anne and sons William and Jeffrey.

Thomas J. McCormick

Herbst, Jurgen F.H. - January 12, 2013

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2401
4 March 2013


Professor Herbst’s long and distinguished career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison extended from 1966 until his retirement in 1994. Across those years, Jurgen grew in stature to become one of the foremost academicians writing on the history of education, focusing on both the United States and Germany. His rigorous research and scholarship helped to establish this field on a firm foundation, bringing newfound respect to what had often previously been considered as matters of secondary importance. His many well-regarded works and the range of his professional activities enhanced the tradition of excellence which has characterized UW-Madison as a leader in the production of scholars and teachers in the discipline of history, and in doing so he forged what are now strongly rooted ties between the UW School of Education and the College of Letters and Science.

Professor Herbst was born in Wolfenbuttel, Germany in 1928. In 1948, he received a fellowship from the American Friends Service Committee to study at the University of Nebraska, where he received a bachelor’s degree in geography (1950). Subsequently, he received a master’s degree in American studies from the University of Minnesota (1952) and his PhD from Harvard University’s program in the history of American civilization (1958). Prior to his arrival at UW-Madison, Professor Herbst was an assistant and associate professor at Wesleyan University, where he chaired the school’s American studies program while teaching courses in history and education. During that time, between 1959 and 1966, he was also a visiting lecturer in history at Yale University (1962-1964) and a Fulbright lecturer in American civilization at the University of Heidelberg in Germany (1963).

Personally recruited to the University of Wisconsin-Madison by noted historian Merle Borrowman, Professor Herbst joined the Department of Educational Policy Studies (EPS) in 1966, with a joint appointment in the Department of History. Borrowman was instrumental in creating the EPS department in 1964, seeking to create within the School of Education a multidisciplinary unit committed to the study of education issues broadly conceived, especially in terms of highlighting the social, economic, and political factors (past and present) which shape educational policy. Jurgen was a perfect choice for the new program, having already demonstrated unique insights into American educational history, combined with a cosmopolitan understanding of European influences. Over the years, along with colleagues such as John Palmer, Carl Kaestle, Sterling Fishman, and Herb Kliebard, the EPS department developed an enviable reputation for outstanding scholarship in the field of the history of education, simultaneously building bridges across the UW campus.

Professor Herbst was a prolific writer, authoring seven books and literally dozens of book chapters, journal articles, essay and book reviews, and research reports. Among his best-known and most influential works are: The German Historical School in American Scholarship: A Study in the Transfer of Culture (1965); From Crisis to Crisis: American College Government, 1636–1819 (1982); And Sadly Teach: Teacher Education and Professionalization in American Culture (1989); The Once and Future School: Three Hundred and Fifty Years of American Secondary Education (1996); and Requiem for a German Past: A Boyhood among the Nazis (1999). Professor Herbst was well-known for the rigor and intellectualism of his teaching, and he was regarded as “generous and kind . . . taking a personal interest in each student.” He was also a devoted proponent of the “Wisconsin Idea,” presenting on public radio lectures in the history of education while crisscrossing the state conducting public lectures and seminars. Among his many professional and service activities, Professor Herbst was a member of the National Academy of Education, president of the History of Education Society, chairman of the International Standing Committee for the History of Education, and chair of the City of Madison Ethics Board.

Professor Herbst was married to Susan Lou Allen Herbst for almost 61 years, ending with her death in
2012. He is survived by his two daughters, Stephanie and Anne Herbst, his son Kris, and one

Michael Fultz

Boyer, Paul - March 17, 2012

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2377
3 December 2012


Paul Boyer, Merle Curti professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, passed away on March 17, 2012. A scholar of tremendous range and curiosity, he traversed virtually the entire chronology of American history, writing about subjects as diverse as early American political rhetoric and the Branch Davidians. His books dealt most centrally with intellectual, cultural and religious reactions to social dislocation and perceived moral decay: the Salem witch panic of 1692 (Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft, co-authored with Stephen Nissenbaum, 1974); nineteenth- and twentieth-century movements to fight vice, whether by conforming city dwellers’ mores and behavior to reformers’ moral visions (Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820–1920, 1978) or by bowdlerizing texts (Purity in Print: Book Censorship in America from the Gilded Age to the Computer Age, 2nd ed., 2002; orig. 1968); and post-1945 confrontations with the possibility of mass extinction, whether from nuclear annihilation (By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age, 1985) or the Apocalypse (When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, 1992). Nominated for a National Book Award and given the American Historical Association’s Dunning Prize, Salem Possessed transformed the study of New England witchcraft, but Boyer’s oeuvre overall is distinguished less for its argumentative precocity than for its meticulous research, attention to nuance, the integrity of its interpretations, and an abiding concern with the effects of moral judgments both in and on history.

Born on August 2, 1935, Boyer grew up in Dayton, Ohio, attending a mission of the Brethren in Christ Church that his grandfather founded, an institution whose early history he chronicled in his most personal work, Mission on Taylor Street (1987). Although he eventually left the church, his background allowed him to exposit religious viewpoints—even those he strongly questioned—with clarity and insight, while its Mennonite values informed the lifelong commitment to pacifism that inspired Fallout: A Historian Reflects on America’s Half-Century Encounter with Nuclear Weapons (1998). A declared conscientious objector, he served two years in UNESCO’s International Voluntary Work Camps in Paris before matriculating at Harvard, where he received his AB (1960), MA (1961) and PhD (1966). While a graduate student, he became an assistant editor for Notable American Women (3 vols., 1971), a signal contribution to the then-emerging subject of women’s history. Assessing the compendium’s status years later, his
UW-Madison colleague Gerda Lerner, one of the field’s foremost founders, remarked that he should be acknowledged as a fellow pioneer. In 1967, he took a position at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, moving to UW-Madison in 1980. He retired from the faculty in 2002 but not from scholarship, for he continued to edit the “Studies in American Thought and Culture” series for the University of Wisconsin Press, deliver invited lectures, contribute to both academic and popular journals, and serve as an expert consultant for the media, especially on the subjects of nuclear culture and biblical prophecy.

Boyer’s research earned him an array of academic honors: Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships; election to the American Antiquarian Society, the Society of American Historians, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; dozens of invited lectures across the United States and Europe; and visiting appointments at UCLA, Northwestern University (where he was Henry Luce visiting professor of American culture), SUNY-Plattsburgh (as distinguished visiting professor), and, in retirement, the College of William and Mary. Professional organizations, granting agencies and presses such as the American Antiquarian Society, Syracuse University Press, and the Wisconsin Humanities Council eagerly sought his counsel. He once chaired the program committee of the Organization of American Historians, sat on its executive board, and joined the Journal of American History’s board of editors.

Boyer fulfilled his teaching and service functions at the university with the same distinction he brought to his research. His two-semester sequence on American intellectual history always filled to capacity, and his graduate seminar on the same topic helped anchor the U.S. history graduate program for two decades. He mentored twenty-two students for the MA and twenty-four for the PhD, guiding them through topics across the realm of his capacious interests. His academic concern with print culture—he co-edited Religion and the Culture of Print in Modern America for UW Press in 2008—underwrote his commitments to the UW Press Committee (which he chaired), the Silver Buckle Press Advisory Board, and the Wisconsin Center on the History of Print Culture, whose advisory board he ran for five years. Most importantly, he directed the Institute for Research in the Humanities between 1993 and 2001.

Boyer’s intellectual breadth made him an ideal editor for general references like The Oxford Companion to United States History (2001), and a writer of textbooks. He authored two by himself—Promises to Keep: The United States Since World War II and The American Nation—and collaborated on two more—The American Nation in the Twentieth Century and The Enduring Vision. He was engaged in revising the latter book, among other projects, when a sudden diagnosis of terminal cancer and rapidly declining health precipitated his determined effort to fulfill all his near-term commitments, including the completion of American History (2012) for the “Very Short Introduction” series published by Oxford University Press. Boyer’s mastery of his field allowed him to narrate American history from the Anasazi to Obama in 138 pages, achieving brevity without sacrificing cogency.

As the end approached, he confided that, although updating paragraphs that he had tended so often for textbook revisions might seem utterly inconsequential given the circumstances, he still found the task utterly absorbing. This dedication to scholarship underwrote his accomplishments as a historian; such equanimity in the face of death marks his measure as a man.

Charles L. Cohen

Sella, Domenico - March 8, 2012

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2342
7 May 2012


Domenico Sella, professor emeritus of economic history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died on Thursday, March 8, 2012. He was born November 16, 1926 in Milan and took his Laurea at the University of Milan in 1949. He grew up speaking French and German as well as Italian, so he studied English. English would first take him on a fellowship to De Pauw University, then to the University of Notre Dame (Indiana), where he was invited to take a master’s degree in history (1951). His facility in English led his doctoral advisor to suggest the oeuvre of the American historian of Christianity, Kenneth Latourette, as the focus of his dissertation, for which he received his doctorate from the University of Milan in 1954. Before moving permanently, as it turned out, to the United States in 1960, he was a Rockefeller Fellow (1957-59) and a British Council Fellow at the London School of Economics (1959-60). Although Italian remained his most beloved language—the language he spoke with his family to the very end of his life—English set early steps in his career.

While at Notre Dame, Sella decided to become a historian. The year after completing his dissertation, he was called to Venice to work as a postdoctoral fellow under the direction of Carlo Cipolla. With support from the Fondazione Ca’Foscari, he began research in the Archivo di Stato that was far removed from his dissertation: on the early modern Venetian economy. This became his second book, Commerci e industrie a Venezia nel secolo XVII (1961), which qualified the then-beloved notion of a “rise of the Atlantic economies” by proving that the Mediterranean basin did not necessarily decline. It proved to be the first of a series of works, grounded in meticulous and original research in the archives of northern Italy, that would reshape the history of early modern Italy and the economic history of early modern Europe.

He arrived in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1960 to take up a newly created probationary position, a joint appointment in both history and economics at the University of Wisconsin. Three years later in 1963, he was tenured, and in 1967 was promoted to full professor. He remained at Wisconsin for his entire career, retiring in 1995. One of his favorite stories was of a Lutheran undergraduate who thought that Sella, a Catholic, had offered a “pretty good lecture on Luther.”

In 1966-67, Sella was a visiting professor at the Universitá L. Bocconi in Milan, on a fellowship from the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. Seven years after his study of Venetian commerce and industry, he published his study of labor in the Po Valley, Salari e lavoro nell’edilizia Lombarda nel secolo XVII (1968). Explaining in terms of corporative organizations, labor recruitment and by-employments the divergent movements of nominal and real wages, the former holding steady, the latter falling steadily in the seventeenth century, he demonstrated the need to embed economic life in social relations and institutions. Once again, Sella plumbed little used archival collections and asked questions far ahead of the field: in his study of Venice about commercial competition for eastern goods, and in this study about wages in early modern Italy.

When Cipolla took over the Fontana Economic History of Europe (1974), he asked Sella to write the article, “European Industries, 1500–1700.” The volume remains a foundation for economic history; the article remains unsurpassed in its clarity and in its mastery of labor, production, raw materials and commerce.

He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in 1971-72 and the Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Professor at the University of Pittsburgh in 1977. In 1979, he published Crisis and Continuity: The Economy of Spanish Lombardy in the Seventeenth Century, for which he won the Howard R. Marraro Prize of the American Historical Association. As the title suggests, Sella took up the then-prevalent model of “general crisis” for the seventeenth century and, through research into the countryside—which had hardly figured in either seventeenth-century history or Italian early modern history—raised fundamental questions about it. While the fiscal policies of Spanish authorities and urban guilds contributed to an undeniable decline of urban economies in Northern Italy, the rural economy—both industrial and agricultural— remained undeniably vigorous. Even Spanish attempts at “refeudalization” failed to weaken growth but reinvigorated the economy. The crisis was by no means general.

In 1997, he published for Longman, Italy in the Seventeenth Century, now in its sixth edition. Intended as a textbook, it remains a key work for anyone wishing to study the topic.

In 2009, Sella published a collection of some of his articles, Trade and Industry in Early Modern Italy. These are gems of concision, the kind of mastery of historiography and sources that allows precise, clear statements. And they demonstrate the breadth of his knowledge of “economy”: international trade, the wool, silk, paper, and iron industries—each of which had different raw materials, different organizations of labor, different processes of production—spinning wheels and energy, wages for artisanal and agricultural labor, land tenure, famine and war.

In the course of his long and productive career, Sella shed light on a hitherto little studied region of early modern Europe, the Lombard and Venetian countrysides of the seventeenth century. He belongs to an extraordinary generation of historians—Carlo Cipolla, Richard Goldthwaite, Roberto Lopez and Harry Miskimin—who together so transformed our understanding of the economy and society of early modern Europe.

His wife, Annamaria, died in 2002. He is survived by his older brother, Francesco, in Lausanne, and his sister, Cristiana, in Milan; his four children, Barbara, Monica, Antonio and Roberto; and ten grandchildren.

Lee Palmer Wandel

Kingdon, Robert - December 3, 2010

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2285
3 October 2011


Robert McCune Kingdon, Hilldale professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died on Friday, December 3, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. He shaped the study of the Reformation both in the United States, where he served as beloved mentor to generations of scholars, and in Geneva, where he formed lifelong friendships, building scholarly and personal bridges between that city and American scholars. His own work, on Geneva and the French Reformation, was methodologically and conceptually path-breaking.

