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In Memoriam

We remember in this space the passings of OAH members, friends, colleagues, and others within the profession. Please submit your announcement using this form.

In Memoriam: Betty Miller Unterberger

OAH notes with sadness the passing of longtime member Betty Miller Unterberger. A native of Scotland, she began her college career at Syracuse University, earned her Master's degree at Radcliffe College (now Harvard), and completed her PhD at Duke University. A pioneer in her own right, Unterberger was Texas A&M's first female professor, and was the first woman president of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR). Read more about her life in a profile OAH printed in August 2005 in the OAH Newsletter.

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Posted: May 17, 2012
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In Memoriam: Naomi Wulf, 1964-2012

Naomi Wulf’s many American friends were deeply saddened to learn of her death on April 17, 2012, after her courageous, decade-long struggle with cancer. Naomi was a key figure in the American Studies community in France and throughout Europe. Born in 1964 of mixed Franco-American parentage, Naomi promoted a broader and deeper understanding of her two countries through her scholarship and her warm personal connections with fellow scholars.

Naomi completed her PhD. under the mentorship of the distinguished Americanist Elise Marienstras at Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7 and first taught at Paris-12, now the Université Paris-Est Créteil; in 2007, she was named professor of American History at the Universit? Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3. At the time of her death Naomi was revising her prize-winning doctoral dissertation for publication as a book, “Democracy in America”: Orestes Brownson, American Critic of Jacksonian America. Naomi was convinced that this brilliant and eccentric preacher, social reformer and Catholic convert offered an illuminating counterpoint to Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous contemporaneous account of the new nation’s political culture in his classic Democracy in America. Naomi worked on her project for many years, exploring Brownson’s Jeffersonian roots as a fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies (Monticello) in the Fall of 2010.

Naomi had a genius for collaboration and conference-organizing. Co-author of two monographs with her mentor Elise Marienstras, Naomi also edited volumes of conference proceedings and special issues of journals with Marienstras, Marie-Jeanne Rossignol, and Nathalie Caron. With Caron, her dear friend and now professor at Paris-Est Créteil, Naomi published “Les Lumières américaines: continuitiés et renouveau” in the on-line journal Transatlantica in 2009. This important essay was awarded the David Thelen Prize for the best foreign-language article on American history at the April meeting of the Organization of American Historians in Milwaukee and will be appear in English translation in The Journal of American History in 2013.

Naomi Wulf will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.

Peter Onuf, University of Virginia
Nathalie Caron, Paris-Est Créteil

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Posted: May 7, 2012
Tagged: In Memoriam


In Memoriam: Paul S. Boyer 1935-2012

The OAH notes with sadness the passing of Paul S. Boyer, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, and fifty-year member of the OAH. http://www.cressfuneralservice.com/obituary/89729/Paul-Boyer/

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Posted: March 23, 2012
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In Memoriam: John Morton Blum, 1921-2011

John Morton Blum, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University, died at his home in North Branford, Connecticut on October 17, 2011 at the age of ninety. A preeminent scholar of American politics and culture during the second half of the twentieth century, Blum was born on April 29, 1921 in New York City. A Yankee fan from his early youth, Blum followed the Bronx Bombers, the NFL Giants, and Yale football with equal gusto. He was educated at Andover and at Harvard, from which he received his Ph.D in 1950. He was a co-editor of the Letters of Theodore Roosevelt (1951—1954). Blum taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1949 to 1957 and at Yale from 1957 to 1991. Among his thirteen books, The Republican Roosevelt (1954) and V was for Victory (1976) had the widest influence, but his three—volume work From the Morgenthau Diaries (1959—1967) displayed the extensive range of his talents. His memoir A Life with History (2004) traced the many accomplishments of his career as author, scholar, and administrator in lucid and revealing prose. He was a gifted undergraduate lecturer whose recreation of Theodore Roosevelt at Kettle Hill became a classic experience for his student listeners. He was also a superb mentor to his many graduate students and friends within the historical profession. A memorial service at Yale University on November 11, 2011 brought more than 500 people together to honor his rich life, his vibrant personality, and his outstanding scholarly accomplishments. He lineis survived by Pamela Z. Blum (pzb23@comcast.net) of 88 Notch Hill Road, #176, North Branford, CT, 06471, their three children and three grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be made to the John Morton Blum Fellowship in American History at Yale University or to the scholarship fund of your choice at any university.

Lewis L. Gould

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Posted: December 15, 2011
Tagged: In Memoriam


In Memoriam: David Montgomery 1927-2011

The Organization of American Historians notes with sadness the passing of OAH Past President David Montgomery, Farnam Professor of History emeritus at Yale University, on December 2, 2011. Montgomery was 84 years of age.

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Posted: December 6, 2011
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In Memoriam: William S. Hanable, 1938-2011

Posted: October 4, 2011
Tagged: In Memoriam


In Memoriam: Robert W. Johannsen, 1925-2011

Robert W. Johannsen, J. G. Randall Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Illinois, died in Urbana, Illinois, on August 16, 2011, six days shy of his 86th birthday.

Best known for Stephen A. Douglas (1973), his biography of the Little Giant, Johannsen also wrote extensively on Lincoln, the Pacific Northwest in the frontier period, and the U.S.-Mexican War.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Johannsen graduated from Reed College in 1948, after his studies were interrupted by combat service in World War II. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington. After teaching a year at Washington and five years at the University of Kansas, he joined the Department of History at Illinois in 1959.

He attracted hundreds of students to his courses on nineteenth-century American history, the Jacksonian era and the Civil War. He also directed more than 35 dissertations.

In his writings, he endeavored to document the importance of Douglas in his own day. He sought to explain, not to defend, the Little Giant. Conversely, he attempted to moderate the popular, and even the professional, tendency to magnify Lincoln, to lift him beyond his own time and place.

Johannsen published not only a number of books and anthologies but also dozens of articles and reviews. The list of his writings in Politics and Culture of the Civil War Era: Essays in Honor of Robert W. Johannsen (2006) runs to 20 pages.

Johannsen was deeply committed to the study of the past