Born in Chicago, Illinois on December 29, 1927, Bob Kingdon spent his first twelve years in Hawaii, where he grew up barefoot. He graduated summa cum laude in 1949 from Oberlin College, and in the fall of that year, entered the graduate program in history at Columbia University, completing his MA the next year and his PhD in 1955, under the direction of Gerald Mattingly. For his dissertation, he posed what he called a hypothesis, on how the Reformation spread from John Calvin, in Geneva, outwards into France and elsewhere. To test that hypothesis, he went to Geneva, a place, Mattingly warned him, of no good restaurants. The product of that research, published as his first book, Geneva and the Coming of the Wars of Religion in France, 1555–1563 (Droz, 1956; fiftieth anniversary edition, 2007), detailed how ideas moved in the sixteenth century from a center of Reformation to isolated, persecuted communities. It was followed by Geneva and the Consolidation of the French Protestant Movement, 1564–1571 (Geneva and Madison, 1967). In total, he published six monographs and twelve edited volumes. In 1988, Kingdon published another path-breaking book, Myths about the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacres, 1572–1576 (Harvard University Press), which again drew upon his extraordinary archival knowledge to build a picture of the working of Reformation polemics. In 1995, he published Adultery and Divorce in Calvin’s Geneva (Harvard University Press), which offered some of the earliest findings from his work in the Registers of the Consistory of Geneva, overthrowing familiar clichés, as he so loved to do, with the substantial details culled from reading the sources. In these publications, a new sense of Calvin and Geneva emerged, of a supple disciplinary body, the Consistory, and of a man of considerable political skills who simultaneously revealed deeply humane pastoral concerns and a crystalline vision of morality.

Kingdon was one of the first American historians of the Reformation to go to the archives. His influence on the field is inseparable from his intimate and singular knowledge of the Genevan archives. In his own written work, he modeled history as he believed it should be written: whatever theory one might be testing, historians are bound by their sources; they must know those sources, have a mastery of them linguistically and contextually, and their interpretation must respect those sources, their voices, their perspectives. This deep respect for the voices of the past he taught his students. If there is a Kingdon school, this distinguishes them: “You must go to the archives” to answer any question.

From his commitment to archival research arose the last major project of his life, the publication of the Registers of the Consistory, the disciplinary body Calvin helped to found, first in their original language and then translated into English. In collaboration with Librairie Droz in Geneva, and working with a staff of editors, Kingdon was working through the registers from their beginning. He had raised the funds, much of it his own, to ensure the completion of the project after his death.

He began teaching at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1952. In 1957, he moved to the University of Iowa, where he was tenured. In 1965, he joined the history department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as full professor. As one colleague said of Kingdon’s teaching, the lecture platform was to Bob what the telephone booth was to Clark Kent. In 1974, he was appointed a permanent member of the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, serving as its director from 1975 to 1987. As director, Kingdon brought in major European historians who participated in his graduate seminars, fostering international conversations. He was still overseeing dissertations when he retired in 1998, in total some 34 on topics that ranged more widely than any other historian on either side of the Atlantic: on Reformation France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Scotland and England, the Reformed tradition, Martin Luther, the Catholic Church and the Catholic Reformation, women’s history, and social, political, and religious history.

Kingdon was among the most celebrated of historians of the Reformation, both for the quality of his work and because he was beloved. He held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (1960–61), the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton (1965–66), and the Guggenheim Foundation (1969–70). He was awarded a Forschungspreis from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung in Germany (1992–94). He served as president of the Society for Reformation Research (1970–71) and of the American Society of Church History (1980). He helped found the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, consciously non-denominational and ecumenical. He served many years as the editor of the SCSC journal, the Sixteenth-Century Journal, which offered dozens of younger scholars their first opportunity to publish. In 1988, he was awarded a Hilldale Professorship, the highest endowed chair of the university, and in 1992 was accorded the Hilldale Award in the Humanities, the university’s highest recognition.

It would not, however, be a fitting tribute to the man, were it not to include one of those wonderful details he so treasured. Bob collected miniature penguins. In high school, he had been nicknamed “Penguin,” and it was so like him to take a joke at his own expense and turn it into a source of glee.

Robert Kingdon is survived by his sister, Anna Carol Dudley of Berkeley, California, his brothers, Henry Shannon Kingdon of Dublin, California and Drummond, Wisconsin, John Wells Kingdon of Washington, D.C., Arthur McAfee Kingdon of Vassalboro, Maine, and ten nieces and nephews.

Lee Palmer Wandel

Boydston, Jeanne - November 1, 2008

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2233
7 February 2011


Jeanne Boydston, Robinson-Edwards professor of American history, died on November 1, 2008, six weeks after she was diagnosed with lung cancer. A leading historian of women and gender in the early American republic, Jeanne began her studies as a scholar of English and American literature. She received a BA and master’s degree in English from the University of Tennessee, where she wrote a master’s thesis on Edith Wharton. Deeply engaged in the civil rights and feminist movements, she worked at the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the mid-1970s. There she dedicated herself to cultivating the educational equality promised to girls by Title IX and wrote a Self-Study Guide to Sexism in Schools (1973). Returning to academic studies at Yale University in 1977, she earned a PhD in American studies in 1984. She taught at Rutgers University-Camden for several years and then joined the University of Wisconsin’s Department of History and the Women’s Studies Program in 1988.

Jeanne’s publications transformed the study of women’s and labor history. Her 1990 book, Home and Work: Housework, Wages, and the Ideology of Labor in the Early Republic, selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1991-1992, brilliantly argued that housework underpinned the growth of capitalism in antebellum America, but the discourse of separate spheres simultaneously naturalized women’s work as invisible and non-productive. With Mary Kelley and Anne Margolis, she wrote The Limits of Sisterhood: The Beecher Sisters on Women’s Rights and Woman’s Sphere (1988). This book cogently examined how the three Beecher sisters shaped different visions of women’s power and demonstrated how they used domestic ideology to call for social reform. Seminal articles on labor and women’s reform movements only added to Jeanne’s reputation in the field for her lucid and uncompromising insight into the impact of gender on the dynamics of race and class in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America.

As her career progressed, she became increasingly interested in international and theoretical approaches to history. Her last article, “Gender as a Question of Historical Analysis,” appeared weeks after her death in the November 2008 issue of Gender and History. This piece challenges historians to reconsider the uses of gender as a universal category for understanding the workings of power.

For all of her renown as a scholar, Jeanne was a gifted and beloved teacher who remained deeply committed to bringing history in all its complexity to a wide audience and especially to students. To this end, she co-edited Root of Bitterness: Documents in the Social History of American Women (1996) and co-authored Making a Nation (2001), a widely-used textbook in U.S. history. A dynamic lecturer, she enthralled generations of students with her courses on the “Age of Jefferson and Jackson” and on early American women’s history. As she wove together the diverse strands of American history, she engaged students in discussion, even in large lecture courses. In seminars, likewise, Jeanne crafted her own style. She never offered torrents of her own words and observations. Rather, she stepped back and led the students to their own insights, guiding them with her probing questions, wry sense of humor, and the sheer pull of her thoughtful attention. She paid her students the ultimate respect of expecting excellence from them. Known as a rigorous and sensitive advisor of graduate students, Jeanne mentored numerous PhD students and played a crucial role in making the University of Wisconsin-Madison the nation’s leading program in American women’s history. In 2002 she received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award of the University of Wisconsin.

Jeanne will also be remembered as a kind and perceptive colleague. Always supportive, often playful (taking special delight in the vagaries of the English language), she spoke and acted with integrity, inspiring colleagues and students alike with her understated honesty. As an administrator, Jeanne stood out as an efficient and effective leader, especially as director of graduate studies and as long-time director of the Program in Gender and Women’s History.

As much as Jeanne loved her work and cherished intellectual engagement, she always embraced and valued life beyond the university. With her acute eye for color and form, Jeanne became a talented artist. Her early pen and ink drawings gave way to more abstract works in oil, pastel, or watercolor. She loved New Mexico, and its landscapes informed the designs of her paintings. She became an appreciative hiker, especially in the American Southwest and in Peru; she and her partner Joy Newmann climbed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 2007. With Joy she made their home on Lake Monona into a place of hospitality and beauty, where they enjoyed gardening, playing with their grandchildren, or sharing fine cooked food with friends on their deck overlooking the lake.

Jeanne was born on December 15, 1944, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the only daughter of Donnell and Juanita (Laymance) Boydston. Her parents and her brother James predeceased her. She is survived by Joy Newmann, her partner of nearly twenty years, her brother Robert, Joy’s children, their four grandchildren, a nephew and two nieces and their families.

Suzanne Desan
Colleen Dunlavy

Brown, William A. - August 28, 2007

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2047
5 May 2008


William Allen Brown, professor emeritus of history, died on August 28, 2007, in Madison. Bill was born on January 29, 1934, in Beauford, North Carolina, where he grew up until he joined the Air Force. On leaving military service, he enrolled in Kentucky State University, where he majored in history, government, and French language and literature, graduating with the highest distinction as valedictorian in 1959. He was then awarded a Fulbright grant to attend the Sorbonne University in Paris where he achieved outstanding results.

Upon completing his studies in France, he entered graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a focus on African history and Islamic studies. He was awarded a number of fellowships, including a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a National Defense Foreign Language Fellowship in Arabic, and a Foreign Area Fellowship for Africa. He conducted research in Mali from 1965 to 1966 for his doctoral dissertation: The Caliphate of Hamdullahi, ca. 1818–1864: A Study in African History and Tradition, which remains the authoritative study of the area and period. He received his Ph.D. degree from UW-Madison in 1969. Later, he would complement his education as a specialist in Islam by attending the famous Al Azhar University in Cairo. While still a graduate student writing his doctoral dissertation, he organized the first conference on Black studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967, a conference that resulted in the publication by S. Henderson and M. Cook (eds.) of The Militant Black Writer in the U.S. and Africa.

Bill started his teaching career at the major university for the study of Islam in West Africa—Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. He subsequently held positions at Yale and Harvard universities before joining the Department of History at UW-Madison in 1974, where he was in charge of West African history until his retirement in 2006. In his teaching he was renowned for his profound erudition concerning Islam in West Africa and for his deep and original insights into the history of the Atlantic slave trade, two subjects of paramount interest to all African-American intellectuals of his generation. During his first decade in Madison he was also quite involved with African-American affairs in Madison as well as in Wisconsin generally. Primarily because of ill health he became less active in community and university affairs in his later years and devoted himself to his own scholarship and teaching.

Ever the perfectionist, he never allowed his dissertation to be published, even after he had revised it several times. But he wrote two seminal articles about Islamic topics for the Research Bulletin of the Center of Arabic Documentation at Ahmadu Bello University as well as one contribution about the chronology of Hamdullahi for the prestigious French journal Cahiers d’Études Africaines. He also published Great Rulers of the African Past for the general public.

Bill will always occupy a special place in the memories of those who have known him well. His former colleagues and fellow alumni and alumnae in African history have funded a Bill Brown Annual Lecture Fund in the History of Islamic West Africa in his honor.

Florence Bernault
James Donnelly
Thomas Spear
Jan Vansina, chair

Chow, Tse-tsung - May 7, 2007

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2008
5 November 2007


Beyond the University of Wisconsin’s confines, Professor Tse-tsung Chow was world renowned for his studies of traditional and modern Chinese literature and Chinese history. On campus he was respected both for his scholarship and his mentoring of young faculty. Those who didn’t know Professor Tse-tsung Chow may have sometimes been puzzled by this multi-faceted man. A prodigious poet, at ease writing classical Chinese verse (something like writing poetry in Latin) as well as working in modern English meter, his verse sang of wine and its pleasures, yet he seldom drank anything stronger than hot water. Although he was soft-spoken, he held strong convictions and, when convinced he was right, could not be swayed (ask any of the deans he worked with!). This power perhaps came from Professor Chow’s fondness for the famed hot peppers of his home province; he would often eat them with meals much as one munches on a pickle.

Born in rural Hunan (Qiyang County) on 7 January 1916, “Chow Kung,” as he was known to both colleagues and students, enjoyed a traditional education in the Chinese classics, beginning in his family. His father, Chow P’eng-chu [Zhou Pengzhu], was an activist in the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and a classical poet. Professor Chow inherited these interests from his father. He was concerned with helping his country, which had only rejected the imperial system in 1912, to build a strong, democratic government. Thus he majored in political science at Central University (Chungking), receiving his BA in 1942. Chungking in wartime hosted many of China’s authors and scholars, and Professor Chow was active in intellectual circles, serving as editor of several publications. Four years of service in the Nationalist Government followed. He served as a director in the powerful Central Secretariat Office under Chen Bulei and was a secretary and speech writer for Chiang Kai-shek himself. When the Nationalists were forced to move to Taiwan, Professor Chow left for the U.S. in early May 1948. He entered the graduate program in political science at the University of Michigan and received the M.A. (1950) and Ph.D. (1955) degrees from that university with a dissertation on local city planning.

Beginning in 1954 Tse-tsung Chow began a decade-long sojourn as a visiting scholar at Columbia and Harvard Universities. It was during this period that he came to know many of the founding fathers of Chinese studies in the United States and wrote his magnum opus, The May Fourth Movement: Intellectual Revolution in Modern China (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960), a work which still sets the standards for early 20th-century Chinese intellectual history.

In 1963 Professor Chow came from Harvard to join the faculty of the fledgling Department of East Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin. He was instrumental in designing the entire curriculum for the study of Chinese language and literature in Madison. Promoted to full professor in 1966, that same year he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. From 1973-1979 he chaired the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, but in essence he directed the program during the 1960s and 1970s. After stepping down as chair in 1979, he spent significant parts of the next decade as a visiting professor at Stanford University, the National University of Singapore, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The courses he taught over the years ranged from modern Chinese history to paleography. He was a well-known calligrapher, and his courses in Chinese calligraphy drew large enrollments. Although he always cut a trim figure, he had tremendously skilled, powerful hands, developed as a painter and a carver of stone seals. Throughout his career at the University of Wisconsin, he never tired of responding to requests from residents of the state to date a work of art, to explain a line of ancient Chinese poetry, or to discuss contemporary intellectual life in China. He directed over twenty dissertations, and his students teach at many major universities today.

Expanding on contacts he made while working for the government in China and his decade of research in Ivy League schools, Professor Tse-tsung Chow seemed to know every important scholar or literary figure in Chinese studies in the U.S. and abroad. His correspondence with scholars and writers in many literatures was legion. He gave countless lectures at all the major East Asian departments in the U.S. and organized and chaired the very first conference on the famous novel Honglou meng (Dream of the Red Chamber), held on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus in 1981. To his younger colleagues, Chow Kung was a ready, patient mentor. We enjoyed working with him and thrived under his influence.

In 1994, aged 78, he retired to continue his publishing and writing. Three years later Chow Kung received a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from Hong Kong Baptist University. Late in life Professor Chow alternated his time between Madison and California, where his children resettled.

Besides The May Fourth Movement, Professor Chow published two other important books in English: A Research Guide to The May Fourth Movement; Intellectual Revolution in Modern China, 1915-1924 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963); and Wen-lin; Studies in the Chinese Humanities (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1968). He also penned a great number of works in Chinese. His collected verse has been published as Tse-tsung Chow’s Poems in Classical Chinese, edited by a former student at the University of Wisconsin, Zhi Chen, and published by the Hong Kong Baptist University in 2006.

Professor Chow passed away on 7 May 2007. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Wu, his daughters Lena and Genie, his grandson, Jesse, and his granddaughter, Ariana. Although he had not been in good health in recent years and was over ninety years old, his colleagues always remarked that he seemed not to age. This was perhaps attributable to his ability to transcend epochs in his scholarship and writings. Professor Chow loved Madison, even in winter, as one of his classical Chinese poems, in his own English translation reveals:

Snow storm

the whole city asleep
Only I am awake
Suddenly I feel
the river and hills are
at my doorstep
No moon, no stars
just snow
whirling wind and white
continue to be heard

May he rest peacefully between the waters and the hills.

Zhi Chen
William H. Nienhauser, Jr., chair

Cronon, Edmund David - December 5, 2006

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 1982
9 April 2007


Edmund David Cronon, dean emeritus of the College of Letters and Science and professor emeritus of history, died on December 5, 2006, after a brief illness, at the age of eighty-two. “Dave,” as he was known to everyone, spent the better part of his adult life at this university, and it is safe to say that he did as much as any single person to give this university the shape and stature that it enjoys today.

Dave was born on March 11, 1924, in Minneapolis, where he grew up. After a year at Macalester College, he joined the U.S. Army and saw action during World War II in the Philippines and attained the rank of first lieutenant. Taking advantage of the G.I. Bill—a program he always valued and honored—Dave returned to college at Oberlin, from which he was graduated in 1948, and then came here to Madison, where he received his M.A. in history in 1949 and Ph.D. in 1953.

Dave became one of a stellar group of students who worked with a stellar faculty in American history, including Merle Curti, who remained a close friend for fifty years, William B. Hesseltine, Merrill Jensen, and Howard K. Beale, with whom he wrote his dissertation. Dave’s first book was his master’s thesis, a study of the black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Published in 1955 under the title Black Moses and recently reissued with an introduction by the leading African-American historian John Hope Franklin, this book remains one of the University of Wisconsin Press’ all-time best-sellers. Dave later published two books from his dissertation research: one, a study of Josephus Daniels as ambassador to Mexico in the 1930s; the other, an edited volume of Daniels’ diaries as secretary of the navy under Woodrow Wilson. Also as a graduate student, Dave spent a year in England as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Manchester.

After receiving his doctorate, Dave left Madison for nine years, to teach first at Yale, from 1953 to 1959, and then at the University of Nebraska, from 1959 to 1962. He enjoyed both those experiences, but he liked telling the colleagues at Yale that he was accustomed to better library and archival resources in Madison. He also disliked the practice of hiring young faculty without prospects for promotion to tenure: he once told one junior recruit to our faculty (the chairman of this memorial committee), “We don’t make ivy league appointments.”

Dave’s appointment as professor in the Department of History in 1962 was a true homecoming for him, and he quickly involved himself in assuring the department’s continued growth and continued excellence. In 1966, he was elected chairman of the department, and his three years in that office encompassed both the best and worst of times for the department and the university. His chairmanship began in expansionary times, and Dave oversaw the recruitment and retention of a large number of historians who added to the breadth of the department’s offerings and maintained the excellence he had known as a student. He also managed the department’s move from its overcrowded quarters in Bascom Hall to spacious facilities in the then-new Humanities Building, which is now named for one of the distinguished historians whom Dave helped to retain here, George Mosse. On a more trying note, Dave also chaired the department during the beginning of campus protests over the Vietnam War, Afro-American studies, and the strikes by teaching assistants. In this turmoil, Dave remained a rock of integrity, stability, and sanity.

In 1970, Dave began four years as director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities, and he also served on the newly created University Committee. He had already been involved in campus affairs, but these two posts plunged him deeper into the broader life of the university. One of the tasks of the University Committee during these years was to arrange the practical workings of the newly merged system. Dave and other members regularly met with their counterparts at the University of Wisconsin to deal with the devil in the details of this change in Madison’s context. At the beginning of 1974, he took a brief break from university involvements to serve for a semester as the first Fulbright professor at Moscow State University. As the first American to teach U.S. history in the Soviet Union, Dave got this diplomatically sensitive professorship off to a superb start.

Dave’s greatest contribution to the wider university began when he returned from Moscow. He was named dean of the College of Letters and Science, a post he would hold for the next fifteen years. The impact of his work in that capacity can only be described by such adjectives as “extraordinary,” “monumental,” and “path-breaking.” Under his deanship and often despite recurring budgetary stringencies, Dave oversaw the growth of “L & S” from 14,000 to 21,000 students. He consistently supported the advance of programs and scholarship into new fields.

Unexpectedly perhaps for someone with a background in the humanities, Dave took the lead in promoting both the study and use of computers in the college. Without special funding, he backed the expansion of the Department of Computer Sciences, and he provided funds and encouragement for faculty and staff to acquire and learn how to use computers. Perhaps the clearest tribute to Dave’s role in this field came last year when a distinguished computer scientist, Guri Sohi, named his WARF/University Houses professorship for Dave.

Other new fields such as women’s studies and many of the area studies and study abroad programs began during his deanship. When he interviewed a distinguished women’s historian, she commented that she thought some members of the faculty were unsympathetic to her appointment and field. In a characteristic display of his wit and understanding, Dave answered, “Perhaps, but we have demography on our side.” She accepted the appointment, and the rest, as we say, is history. Dave revamped the structure of the dean’s office, instituting the academic planning committee and the appointment of associate deans for the three main disciplinary areas in the college. Always an innovator and modernizer, he also remained a respecter of tradition and practices. The college had the best of both worlds in Dave.

After his retirement from the deanship, he remained a valued advisor and supporter to successive deans, chancellors, History Department colleagues, and friends throughout the university. He also returned to the study and practice of history, but in a way that drew upon his administrative experience and acquaintance with the workings of the university. Dave accepted the assignment to continue the history of the university begun by his friend and mentor, Merle Curti. In collaboration with John Jenkins, he produced two volumes that brought the history of the university up to 1970. These were published in 1994 and 1999 and stand as worthy successors to the two volumes previously done by Merle Curti and Vernon Carstensen.

For such a busy, productive teacher, scholar, and administrator, Dave carried his occupational burdens lightly. He made time for many outside activities in the community. He was a loyal member and supporter of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, where he served on the Board of Curators from 1964 to 1990 and as president from 1970 to 1973. A music lover, he served as vice-president of Madison Opera, and he belonged to the Madison Literary Club. He was also a long-time and active member of the First Unitarian Society. Dave was a devoted family man and lover of the outdoors. In 1950, as a graduate student here in Madison, he met Jean Hotmar, who became wife of fifty-six years. Dave and Jean shared travels around the world, hiking in many places, and a second home on Green Lake. They had two sons, William, who joined his father as a member of the Department of History and is now Vilas Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies, and Robert, who operates a consulting firm for non-profit organizations. The Cronons also had four grandchildren. Dave was blessed to have both his sons present at the time of his brief final illness, and his family gathered for a moving memorial service at the Unitarian Meeting House. The service was a celebration of a life of service, devotion, and accomplishment, and the overflowing attendance was testimony to the impact that he had on so many people.

In Dave Cronon’s passing, this university lost a giant, one of its greatest builders. If you seek his monument, look around you.

Paul S. Boyer
Judith Craig
Philip M. Certain
David Lindberg
John Milton Cooper, Jr., chair

Smail, John R.W. - October 20, 2002

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 1702
3 March 2003


John R.W. Smail, professor emeritus of history, died on October 20, 2002 at the age of 72 after a long illness. John was born in Cairo, Egypt, where he lived until his family moved to the United States when he was nine, but he remained proudly bicultural–British and American–throughout his life. He received his B.A. from Harvard in 1951 and his M.A. in 1952, both in English history, following which he served in Japan during the Korean War. While there, he traveled throughout Southeast Asia and India, which led to his interest in Indonesian history. On his return in 1956, he enrolled in Cornell’s noted Southeast Asian Studies program, where he worked with many of the leading scholars and students in the field. He also met Laura Woolsey Lord, a fellow student, and they were married before setting out for two years of fieldwork in Bandung. Shortly after their return, he joined the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin in 1962, and received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1964.

At Wisconsin, John was notable for his leading roles in establishing major new programs. First was Southeast Asian history, which he initiated with courses on ancient and modern Southeast Asian history and later, the Vietnam Wars. He next helped to found and direct the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, now one of the leading centers in the country. Third was the Comparative Tropical (now World) History Program that he pioneered with Philip Curtin. Their lectures on the World and the West were path-breaking explorations of an inclusive world history, and they continue to form the basis of many world history programs today. In the process, the comparative program provided the seed appointments for many of the other areas of non-western history that have become such a distinguishing feature of the history department today. Finally, John pioneered the development of Environmental Studies at Wisconsin with his innovative course on The Natural History of Man.

John was an extraordinarily broad thinker, spanning both the world and the history of humankind, while always careful to observe how the particular informed the general. His lectures were models of conceptually imaginative and carefully crafted expositions that appealed to undergraduate and graduate students alike. He was one of the few scholars on campus who knew much about Vietnam and students flocked to his classes in the late 1960s, but if they came for the politics, they stayed for the intellectual challenges John posed. Few have used the lengthy process of quietly cleaning a pipe so effectively to create a space for students to explore their own ideas and those of others. John also had a way of framing intellectual engagement with a student that turned the student and John into mutually respectful and caring scholar-partners embarked on a common quest for knowledge. One of us remembers vividly one such case, when John explained to a disappointed graduate student why a Ph.D. thesis draft was not yet acceptable for the degree, yet conveyed the news with the kind of good will, friendship, and genuine intellectual engagement that inspired renewed effort–and a superb new draft. Many, indeed, were drawn to an academic life by John’s example.

John’s scholarship was equally influential, but writing did not come easily to him. His article, ‘On the Possibility of an Autonomous History of Southeast Asia,’ published while he was still a graduate student in 1961, is as insightful today as it was then; his monograph on Bandung in the Indonesian revolution is a modern classic of interior history; and the text he co-authored, In Search of Southeast Asia, remains the standard text in the field today.

John was not simply a consummate scholar and teacher. He also played an active role in the life of his family and that of the community. He thoroughly enjoyed his life with Laura and their two sons, John and Dan, especially the weekends they spent at Smailberry, the cabin they built themselves in the country. He was also a dedicated gardener and game player, whose croquet course confounded his opponents as it wound around his house. And he was a leading critic of the Vietnam War, helped organize the anti-war movement in Wisconsin, and was a member of the McCarthy delegation at the Chicago convention in 1968.

John retired in 1988 after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but he tackled his illness with the same quiet nobility that he approached life, committing himself to his family, friends, and reading as long as he was able.

John was the complete academic, as committed to ethical thought as scholarly analysis, to the Third World as the First, to teaching as to scholarship, and to the social community as to the academic. He was an intellectual without guile, welcoming, demanding, critical, and generous; an engaging friend; and a loving family man.

Thomas Spear, Chair
Daniel Doeppers
Steve Stern

DeNovo, John A. - January 26, 2000

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 1598
3 December 2001


Professor John A. DeNovo joined the Department of History faculty in September, 1964 and died in Madison on January 26, 2000 at the age of 83, concluding a distinguished career of service to the American history profession. A specialist in the History of American Foreign Relations he also taught the Survey of American History and Recent American History as well as a survey course on the History of the Middle East. Throughout his career, he focused his research interest upon American ties with the latter area. With the exception of research leaves, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation International Relations Fellowship Program during 1966-67 and the U. S. Energy Research and Development Administration in 1976-77, John taught in the History department until 1981 when he retired. He continued his research for a time thereafter and once taught an undergraduate seminar in the College of Letters and Sciences program featuring retired professors as instructors.

DeNovo was born on November 5, 1916 in Galva, Illinois, the son of August DeNovo who had entered the United States as a sixteen-year old immigrant from Sicily and Paula LaMantina DeNovo, a first generation Italian American. August owned a grocery store in Galva. Graduating cum laude from Knox College in 1938, John continued his studies in history at the University of Minnesota, receiving his M.A. in 1940. During World War II he served as a naval officer in the South Pacific and thereafter enrolled in the history doctoral program at Yale University under the provisions of the G. I. Bill. At Yale, John studied with the eminent professor of international relations, Samuel Flagg Bemis and prepared his doctoral dissertation on the subject “American Diplomacy in the Near East, 1908-1928.” In completing his Ph. D. in 1948, he fulfilled an ambition set, as he later wrote, at the age of fourteen and in that same year he married his former Knox classmate, Jeanne Humphreys.

In that year also, DeNovo accepted the position of instructor of history at Pennsylvania State University where he rose to the rank of full professor. Among the first American scholars to specialize in American relations with the Middle East, he felt required to master American policy relating to that region and also to develop an understanding of the peoples, histories, and geographies of more than a dozen middle eastern polities. As a result, he sought additional training at the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. While at Penn State he also attended summer conferences sponsored by the University of Kansas “On the Nature and Writing of History,” and on “Twentieth Century American Diplomacy” in 1955 and 1957 and participated in a Social Science Research Council Summer Research Training Institute on Current Research on International Affairs at the University of Denver in the summer of 1956. As a visiting professor he taught in summer sessions at George Washington University (1949) at the University of Wisconsin (1961) and throughout academic year (1963-64) at Cornell University.

In 1963 DeNovo published American Interests and Policies in the Middle East, 1900-1939 which won the national book award of Phi Alpha Theta and became a classic study in the history of American international relations. Impressively comprehensive, this pioneering study explored the activities of American diplomats, business agents, educators, philanthropists, and missionaries in Turkey, Iran, and the Arab East. It conclusively demonstrated that the United States maintained an active economic, cultural, and to some extent, political involvement in the region before the Second World War. This work was among the first to address the origins of the American oil interest in the region and U. S. policy toward the Arab-Israel conflict. DeNovo also published a considerable number of articles and chapters in scholarly collections during his career and, with others, edited a two volume reader in American history (1969). While at the University of Wisconsin he worked on a sequel to his Middle East study, an investigation that involved trips abroad and research in manuscript repositories in the United States. Deteriorating health prevented him from completing this work and, in retirement, he gave his collection of notes and research materials to the Library of Georgetown University.

DeNovo excelled as a teacher and mentor of graduate students. During his years at Penn State and Wisconsin he served as major advisor of thirty-four M. A. and fifteen Ph. D. graduates. Pressing his graduate students to achieve their full potential, he demanded that they investigate topics to their fullest and was a meticulous critic of written work. DeNovo, however, was so kindly and supportive, so patently concerned with the welfare of students, that their study with him usually initiated friendly relations, maintained long after they had settled into teaching positions or government service.

John DeNovo was an exemplary colleague. As a committee member, he did his homework thoroughly and promptly, his judgments were fair and balanced, and his suggestions about issues and procedure were always sensible and sometimes brilliant. There are no letters to the chairman in his departmental personnel file complaining about collegial, departmental, or campus shortcomings. He never displayed exasperation when outcomes failed to meet expectations and he was always happy to suggest the bibliography or monograph which colleagues had ignored or forgotten, or to mention an approach that might turn up a relevant source or solve a troublesome problem of organization. He was a good listener. In addition, he usually had a twinkle in his eyes and could always see the humorous side of a situation. His skill at turning a clever pun was unmatched in the department. Within the history profession he served on various committees and participated actively in the formation of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, being elected to the council of that association in 1969.

John loved music and was an accomplished pianist. He also loved the lakes and woods of northern Wisconsin and spent most of his Wisconsin summers at his cabin near Minocqua. Between sessions there with his books and research notes he and other members of the family swam, hiked, canoed, and studied nature. John particularly enjoyed the efforts of the wild life to foil the activity of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and he was an active member of the Blue Lake Preservation Society. Following his retirement, he countered his heart problems by walking as many as eight miles a day. In 1992, however, he suffered a severe stroke that left him partially paralyzed and thereafter he lived in the Attic Angel Health Center in Madison, reading widely and entertaining other residents periodically with “name that tune” programs in which he played the piano with his right hand. He maintained his sense of humor and indomitable spirit to the end.

John DeNovo is survived by his wife Jeanne, his daughter Anne DeNovo (Jim Lovin) and his son Jay (Donna Sereda), as well as by his sister, Marguerite Varven.

Thomas J. McCormick
Stanley G. Payne
Allan G. Bogue, Chair

Lovejoy, David S. - October 8, 1999

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 2050
5 May 2008


David S. Lovejoy, professor emeritus of history, died on October 8, 1999, in Oxfordshire, England.

David Sherman Lovejoy was born on November 30, 1919, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He matriculated at Bowdoin College in 1937, attracted to the institution by its location in Maine and its track team. Focusing his studies in literature, Lovejoy earned a B.S. degree in 1941. In September of that year, he married Elizabeth Bowers.

Lovejoy served as an infantry officer during World War II. With Beth often living nearby, he was stationed stateside in California, Georgia, and Colorado. An avid skier, Lovejoy spent time with the Tenth (“Mountain”) Division. He eventually served in the European Theater. Lovejoy separated from the service in 1945 with the rank of captain. Returning home, he met his fifteen-month-old daughter for the first time. Also named Elizabeth, she was the Lovejoys’ only child.

Overseas, Lovejoy developed what he later described as an “irresistible urge to put my mind onto issues and materials I could think about for the rest of my life.” The GI Bill, he added, “turned a strong urge into a reality at $120 a month plus tuition and books.” [“Scholarly Reminiscences,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., Vol. 45, No. 3 (July 1988), p. 546].

Returning from Germany, Lovejoy entered graduate school in history at Brown University. He initially pursued the field of American civilization but switched to American history after the arrival at Brown of Edmund S. Morgan, who was emerging as one of the greatest colonial historians of his era.

Specializing in early American history, Lovejoy completed the M.A. in 1947 and the Ph.D. in 1954. His dissertation became the basis for his first book, Rhode Island Politics and the American Revolutions, 1760–1776, published by Brown University Press in 1958. In it, Lovejoy demonstrated how the development of the revolutionary movement in Rhode Island linked with and fed upon existing divisions between local political factions.

Lovejoy began his teaching career at Marlboro College in Vermont in 1950. Not long after his arrival there, Lovejoy’s senior colleagues recommended to the trustees of the experimental college that they make him president of the institution. Lovejoy agreed to accept the position in an acting capacity. He served as president for two years, but the administrative burden slowed the completion of his dissertation. He decided to complete his degree and pursue teaching and research full-time.

After teaching at Michigan State University for the 1954–1955 academic year, Lovejoy returned to Brown University to replace his mentor, Edmund S. Morgan, who had moved to Yale. Lovejoy remained at Brown until 1959. He next took a position at Northwestern University and made his final academic move a year later, when he became an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin. Lovejoy won promotion to associate professor with tenure in 1962. He became a full professor in 1965 and retired with that rank in 1983.

In 1972, Lovejoy published The Glorious Revolution in America (Harper and Row). Nominated for a National Book Award, the book was the most important work he released while an active member of the faculty at Madison. Focusing on three major American colonies—Massachusetts Bay, New York, and Virginia—Lovejoy examined the evolution of provincial political thought during the last quarter of the seventeenth century. The “Glorious Revolution” mentioned in the title referred to the overthrow of King James II in 1688 and the subsequent establishment of a constitutionally limited monarchy in England. Lovejoy’s well-argued contention was that, during the period leading up to the ouster of James, the colonists responded to the Crown’s efforts to tighten its control on America by claiming for themselves rights equal to those of English living in the home country. The assertion of equal standing almost a full century before the actual American Revolution suggested how quickly the colonists were developing a sense of autonomy.

Starting in 1971, David and Beth Lovejoy retreated each summer to a cottage at the edge of the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire, England. In 1987, they moved permanently there from their home in Madison. The location allowed them to spend time closer to their two granddaughters, who were growing up in Aberdeen, Scotland. The relocation did not impair Lovejoy’s ability to pursue research; he simply switched the venue of his work from the Wisconsin Historical Society to the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.

Lovejoy published prolifically in retirement. In addition to a series of articles, most of which appeared in the New England Quarterly, Lovejoy completed a major book project on which he had been working for more than a decade. His quest began in 1969 with the publication of Religious Enthusiasm and the Great Awakening, a collection of edited documents on religious dissidents in the mid-eighteenth century. It came to fruition with the publication in 1985, under the imprint of Harvard University Press, of Religious Enthusiasm in the New World: Heresy to Revolution. The study of 250 years of religious enthusiasm won substantial praise. Writing in Reviews in American History, Professor Larry Gura described the book as “a true omnium gatherum of the most prominent individuals who from New Hampshire to Georgia ‘would not, could not, contain their zeal within the organized limits of religious convention’ (p. 1), and thus often were condemned as heretical, seditious, or both.” [Vol. 13, No. 4, (December 1985), p. 500].

Comments made in confidentiality across the span of David Lovejoy’s professional life were positive in their judgment of his character as well as of his scholarship. Consistent with those remarks were words offered in a letter to the Department of History before Lovejoy’s arrival. “[B]asically he is a warm, charming and friendly person—I have never known anyone who did not like him.” Another writer offered the summary statement, “he wears well.” Those of us fortunate enough to know him and to have enjoyed his friendship over many years cannot say it any better. David S. Lovejoy was a well-rounded scholar who brought intellectual acumen and human decency in abundance to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Thomas J. Archdeacon, chair
William J. Courtenay
John M. Cooper

Mosse, George L. - January 22, 1999

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 1459
1 November 1999


George L. Mosse, one of the most distinguished and creative figures in the history of the University of Wisconsin-Madison History Department, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Madison on January 22, 1999, after suffering six weeks from advanced, untreatable cancer. He was born to great wealth in Berlin in September 1918, grandson of the eminent Jewish publishing and advertising magnate, Rudolf Mosse. After Hitler came to power, the family was forced to flee Germany and lost most of its possessions. His education was completed in England at Bootham School and Cambridge University, and then, after the outbreak of war drove him to America, at Haverford College and Harvard University, where he completed his doctorate in 1946.

Mosse began his teaching career in the Army Specialized Training Program at the State University of Iowa in 1944 and became a regular member of the Iowa History Department in the following year. There he quickly developed his extraordinary talents as a lecturer, soon instructing an enormous survey course with hundreds of students. He became something of a celebrity in central Iowa, much in demand to speak at high school commencements, and he would later refer to these years as the time in which his Americanization was completed.

He was brought to Madison in 1956 at the rank of associate professor, chosen by the specialists in American history, who then led the Department, to invigorate with his teaching and scholarship a small and weak program in European history. Here he quickly established the same commanding position in the classroom that he had enjoyed at Iowa, becoming one of Wisconsin’s first stars in European history, and during the 1960s he played an active and important role as a reformer in Department and campus affairs.

“George,” as he was always known to colleagues and graduate students alike, achieved the same spectacular success in teaching on the graduate level, eventually advising a total of 38 students who completed their doctorates under his direction. They were a highly diverse group in outlook and specialization, who often disagreed among themselves intellectually and politically, for he encouraged them all to think independently and critically. His personal relationships with his students were unfailingly warm and close; no other professor in the history of the History Department has in turn inspired greater continuing affection and devotion over the decades among his former students.

Mosse began his career as a specialist in the era of the English Reformation, producing two book-length monographs in that field, as well as his influential brief general account, The Reformation (1950), which remained in use for many years. Soon after moving to Madison, however, he turned to the field that would involve the major part of his career–modern European cultural history—with subsequent sub-specializations, in the fields of fascism, German cultural history and Jewish history. This fundamental turn in his career was signaled by the publication of a key work, The Culture of Western Europe: the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (1961), which still remains in print in several languages.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of his unusually fertile career was Mosse’s ability to anticipate and lead a whole sequence of new trends and subspecialties in modern European history from 1960 through the 1990s. Those ranged from the new cultural history to the comparative historiography and analysis of fascism, to the history of racism, of political symbolism and mass movements, the history of monuments and of mourning, ethnic and Jewish history, and finally the history of sexuality. In each of these fields he made original and fundamental contributions. In his books, The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (1964) and Nazi Culture (1966), he illuminated the intellectual origins and cultural doctrines of National Socialism. Mosse’s subsequent study, The Nationalization of the Masses: Political Symbolism and Mass Movements in Germany from the Napoleonic Wars through the Third Reich (1975), became a pioneering study of political symbolism and mass mobilization, while his work, Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (1977), laid bare the intellectual development of racist ideas in Europe. His most personal book was probably German Jews Beyond Judaism (1985).

Mosse continued to move into new research fields even after his retirement from teaching. Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (1990) became a cornerstone of the new historiography of national monuments and of mourning, and he made highly original contributions to the new history of sexuality and of the body in Nationalism and Sexuality: Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe (1985) and in The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity (1996). Equally important, with Walter Laqueur he co-founded in 1966 the Journal of Contemporary History, which became the leading journal in English for the history of twentieth-century Europe, and which he continued actively to co-edit to the end of his life.

Mosse was probably the only professor in the history of the University of Wisconsin known to have refused a Vilas Professorship, because it would have required him to reduce his teaching by 50 percent. Instead, he became John C. Bascom Professor of Modern European History, helping to initiate the new category of Bascom Professorships, and later was appointed the first Weinstein-Bascom Professor of Jewish Studies. He taught the first course in Jewish history at Wisconsin and was one of the principal founders of Wisconsin’s Jewish Studies Program. During the 1970s he began to teach every other semester at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he was later made the Koebner Professor of History.

Mosse was much in demand as visiting lecturer and scholar in the United States and many other countries, as invitations to teach or lecture took him as far as South Africa and twice across the Pacific to Australia. Though he retired from regular teaching in 1989, the pace of his work and travels flagged very little, while new activities were added, such as a series of appearances for fundraising on behalf of the Jewish Studies Center, the Department of History and the University. Among his many distinctions were the American Historical Association’s Award for Scholarly Distinction, the Leo Baeck Medal, an honorary doctorate from Hebrew University, and appointment as the Holocaust Museum’s first Scholar-in-Residence.

The last of his more than 25 books was a volume of memoirs, Confronting History, which he completed in the late autumn of 1998, on the eve of his fatal illness. Mosse’s autobiography is, in its own way, as remarkable as his scholarly writings, avoiding the tedium and dryness of most professional memoirs, enlivened by his inimitable humor and rare capacity to tell jokes about himself. Confronting History, which contains a chapter of vivid pen portraits of the leading figures of the Wisconsin History Department of the 1950s and 60s, will shortly be published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

George Mosse is survived by his partner, John Tortorice of Madison, and his niece Joy Mosse of Beverly Hills, California. He has left sizable bequests to the Department of History, Jewish Studies and Hebrew University. His friends, colleagues and former students have endowed in his name an annual prize to be bestowed by the American Historical Association on the best book published each year in European cultural history since the Renaissance, with the first George L. Mosse Prize to be awarded for the year 2000.

The passing of this extraordinary teacher, scholar and friend leaves a void that will not readily be filled.

Stanley Payne, Chair
David Sorkin
Rudy Koshar

Nesbit, Robert C. - January 18, 1999

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 1694
3 February 2003


Robert Carrington Nesbit died of heart failure at his home in Olympia, Washington on Monday, January 18, 1999. Bob Nesbit joined the Department of History faculty as an associate professor in 1962. He specialized in the history of Wisconsin and became assistant chairman of the department in 1968 and professor and associate chairman in the following year, holding the latter post until 1980. He retired in December, 1982.

Nesbit was born in Ellensburg, Washington, July 16, 1917, the son of Sidney Shaw and Verna (Carrington) Nesbit. The family moved to Seattle in 1929, where Bob graduated from Queen Anne High School in 1934. He was awarded the B.A. degree by Central Washington State College at Ellensburg in 1939 and briefly taught school until entering the Army Air Force as a private in 1941. He and Marie Richert were married on November 24, 1942. Discharged as a lieutenant in 1946, he entered the graduate history program at the University of Washington, Seattle. Completing the M.A. in 1947, he continued his studies and taught a course in the history of the state of Washington for a time during this process. In 1951 he became the state of Washington’s first archivist and during the following six years he also completed his doctorate in history.

In 1958, Nesbit became an administrative assistant in the Washington State Department of General Administration and assistant director and supervisor of purchasing in the following year. Less known was the fact that he served as a speechwriter for Washington state’s Governor Albert Rosellini during the years, 1957-1962. He did not, however, abandon his scholarly interests and in 1961 published his revised dissertation, entitled: He Built Seattle: A Biography of Judge Thomas Burke. This book was an insightful study of the economic development of Seattle and its hinterland, “the best work of its kind dealing with the Pacific Northwest to that time.”

In the early 1960s, members of the Madison Department of History wished to place a course on the history of Wisconsin in the department’s offerings on a regular basis to assist in the preparation of social studies teachers. At the same time, administrators in the University of Wisconsin Extension needed a historian to direct history outreach programs and to supervise history personnel and offerings in the two year centers. Members of the Department of History discerned in Nesbit the needed combination of state history specialist and administrator that met the needs of the two branches of the university. In September 1962, he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin on a twelve-month appointment in which the Madison Department of History, University Extension, and its two year Center System were each to claim one-third of his services. As University Extension became increasingly self-contained, the nature of Nesbit’s appointments changed. He relinquished successively the chairmanship of University Extension history and the chairmanship of history in the University Center System, moving into the Madison campus faculty full time and becoming assistant chairman and subsequently associate chairman of the Department of History. The major parties in this restructuring approved its results, although job-seeking history graduate students remembered regretfully that Nesbit had hired many from their ranks in staffing the centers.

As he planned an undergraduate course in the history of Wisconsin, Nesbit found no adequate Wisconsin history textbook available. Urged by his colleagues, William Hesseltine and Vernon Carstensen, he decided to write a one-volume history of the state. The administrators of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin were at the time preparing to establish a Wisconsin History Foundation to raise funds to finance the research and writing of a multi-volume history of the state. Nesbit became a member of the Advisory Committee of the foundation and of the Editorial Board of the Historical Society that would supervise the planning and production of the series. The development of the larger project facilitated Nesbit’s work on his textbook, which was published as Wisconsin: A History in 1973. Reviewers called this book “a model for comprehensive surveys of the history of a single state” and “a book which takes first rank with other state histories.” Students even reported that they enjoyed reading it and mature scholars were impressed by its crisp analysis, perceptive insights, and flashes of humor. When an author withdrew from the society’s multi-volume history project, Nesbit agreed to write The History of Wisconsin: Volume III. Urbanization and Industrialization, 1873-1893. It too was hailed as an outstanding illustration of state history. The State Historical Society of Wisconsin and the American Association of State and Local History recognized the quality of his work with awards of merit, and the Wisconsin Library Association included him in its listing of notable Wisconsin authors. In 1986, the State Historical Society of Wisconsin named him an honorary fellow.

His teachers at the University of Washington described Bob Nesbit as “mild in manner yet firm in determination and conviction,” as congenial, pleasant, widely-read, and “quite without artificiality but urbane.” His colleagues at Wisconsin detected those same qualities and also enjoyed the warm hospitality that Bob and Marie extended to them. In the role of administrator, he appeared to be relaxed but also was committed to getting things right. Merrill Jensen once noted that he was “unflappable” in time of crisis. But the flair with which he scooted his Sunbeam Alpine into parking lot 47 also hinted that here was a free spirit. He had a keen eye for flaws in logic and for the incongruous circumstance. His commentaries in such cases were witty–sometimes subtly and sometimes pungently. Colleagues scanned each issue of the department meeting minutes expectantly and were often rewarded.

Bob was not afraid to harry senior administrators when he felt strongly. The overpass between Vilas Hall and the Humanities Building remained long closed for repairs and he informed a superior that the pedestrians crossing University Avenue reminded him of barnyard chickens when the farm dog trotted through. Occasionally he could be blunt, once referring to the Humanities Building as a mausoleum and to the Department of History as four long corridors of closed doors. Working in adjacent offices, his editorial colleagues in The History of Wisconsin project learned to appreciate both Bob’s abilities and his humor, even when he hung prominently a picture of a lordly lion under vigorous attack from the rear by a presumptuous cub with the caption, “AUTHORS & EDITORS: Series # 6.” He once wrote an extended parable, peopled with characters who resembled prominent members of the Department of History. Yet Bob’s humor was so apt or gentle that none was resentful. He accomplished the remarkable feat of serving as an administrator of a history department for twelve years without making any enemies. His tact, honesty, and the sense that he was not interested in further promotion had much to do with this result. But if his administrative achievements were impressive, his contributions to his discipline, and to the welfare of students, were much more so. Bob Nesbit made a major addition to the historiography of the state of Wisconsin and the midwest. He understood that good local and state history explained much about human experience, which served as a foundation for the understanding of national and global history. Generations of Wisconsin college and pre-college students have benefited from that insight.

Allan G. Bogue, Chair
Stanley G. Payne
Norman Risjord

Fishman, Sterling - October 30, 1997

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 1346
6 April 1998


Sterling Fishman, Emeritus Professor of Educational Policy Studies and of History, died on October 30, 1997, in a local hospital. With his passing our University lost a distinguished colleague and friend to many who shared his passion for humanistic study and scholarship.

Born in St. Louis, Sterling received an undergraduate degree from Washington University in 1952 and a master’s degree in History from the University of Wisconsin two years later, followed by a Ph.D. in History in 1960. After teaching at Harpur College and then Douglass College, he returned to Madison as an assistant professor in 1964, rising through the ranks in the Departments of Educational Policy Studies and of History, becoming a full professor in 1969. His service to the University was long and distinguished: as department chair of Educational Policy Studies (1967-69), Summer Chair of History (1971), Executive Chair of the Social Studies Division (1975-76), and Chair of West European Area Studies (1986-1990).

In addition to publishing a number of articles and book reviews, Sterling wrote, co-authored, and edited several books. Perhaps his most important books include The Struggle for German Youth: The Search for Educational Reform in Imperial Germany, 1890-1914 (1974) and his co-authored volume, Estranged Twins: Education and Society in the Two Germanys (1987). As an alumnus of the University, he honored the Wisconsin Idea in practice, enthusiastically teaching courses on the Wisconsin Educational Radio Network and appearing as a guest on call-in shows, the latter as recently as the summer before his death.

Sterling’s commitment to humanistic scholarship was lifelong. A dedicated and inspiring teacher, he was a Fulbright lecturer in West Germany in 1979. Across the course of his career he lectured in several other countries, most recently in Lisbon, Portugal. His passion was the history of childhood and European cultural and intellectual history. Given his reputation as a scholar and teacher, he not surprisingly gave the keynote address at the First International Congress for the History of Childhood in Bamberg, West Germany, in 1984. His popular courses in the history of childhood and European cultural history drew upon his vast reservoir of knowledge about the past. One of the best read scholars on our campus, he also spent an inordinate amount of time on his teaching, organizing a collection of thousands of slides and images on the history of childhood and adolescence, all used creatively in the classroom. Only a few days before he died, he gave a masterful lecture on the history of child labor to his undergraduates and also a virtuoso performance before his peers at the annual meeting of the History of Education Society.

When Sterling died, notes of condolence poured in from colleagues and friends around the world, who realized that the academic community had lost a special voice. Last December, friends, colleagues, and family gathered at a special memorial observance at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and a special fund has been created in his memory to advance the cause of learning among graduate students. Sterling consistently defended the highest academic standards, civilized discourse, and humanistic ideals. To do so often required not only conviction but courage. We will long mourn Sterling Fishman’s passing but may gain comfort from remembering the high example he set for us as friend, colleague, and scholar.

Theodore Hamerow
Andreas Kazamias
Herbert M. Kliebard
George Mosse
Daniel Pekarsky
William J. Reese, Chair
Francis Schrag

Curti, Merle - March 9, 1996

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 1202
6 May 1996


The death of Merle Curti on March 9, 1996, at ninety-eight, takes from us a giant in the field of American history. Born September 15, 1897, near Omaha, of Swiss and Yankee ancestry, he attended Harvard College and remained to receive his Ph.D. in American history in 1927. After teaching at Beloit, Smith, and Teacher’s College-Columbia University, Curti came to the University of Wisconsin in 1942, where he remained until his retirement in 1968.

Curti pioneered two major subfields: intellectual history and social history. His Growth of American Thought (1943) won a Pulitzer Prize and remains in print. His The Making of an American Community: A Case Study of Democracy in a Frontier County (1959) effectively launched the so­-called “new social history.” This pathbreaking collaborative work employed the then-innovative techniques of quantification and demographic analysis of census records, tax lists, and other data to explore social structure and mobility in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin.

His two-volume history of the University of Wisconsin (1949), written with Vernon L. Carstensen, won praise for embedding the story in a larger cultural and intellectual context. His final book, Human Nature in American Thought (1980), appeared when he was eighty-three. And these are but the highlights of an awesome vita that includes some twenty scholarly books; textbooks and edited works; and more than fifty articles exploring a vast terrain of U.S. history from the peace movement and philanthropy to dime novels and world’s fairs. Wherever one dips into this vast corpus, one is rewarded with limpid prose and shrewd interpretive insights.

This imposing output is doubly astonishing when one recalls that Curti was also a dedicated teacher who devoted much time and energy to his popular undergraduate lecture courses and to a full range of graduate teaching–including directing an astounding total of eighty-six doctoral dissertations! “No teacher,” E. David Cronon has written, “could more deftly ask just the right question in such a way as to open a new vista before a discouraged or unimaginative student while at the same time leading him to believe that he was somehow instructing and enlightening the master” (“Merle Curti: An Appraisal and Bibliography of His Writings,” Wisconsin Magazine of History, Winter 1970-71, p. 121).

This great exemplar of humanistic scholarship also championed the social scientific study of history. His co-authored 1936 report Theory and Practice in Historical Study, the work of a committee on historiography convened by the Social Science Research Council, called for greater methodological rigor and more attention to the theoretical underpinnings of historical knowledge.

A natural leader who served the historical guild in many capacities, Professor Curti was honored with the presidencies of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association (MVHA, forerunner of the Organization of American Historians) in 1951-52 and the American Historical Association in 1953-54.

For the UW-Madison History department and the larger university community, Merle’s passing also takes from us a beloved colleague and friend. His gifts for conversation and letter-writing were legendary. Despite his many honors (including eleven honorary degrees and visiting appointments at prestigious universities in the United States, India, Japan, and Australia), he lacked any hint of pretension and always directed any conversation away from himself toward the other participants.

His holiday greetings struck a warmly personal note, sometimes embellished with a hand-written passage from his favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. (In his final months, when his once-vast library had dwindled to a few books, a volume of Dickinson remained near his bedside.) When well into his nineties he organized a dinner for a resident at the Methodist Retirement Center on the occasion of her 100th birthday while simultaneously extending friendship and helpful advice to a young History graduate student who had sought him out.

Merle Curti offered a living link to the American past. As a Harvard undergraduate, he caught the eye of Samuel Eliot Morison, who one Sunday took him for a walk around Walden Pond that ended at Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Concord home for tea with Emerson’s two unmarried daughters. Whether the conversation turned to Willa Cather, John Dewey, Emma Goldman, Charles A. Beard, Mary Beard, Frederick Jackson Turner, or Mahatma Ghandi, Merle could often add a first-hand anecdote or report a personal conversation.

Curti passionately espoused liberal causes and social justice. In 1952, as president of the MVHA, he persuaded a bitterly divided executive board to shift the organization’s convention to Chicago from racially segregated New Orleans. In 1944, when Wisconsin’s University Club denied a room to a Negro graduate student, Arthur E. Burke, Curti with Helen C. White and others spearheaded the campaign that overturned this discriminatory policy. Those who knew and admired Merle’s gentle, soft-spoken manner sometimes underestimated the intensity of his commitments. Though unfailingly polite, he always made his ethical and social values crystal clear, and acted upon them.

Merle Curti brought scholarly distinction, moral clarity, and largeness of spirit to his chosen profession and to this university, which he graced with his presence for twenty-six years. Fortunately, his spirit lives on. The Organization of American Historians awards an annual Curti Prize for the best book in American intellectual or social history; his papers at the State Historical Society represent a treasure trove for researchers; and Merle’s portrait in the History department’s Curti Lounge evokes fond memories of his warmth and gentle humor. Thanks in large part to Merle’s generosity, the department is able to honor his memory through the annual Curti lectures, the Merle Curti professorship, and Curti teaching fellowships awarded to advanced graduate students. (After his retirement Merle also fully endowed the Frederick Jackson Turner chair, which he himself had held from 1947 to 1968.)

Merle Curti in 1925 married Margaret Wooster, a psychologist and statistician whose intellectual influence he generously acknowledged. Widowed in 1961, he married Frances Bennett Becker in 1968; she died in 1978. He is survived by his daughter Martha (Mother Felicitas Curti, O.S.B.), three grandsons, and a great-granddaughter. His daughter Nancy Alice Holub died in 1994.

With characteristic modesty, Merle summed up his creed as a historian in 1993: “By and large I have thought of my work … as reflecting and possibly giving support to my hope and (wavering) conviction of the human potential for more decency and empathy in collective action.” In the same vein, he quoted a favorite passage from Camus: “I do not want to lead. I do not want to follow. I just want to walk by your side.”

Though we enjoyed the gift of his presence far longer than we might have expected, he will still be sorely missed.

Paul Boyer, Chair
William Cronon
Suzanne Desan
Gerda Lerner

Harrington, Fred H. - April 8, 1995

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 1165
6 November 1995


Fred Harvey Harrington, Professor Emeritus of History and President Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin, died in Madison on April 8, 1995. Born in Watertown, New York in 1912, he received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1932 and his Ph.D. from New York University in 1937. Harrington began his career at the University of Wisconsin that same year as an instructor in the History Department. Save for a temporary tenure at the University of Arkansas during World War II, his Wisconsin association was a life-time one.

As an historian, Harrington was the author of four influential books. Although he downplayed the significance of his own scholarship, his writings on anti-imperialist movements remain essential reading and his book on Korean-American relations, God, Mammon, and the Japanese, survives as a classic a half-century later.

As a teacher, Harrington was a popular undergraduate lecturer, renowned for his ironic humor, restless pacing, and disdain for the use of notes. It was as a premier mentor of graduate students, however, that Harrington made his greatest mark in the field of diplomatic history. Founding Father of the so­-called “Wisconsin School of Diplomatic History,” his students and admirers remain a strong influence in that field at major universities like Cornell, Chicago, Berkeley, NYU, Rutgers and Wisconsin. They share his emphasis on economic factors in historical causation, his conviction that domestic and foreign policy were inseparably linked, and his skepticism in assessing official explanations of State actions. Never a “court historian,” he was, in Peter Novick’s words, “the only major diplomatic historian” of his generation to teach from the so-called “progressive” tradition.

Harrington began his distinguished administrative career as chairman of the History Department from 1952-1955 during one of its most illustrious periods. In a department of colorful senior professors, sometimes as contentious as they were distinguished, Harrington played the role of mediator and power-broker with consummate skill. Organizer also of the so-called “Wisconsin Phalanx” (or “Big Red Machine”), he made that awesome placement operation the bane of other history departments whose Ph.D.’s sought to compete with that “machine” for the scarce jobs of the day.

In the university at large, he worked to make the resources of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation accessible to scholars in the social sciences and the humanities. His vigorous efforts helped win him appointment as Special Assistant to UW President E.B. Fred, 1956-1958, and as Vice President for Academic Affairs during the presidency of Conrad Elvehjem, 1958-1962–efforts he was to continue even after he succeeded to the presidency in 1962, a position he held until 1970.

During his presidential term, Harrington became a national spokesman for higher education, appearing before Congressional committees and addressing gatherings of academic and business executives. Prominent in the American Council of Education, he chaired its Commission on Academic Affairs (1962-1966), as well as its Committee on Federal Legislation (1962-1965). He was also president of the National Association of Land-Grant Colleges (1968-1969).

Harrington’s eight-year tenure as University of Wisconsin President was a dynamic, exciting, expansionist era. Soaring enrollments and booming construction were obvious barometers of growth. So too was the creation of several two-year UW centers and two four-year universities at Green Bay and Parkside, as well as the effort to make UW-Milwaukee into a major center of urban studies. The international area programs, the library budget, and the overall research function of the university also greatly expanded in that Harrington epoch.

Those eight years, however, also brought unparalleled turmoil to the university. It manifested itself in the student anti-Vietnam War movement and in the political backlash against that dissent. In recent years, Harrington was sometimes critical of his role during those turbulent times. Too harsh on himself, he had sought to maintain both dignity and principle in a nearly impossible situation, caught between dissidents who regarded the university as part of the military-industrial complex and hostile legislators who saw it as a bastion of radicalism. His presidency was essentially a victim of that contradiction.

Harrington was both a great man and a good man. He was a great man because he understood the realities of power, both as a scholar who studied it and as an administrator who wielded a great deal of it. He was a good man who understood that power was only as good as the purposes for which it was used; and that even power for good purposes was corrupting unless it was also publicly accountable. Such concerns were evident in the 1970’s during his work for the Ford Foundation in India and his promotion of democracy in that nation he loved so dearly. They were evident in the 1980’s and 1990’s when he continued to defend the cause of radical, historical scholarship, even in a political era when such radicalism was increasingly denigrated by others. And they were evident in his life-long concern about the potential abuse of presidential war powers.

In recent years, Harrington had been beset by his own health problems and by the deaths of his only son, Harvey, and his beloved wife, Nancy. Buoyed by his four remarkable daughters, however, he remained active in departmental and university affairs, both in the Emeritus teaching program for freshmen and in the Harvey Goldberg Center for the Study of Contemporary History. Re-energized in his own writing, he also became active once more as a public lecturer. Having spoken in Madison about the Sterling Hall bombing of 1970, he was due to address the 25th commemoration of the Kent State killings when death ended the remarkable work of one of the intellectual and educational giants of our time.

Leon Epstein
Stanley Kutler
Thomas McCormick, Chair
Maurice Meisner
Robert Taylor

Gargan, Edward T. - January 10, 1995

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 1126
3 April 1995


Edward T. Gargan died on January 10, 1995 at the age of 72, after being stricken by a heart attack while at work in his study. A native of New York City, he received his doctorate at Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C. Prior to joining our faculty in 1967 he had taught at Boston College, Loyola University in Chicago, and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

The author or co-author of several books and scores of articles, Edward Gargan was internationally recognized as a leading scholar in the field of modern French history. In 1970 he was elected president of the American Catholic Historical Association and four years later became president of the Society for French Historical Studies. In recognition of his many contributions to the study of modern French history he was awarded the Palmes académiques by the French Ministry of National Education. After his retirement in 1992, he remained actively engaged in research and writing. At the time of his death he was working on the long neglected French novelist and Nobel laureate Roger Martin du Gard. The choice of this unfashionable literary figure as the subject of his research is evidence not only of Edward Gargan’s great historical flair, but also of his firm belief that the literature of a period can enrich and sustain the study of its history.

Edward Gargan’s legacy as a scholar goes well beyond his published work. It lives on in the work of the twenty fine young scholars who wrote their doctoral dissertations under his supervision and are now spread throughout the American academic world. In their achievements he took great and fully justified pride; over the years he kept in close touch with them, generously offering encouragement and advice. The week before he died, he had gone to Chicago for the American Historical Association Convention in order to attend a number of sessions in which some of his former students were presenting papers. Back in Madison, he recalled that experience with great pleasure.

To his colleagues and friends Edward Gargan was more than a highly respected scholar whose broad intellectual interests ranged well beyond his chosen field of specialization. He was also a loyal and generous friend, always willing to share his time and vast knowledge with them; a man of utter integrity and compassion, with a keen concern for social justice. Throughout his life he was inspired and sustained by a deeply rooted religious faith. This, together with the love and support of his wife Bernadette and of his sons Edward and Christopher, lent him the fortitude and the serenity that accompanied him to the end. His death is a sad loss for all those whose lives he touched. He will long be remembered. He will be greatly missed.

John M. Cooper
Suzanne M. Desan
James S. Donnelly, Jr.
Robert L. Koehl
Mary Lydon
Domenico Sella, Chair

Stauffer, Robert C. - April 30, 1992

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 971
5 October 1992


Robert C. Stauffer, a member of the History of Science faculty since 1947, died on April 30, 1992 in Madison. He had been retired since 1978. He was born on May 26, 1913, in Cleveland, Ohio, the only child of Raymond Clinton Stauffer, who had a long and distinguished career as a geologist at the University of Minnesota, and Eva Grace Webb Stauffer. Robert received his B.A. in biology at Dartmouth College in 1934, his M.A. at Harvard in 1939, and his Ph.D. in history at Harvard in 1948, after service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Robert Stauffer is survived by his former wife, Velma Mekeel Stauffer of Madison.

Stauffer joined the Wisconsin faculty in January 1947 to reactivate the history of science department which had been created in 1941, but had remained unstaffed throughout most of World War II. Stauffer was joined in January 1948 by Marshall Clagett and together they proceeded to make Wisconsin a leading center for study of history of science, Stauffer focusing on the biological sciences, Clagett on the physical sciences.

During the University of Wisconsin Centennial Year (1949), Stauffer chaired a committee which brought to Madison a symposium which included a panel of leaders who focused their attention on the role of science in modern civilization. The papers presented at the symposium were edited by Stauffer and published as Science and Civilizations by the UW Press in 1952.

The climax of Stauffer’s career was the publication in 1975 of Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection. This work was Darwin’s uncompleted draft of a much larger version of what became the famous Origin of the Species, published in 1859. The existence of this larger manuscript was well known and its editing and publication had long been a desideratum of Darwinian scholars, but the size and complexity of the task daunted scholars for more than a century. The successful completion of this work attests Stauffer’s characteristic qualities of patience, deliberate thoroughness, and meticulous attention to detail. One reviewer labeled the book as “probably the publishing event of the decade in the history of science.”

Robert Stauffer’s dedication to the history of science will continue to be felt through the annual purchase of distinguished books and manuscripts in that field for the University Library, thanks to his substantial bequest to the University Foundation for that purpose.

Victor Hilts
Aaron J. Ihde, Chair
John Neu
Robert Siegfried
Glenn Sonnedecker

Hill, Henry B. - December 6, 1990

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 881
1 April 1991


Henry Bertram Hill, Emeritus Professor of History and the University’s first Dean of International Studies and Programs, died on December 6, 1990 in Columbus, Ohio.

He was born in Stoughton, Massachusetts, on March 30, 1907. He earned his B.A. degree at the University of New Hampshire in 1928, the A.M. in 1931 and the Ph.D. in 1933 in Modern European History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Chester Penn Higby as his major professor.

From 1934 to 1948 Professor Hill taught History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, moving from instructor to full professor. During World War II he was on leave from that institution, serving from 1942 to 1945 as Chief of the Western Europe section of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency). This was a high-ranking research position. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, he was a consultant to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the Department of State, these assignments being in international education and exchange.

Henry returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a professor of History in 1948, serving until his retirement in 1972. He was chairman of the department from 1955 to 1958. In addition to -teaching and administration on the Madison campus, he was for some years in charge of staffing and supervision of the History departments at the University’s two-year centers throughout the state.

A specialist in the constitutional history of France, Dr. Hill was coauthor of Modern France (Princeton University Press, 1951) and of Europe in Review (Rand-McNally, 1957 and 1964); and author and editor of the Political Testament of Cardinal Richelieu (University of Wisconsin Press, 1961, 1972).

In 1962 Professor Hill was named Coordinator of the then expanding international activities of the University and in 1965 was appointed the first Dean of International Studies and Programs. In this post his accomplishments were many. Most noteworthy were the founding of the University’s first European Junior Year Abroad programs in Aix-en-Provence, Freiburg, Madrid, and Bologna; his key role in administering a large grant from the Ford Foundation to foster the expansion of international activities and leading to the founding of several important Language and Area Centers; his service as Wisconsin’s representative to MUCIA, a consortium of midwest universities to develop assistance programs in various foreign universities; and his service on the Board of Directors of the National Council of International Education and Exchange. The prominent role which Wisconsin now plays in international education and research was made possible by the foundations laid during his deanship.

Henry Hill’s grandmother was the author of Cooking for Two, his parents editing later editions of this popular volume. Henry is survived by his wife, the former Marjorie Yourd, author of successful children’s books; by a daughter, Jennifer Sharp, a successful artist in Mineral Point, Wisconsin; a son David, an employee in IBM in Seattle, Washington; and by five grandchildren.

Choosing early retirement, the Hills moved to Three Rivers, Michigan, and later to Dublin, Ohio. A dedicated trout fisherman who fished in many countries, wrote articles and collected books in the field, Henry was able to give time to his hobby during his years of retirement. He fell while on a fishing expedition with his son in the summer of 1990, and never fully recovered. Parkinson’s disease plagued him in his later years, and was largely responsible for his death last December. At his last request his ashes were scattered in the Yellowstone Park trout streams which had afforded him so much pleasure through the years.

Fred Harvey Harrington, Chair
E. R. Mulvihill
Sieghardt M. Riegel

Petrovich, Michael B. - March 28, 1989

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 810
11 September 1989


In the spring of 1988, Michael B. Petrovich’s colleagues celebrated his retirement from the History Department’s faculty, after 37 years of service. He intended in his new freedom to address a number of backlogged scholarly projects. Within weeks, he was suddenly confronted with the onslaught of cancer, which he faced with realism and courage, sustained by the confidence of his religious faith, the nurture of his church community, and, above all, by the support of his devoted wife, Dushanka, and family. Working virtually to the end, he died on March 28, 1989.

Michael Boro Petrovich was born in 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio, of Serbian and Croatian parentage. After completing undergraduate studies (and winning election to Phi Beta Kappa), he served for the last two years of World War II as an officer in the OSS, his postings including Yugoslavia in the post-War early-Tito era. While pursuing graduate study at Columbia (M.A. 1947, Ph.D. 1955) and study abroad, Michael was engaged as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison starting in the fall of 1950. He was made Assistant Professor in 1953; he rose to full professorship in 1960, and in 1982 was made Evjue-Bascom Professor of History. Along the way, he accumulated a daunting list of honors: the first Kiekhofer Memorial Teaching Award (1953), the E. Harris Harbison Award for Distinguished Teaching (1967), the Wisconsin Student Association Teaching Award (1969), an honorary degree, and a range of honors national and international. He was chosen to lead various organizations, or serve on councils, in his scholarly fields of Slavic, Russian, and Balkan studies. His prolific scholarly output totaled some 70 items over more than 40 years of publishing; he coauthored five textbooks (and was working on a high-school text when he died), and translated seven of the books of his old friend, the Yugoslav dissident Milovan Djilas. His pioneering history of modern Serbia alone made him one of the commanding figures in his field; at the time of his death he was working on another groundbreaking study of the place of Dalmatian Humanists in the Italian Renaissance. His role in organizing the Russian Area Studies Program was one of his many lasting contributions to the campus at large. Another was his service on innumerable faculty committees, notably on the University Committee, and as chairman of two early committees on the problems of minority enrollment and retention.

Michael Petrovich never saw scholarship as isolated learning but as knowledge to be shared, enthusiasm to be spread. As an expert seeking to propagate his specialty, he produced a large number of academic disciples, directing some thirty each of M.A. and Ph.D. dissertations; these students are now spread throughout the American academic world, extending indirectly his own direct imprint upon that world. But he also believed firmly in undergraduate teaching. In his dedication to this belief, he won both awards and a wide following for his classroom skill. He was also a pioneer of new techniques: he was the first faculty member on the campus to use the Multimedia Instructional Laboratory in developing his two-semester course on the History of Russia. His classroom lectures in this and other courses were recorded and regularly broadcast over the University’s radio service, making him a familiar and respected ambassador of the University throughout the state, by far one of its best-known professors. Beyond formal teaching, he was tireless in carrying his messages to a still broader public: speaking to civic groups and a wide range of public service or adult education seminars. He contributed several superbly guided tours of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to Extension programs. In all formats, he made his subject attractive, even dramatic, without diminishing the substance and the intellectual quality of his presentations.

His faculty colleagues hard-pressed to keep track of Michael’s scholarly and educational range, were rarely aware of the yet wider scope of his activities. Deeply devoted to Madison, he was well-known in a range of civic functions, especially in religious and ecumenical areas; and he was a devoted member of Madison’s Downtown Rotary, of which he served as a well-remembered President, and of which he had been planning to write a history at the time of his death.

Born into the Serbian Orthodox Church, son of a priest and himself a choir director from youth, Michael was a devout adherent of the Orthodox faith, which rewarded his devotion in the serenity and confidence it gave him in facing his ordeal by cancer. Also a talented and largely self-trained amateur musician, Michael organized the choir of Madison’s Greek Orthodox Church of the Dormition; he not only made it a musical group of remarkable quality for so small a parish, but he devoted decades of effort to making his own arrangements of liturgical melodies to create one of the most influential bodies of practical performing material in Greek church music in America today. Among his hobbies, he enjoyed mounting reproductions of Orthodox icons.

Modest yet confident in bearing, Michael Petrovich was an infinitely articulate person, brilliant, engaging, and insightful, whether in formal lecturing or in relaxed conversation. He wore his erudition gracefully, able to converse easily and unpatronizingly with anyone he met. Gentle, an individual of utter integrity, he was a gentleman in the classic meaning of the word, and a coherent, totally integrated person.

The measure of Michael Petrovich’s impact is that he is deeply mourned and sorely missed in so many different sectors, by so many of the circles and individuals his rich life touched. In him, the University for Wisconsin has lost one of its faculty immortals, his colleagues have lost one of their noblest friends, his field has lost one of its leading scholars, and the world has lost one of the most remarkable of human beings. Our loss is only the more acute because he has left with us so very much of himself, in so many ways.

John W. Barker, Chair
Leon D. Epstein
Domenico Sella
Alfred E. Senn
J. Thomas Shaw

Edson, Charles F. - December 14, 1988

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 794
1 May 1989


Charles F. Edson, Professor Emeritus of Ancient History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died on Wednesday, December 14, 1988, in Hebron Hall, Oakwood Lutheran Home, Madison, Wisconsin. Professor Edson was born in Los Angeles, California, December 26, 1905. He attended public schools in Los Angeles and San Francisco, then received his B.A. degree at Stanford University in 1929. He received his M.S in 1931 and his Ph.D. in 1939 at Harvard University. In 1938 he was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin, and except for three years in the U.S. Army during World War II, and two appointments as a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, he continued to teach at the UW-Madison until his retirement in 1976.

Charles Edson’s major research project was Inscriptiones Graecae, Editio minor, Volumen X: Inscriptiones Epiri, Macedoniae, Thraciae, Scythiae, Pars II: Inscriptiones Macedoniae, Fasciculus I: Inscriptiones Thessalonicae et Viciniae (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1972). He was the first American scholar to serve as an editor of this German Academy of Sciences’ publication. This edition contains 1,041 inscriptions, mostly Greek with a few in Latin, dating from 300 B.C. to A.D. 700. For this effort he was elected to the German Archaeological Institute in 1972. In 1974 he won the Charles Goodwin Prize, awarded by the American Philological Association.

From the late 1930s until his retirement Charles Edson was a mainstay of instruction in Ancient History in the U.S. He was a rigorous trainer of graduate students, and a prodigious undergraduate lecturer. His two-semester survey of Ancient History was one of the most consistently taught and best attended in this country.

Charles Edson insisted that Herodotus and Edward Gibbon were the only historians whose writings could provoke laughter. He therefore kept his dry, sharp wit under wraps in his published works, but in the lecture hall and private conversation he had no such compunction. Long ago, for instance, he parodied Cicero’s infamous hexameter (Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea laudi) on learning that undergraduate men who played in the UW-Madison band were excused from compulsory ROTC: “Cedant arma tubae [‘Trumpets a-play, soldiers away’]” he announced to a colleague. Colleagues, students and friends will forever remember the tuneless hum which punctuated all such witticisms. .

Frank M. Clover, Chair
Herbert M. Howe
Kenneth S. Sacks
John Scarborough
Domenico Sella

Boardman, Eugene P. - 1987

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 727
7 December 1987


Gene Boardman was “quiet but active and forceful, cool in his judgments”–in the words of a professor who supervised his work as a teaching assistant in the History Department in 1936-37. A neighbor who knew him in the 1950s and 60s added: “He was filled with humanitarian common sense.” At this University, he pioneered in the East Asian field and with a course in History of Religions and was known as a devoted teacher but his career, as Who’s Who in America briefly indicates, went far beyond the campus.

Eugene P. Boardman, the son of Charles W. and Irmgard I. Boardman, was born on October 5, 1910 in Aurora, Illinois. He grew up in Delavan and graduated from Beloit College in 1932 with Phi Beta Kappa honors. An early indication of his social consciousness was a paper for which he was given a prize at Beloit–“Race Prejudice: Its Significance and Control.” He spent the next three years teaching English, biology, and social science in the Preparatory School of the American University in Beirut and traveling extensively in the Middle East and Europe. Upon his return, after a brief stint as a high school instructor at Delavan, he entered the History graduate program here. With the noted American historian, John D. Hicks, as his major professor, he completed a thesis which also reflected his interest in minorities–“A Historical Survey of Japanese Exclusion and Discrimination in the United States”–and received his MA in 1937.

Since his interest was increasing in East Asian history, he had to go elsewhere to work in that field. He entered Harvard where he was one of the first students of John K. Fairbank who was to become the dean of modern Chinese studies in this country. He earned another MA there in 1939 and was working on his dissertation when he enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 1941. He was one of a dozen young graduate students recruited to be Japanese language intelligence officers.

His war service was distinguished and he eventually attained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the post-war reserves. He was at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack and participated in the Tulagi and Guadalcanal campaigns in the First Marine Division and at Tarawa, Saipan, and Tinian with the Second Marine Division. The Secretary of the Navy best summed up his service in the citation for the Legion of Merit: “Working long hours under fire and at times in positions of great danger, Captain Boardman translated captured documents and interrogated prisoners of war, thereby contributing materially to the prosecution of the campaigns and the probable saving of many American lives.” He suffered from combat fatigue and had four attacks of malaria during the war. In the fall of 1945, he served as chief interpreter at the war crimes trial of General Yamashita. He believed that this was a miscarriage of justice and argued to this effect in an article which appeared in the Marine Corps Gazette in June 1946.

After the war, he began work on his dissertation which he had left unfinished five years before. He completed it and was awarded the PhD degree in 1947. In the fall of 1946, he accepted a position as assistant professor in the History Department and offered the first course taught here in, what was then termed, Far Eastern History. Later, he offered courses in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean history as well as a seminar in historiography. He was an outstanding undergraduate teacher. Several now prominent China scholars were first introduced to the field as undergraduates in his East Asian civilization course. In the 1950s and 60s, he was one of the country’s best known teachers of graduate students as well and he supervised many MA and PhD theses. Several of his students, Jackson Bailey and Sidney Brown among them, subsequently achieved prominence as teachers and scholars in the field. He also headed the first inter-departmental program in East Asian Studies which he helped organize in 1953. Throughout his career he was always most helpful to Asian students who came to Madison. He published Christian Influence upon the Ideology of the Taiping Rebellion: 1851-1854 in 1952 as well as several articles in his field. In addition to a Fulbright grant which took him to Hongkong in 1951, he spent a year as a Senior Research Fellow in Chinese Studies at the East Asian Institute of Columbia University in 1956-57 and served on the American Historical Association’s Asian-African Committee. As a historian, he sought to observe world areas as total cultures. This led him to stress, among other features, the role of language and religion in understanding civilizations. He firmly believed that knowledge of a culture’s language was an essential key to understanding that culture’s thought processes.

The son of a Congregationalist minister, Gene also had the opportunity to observe the world of Islam in Beirut and, during his travels in East Asia, various Oriental religions as well as the impact of Christian missionaries. While at Columbia he talked with several professors there and at the Union Theological Seminary to add to what he had observed to prepare a course in History of Religions. In this pioneering course, he was scrupulously objective and careful to make clear that it was not his task to teach religion but rather to teach about religions and their role in history.

In 1948 he became a member of the Society of Friends. Throughout the rest of his life he played a prominent role in this group. He served several terms as Clerk, the chairman of the congregation, and as Recording Clerk who kept the records and later as Librarian and Archivist. He was serving as the latter at the time of his death. As the presiding officer he demonstrated his tact at skillfully guiding, but not leading, discussions to make sure that the results reflected the sense of the group. One who participated in many of those meetings recalled: “He was quite a statesman.” He spent 1965-66 as a lobbyist with the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington in an effort to convince Congress that the government should change its China policy. He later published his recommendations in A New China Policy–Some Quaker Proposals.

Retirement from the University in 1980 gave Gene more time to devote to his abiding interests in music and politics. A talented pianist and organist who helped pay his way through Harvard playing at churches, he later was a member of the Philharmonic and Civic Choruses and sang in the chorus or in bit parts with the Madison Civic Opera. He also had more time to help the Democratic party as he began to work several hours a week at party headquarters. Then, he also contributed to the environmental efforts of Rock Ridge Community near Dodgeville. In the spring of 1987, Edgewood College awarded him an honorary doctorate in humane letters. At that time, the College president saluted him: “His career and life have exemplified the values of Christian humanism, his teaching reflected a global perspective and interdisciplinary approach and he is a strong proponent of liberal arts.”

He is survived by his former wife, Betty, and by three daughters, Susan, Sarah, and Erika, and three sons, Christopher, Andrew, and Benjamin, and eight grandchildren.

John W. Barker
Maurice J. Meisner
Michael B. Petrovich
Edward M. Coffman, Chair

Jensen, Merrill - January 30, 1980

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 389
7 April 1980


Professor Merrill Jensen, a leading historian of the American Revolutionary era, died in Madison on January 30, 1980, after a valiant seven-month battle with cancer.

Jensen was born in the small farming community of Elkhorn, Iowa on July 16, 1905, in what was then called modest circumstances. In later years he often referred to the drudgery and hard work of farm life. He graduated from high school with a teaching certificate and taught for several years in a one-room school near Woonsocket, South Dakota, where he met his future wife, Genevieve, on whose support and help he counted to the end. With meager resources he entered the University of Washington, Seattle, where he earned his B.A. in 1929, and returned to South Dakota to marry. He went back to Seattle with his wife and received his M.A. there in 1931. He was sent to the University of Wisconsin by his mentor, Professor Edward McMahon, who partially subsidized Jensen’s work for his doctorate, which he earned here in 1934, while he and his wife also worked longhours in the State Historical Society.

From 1935 to 1944 Jensen taught at the University of Washington, rising through the ranks from instructor to associate professor, and forming a deep personal attach­ment to the Puget Sound area. He served as editor of the Pacific Northwest Quarterly (whose title he had changed from the Washington Historical Quarterly) from 1935 to 1942, while publishing elsewhere a series of major articles and a book based on his dissertation, The Articles of Confederation (1940), which later went through two more editions. It profoundly altered our understanding of our nation’s first con­stitution and immediately earned Jensen a major reputation. In 1944 he served briefly in the Army Air Force as a historian, an experience that confirmed his irreverence toward the military. He returned to the University of Wisconsin in 1944 to spend the rest of his life as a member of this faculty.

His second book, The New Nation, A History of the United States During the Con­federation, 1781-1789 (1950), changed historical thinking about that period and placed him in the front ranks of American historians. His range of interests was further shown in his creative editing of Regionalism in America (1951) and of the authoritative volume, American Colonial Documents to 1776 (1954) in the standard English Historical Documents series. The long list of recognitions and honors he accrued must begin with his appointment as Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University in 1949-50. In 1955 he directed a seminar at the University of Tokyo, Japan, and became thereafter one of the guiding spirits in the development of American Studies in Japan. His students there, many now enjoying distinguished careers, referred to him affectionately as “Grandpa.” In the fall of 1960 he directed a seminar on American Colonial History at the University of Ghent, Belgium, and in the spring of 1961 gave a series of seminars at Kyoto University, Japan.

His departmental colleagues seized the occasion of his absence to name him their new chairman, a task to which he gave much of his energy from 1961 to 1964. Those were years of rapid growth in enrollments and faculty for the department as well as the university, requiring much creative administration and planning, which Jensen carried through vigorously. But he laid down his duties and concerns with much relief in June, 1964, driving west for his annual summer holiday in Puget Sound. Teaching and scholarship, rather than administration, always held first claim. When the executive committee of Kyoto University’s American Studies Sumner Seminar invited Jensen to return to Japan in the late 1960’s as a “Dean” of their 20th anniversary seminar, he asserted that “I have never been a dean and I am not sure that I want to blot my record by serving as one, even if for only three weeks.”

Jensen resumed his effective roles as undergraduate teacher, a demanding graduate director, and an original scholar in the mid-1960’s, attracting ever larger numbers of promising graduate students. He published, in those years, the short, but authoritative, The Making of the American Constitution (1964), the magisterial The Founding of a Nation: A History of the American Revolution, 1763-1776 (1968), and the edited Tracts of the American Revolution (1967). Meanwhile, he was serving on the Board of Directors of the American Studies Association and of the Institute of Early American History and Culture. By then he also had been designated Vilas Research Professor and had been appointed by the National Historical Publications Commission as editor of the Documentary History of the First Federal Elections. In 1969 he was elected President of the Organization of American Historians, appointed to the Advisory Committee on the publication of the Papers of George Washington, and to similar boards for the Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, of the Letters of Delegates to the Continental Congress, and to Papers of the American Loyalists. He was elected in 1969 as member of both the American Antiquarian Society and the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and was appointed by the Library of Congress to its Advisory Board on the Bicentennial of the American Revolution. In December, 1969, he was also appointed Editor of the projected multi-volume Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which brought to this campus a great collection of research materials and a team of young scholar-editors (most of them Jensen students) whose work he spent more and more of his time directing during the next decade.

Honors continued to devolve upon him, which he bore with grace and good humor. He delivered the Anson G. Phelps Lectures at New York University in November, 1973, published as The American Revolution within America (1974). On one of the more memorable occasions he appeared before a joint session of Congress, in 1974, as the principal speaker in celebrations of the Bicentennial, spicing his presentation with his usual tough-minded realism and sharp deflating of pretense. His formal retirement from this faculty, in 1976, was marked by a gathering on this campus of his and other students of the Revolutionary era in a way that must have pleased him most. There were plenty of scholarly papers presented and subjected to rigorous criticism with much good fellowship. His former students also honored him with a festschrift. By then Jensen could clearly no longer claim even in jest that his main accomplishment in life had been surviving his daughter’s adolescence.

Professor Jensen was also serving in the mid-1970’s on the Wisconsin Bicenten­nial Commission. He continued working at his editing tasks with no appreciable abatement of effort for three years. The son of a Danish carpenter, he confessed to being a frustrated architect who enjoyed planning, working with wood, and lis­tening to a discriminating collection of classical music. When illness struck, he exhibited the qualities that marked much of his life and work–an unflinching insistence on finding and facing facts, an impatient but remorseless search for truth, a deep capacity for cherishing friends and for bearing afflictions with exemplary stoicism.

Theodore Hamerow
Fred Harvey Harrington
David S. Lovejoy
Robert C. Nesbit
Michael B. Petrovich
Norman K. Risjord
Morton Rothstein, Chairman
Domenico Sella

Easum, Chester V. - December 28, 1979

University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Document 383
3 March 1980


Professor of History Emeritus Chester V. Easum died in Madison December 28, 1979, in his 85th year. Surviving him are his wife Norma, a son, United States Ambassador Donald B. Easum, and two daughters, Martha and Janet, as well as ten grandchildren.

Chester V. Easum was born on March 30, 1894, in Clayton, Illinois, where he received his elementary and high school education. He then attended Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois, where he received the B.A. degree in 1914, after which he served as principal and teacher of United States History in Knoxville High School (Illinois), in 1914-1915. In 1916-1917 he went to England as a Rhodes scholar and studied at Oxford University. This experience was interrupted by the entry of the United States in the First World War. During that war Chester Easum served in the American Expeditionary Force and Army of Occupation as a combat infantry officer as well as an instructor in army schools. He then resumed his education at Oxford University, where, after two and a half years, he received a second B.A. degree and the M.A. degree. Upon his return to the United States, he taught United States and Modern European History as an instructor in the Culver Military Academy (Indiana).

It was with this impressive academic record and teaching experience that Chester Easum first came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 1927, as a candidate for the Ph.D. degree. He received an Assistantship in History in that year, at a salary of $1000. He was already married to Norma at the time, and she helped out financially as a church organist. They lived at 913 University Avenue, at the corner of Park and University on which a bank was later built. Easum received the Ph.D. degree in 1928 after submitting a dissertation which reflected his interest in both European and American history: The Americanization of Carl Schurz. It was written under the supervision of Professor Frederic Logan Paxson. The dissertation was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1929, and was published in German, in Munich, in 1937.

Following a brief return to Culver Military Academy, Chester Easum was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin in 1930. He became Associate Professor in 1934, and Professor in 1941. He retired in June, 1964, after 34 years on the Faculty, not counting his one-year Assistantship. During those three and a half decades he served the Department of History in various capacities, most notably as its chairman, from 1949 to 1952.

Professor Easum’s scholarly interests were concentrated particularly in two fields–German history and the history of the two World Wars. His interest in German history was no doubt deepened by his work on the great German-American Carl Schurz. The result of his further interest in Germany was his work, Prince Henry of Prussia: Brother of Frederick the Great, which appeared in 1942 and was then translated into German during the following decade. In 1954-1956 Professor Easum had further contact with Germany as the Cultural Attaché in the United States High Commission and then the United States Embassy. At a time when our country was seeking to renew cultural and academic ties with a recent foe who was becoming a future ally, Easum’s knowledge of German history and his judicious temperament contributed to the work of national reconciliation. His activity was especially useful in establishing contacts between the American Embassy and the German univer­sities. He frequently lectured at institutions of higher learning, usually in German, and he came to know personally many of the leading scholars of the German Federal Republic. After returning to his teaching duties at the University of Wisconsin, he maintained these contacts with the academic world of Germany, so that his students were able to benefit from them in their own research. He thus con­tributed to the renewed exchange of ideas and insights between American and German scholars which the tragic events of the Third Reich had interrupted. The study of the history of Central Europe in this country is indebted to him not only for what he himself contributed to it, but also for what he did to make it possible for others to make their contributions.

Through his courses and his comprehensive synthetic work–Half-Century of Conflict (New York, 1952), Professor Easum explained to thousands of students the two World Wars and the transformations they forced on Europe. From him students learned, as he stated in the preface to that book: “The study of the wars resolves itself…naturally and logically into a study of the problems of tolerance, secu­rity, and peace.” Accordingly, he fitted military history into the broader context of diplomatic and political affairs. In addition to the craft of a historian, he brought to his study of this tumultuous era the personal experiences of a combat infantry officer on the Western Front and the first-hand observations of England during World War I and of Nazi Germany in the mid-Thirties. Now his immeasurable influence on World War II studies continues through his graduate students who are still working in that field.

While Chairman of the History Department, Easum presented its needs with per­sistent force yet with understanding of the total institution. He believed that what was good for the Department of History was good for the University, and within the Department he strove effectively through his administration to make sure that this faith was well founded.

His judgments in matters of taste, manners, and interests, and also about personal foibles, were tolerant, but very firm concerning character and scholarly integrity. He was meticulous in his work and expected others to be so. (He even had footnotes in a 1944 guest editorial for The Wisconsin State Journal.)

In the postwar period, pressures grew, with spokesmen among the Regents, for special requirements in American history. A Letters and Science committee to con­sider the matter was appointed, with Easum the only member from the Department of History. The laudable purpose behind the pressures was to make certain that all students have a knowledge of our institutions and their development, and as Easum put it: “That the University has a responsibility to insure that its graduates go forth to their roles as citizens of a democracy informed upon such concepts as the dignity of the individual, the universal right to opportunity, freedom of opinion, etc.” But a mere requirement in American history was a simplistic formula for fulfilling these aims. Moreover, not only relations between departments but balance within the Department of History was involved. Easum played a key role in the faculty taking action that was a step toward the desired goal and, in general, satisfied those concerned, including the most emphatic among the Regents. Few did more by writing and speaking during the war and postwar period to make the citizens aware of American ideals and their place in a world in travail.

Easum was also chairman of a committee that gathered together material now in the University archives on the role of the University in war endeavors.

Perhaps some ideas of his resolution and his resourcefulness can be gained from his actions when for awhile he suffered from a serious throat ailment. He did not give up tennis but adapted the motions of baseball umpires to the necessary communication. He carried a little self-renewing pad on which he wrote with a stylus and pulled up a cellophane flap to erase what was written. As he improved he was the first professor in the University to regularly use a microphone in class.

Many people will remember Chester Easum particularly as a teacher and a pub­lic lecturer. He was justly admired as both. He prepared his lectures with great care, and delivered them in a quiet yet forceful style. His emphasis on the use of films and maps was much appreciated by his audiences. His popular series of films on the Second World War was a community event. Easum was also among the first professors on this campus to have his lecture course broadcast over Station WHA. On one occasion, after observing the lecture of a young colleague who was a novice in teaching and a bit too eager to crowd all he knew into one lecture, Easum told him gently, “Remember, Michael, it’s not what you bring to them that counts, but what they take away with them.” It was excellent advice. Professor Easum brought much to his students, and many of them, now themselves advanced in years, still remember how much they brought away with them from his lectures and public addresses.

Professor Easum was not only a scholar of national and international reputa­tion. He was also a good citizen of this University and of the Madison community. Besides various national organizations, he was a member of the State Historical Society, the local chapters of the American Association of University Professors, Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi; he was also an active Rotarian and member of the Madison Literary Club and Professional Men’s Club. He and his whole family were also active in the First Congregational Church. He enriched all of these organi­zations with his active participation. Among his various honors, he was particu­larly proud of the LL.D. degree conferred upon him in 1961 by his alma mater, Knox College.

Chester Easum had a great capacity for affection, which though it centered in his family extended to many friends. He had the unstinted devotion of his wife through many years of health and finally through protracted invalidism. Those few close friends who survive him remember they had the comradeship of an intelli­gent, upright man and a choice spirit.

Edward M. Coffman
Theodore S. Hamerow
Fred Harvey Harrington
Mark H. Ingraham
Michael B. Petrovich, Chairman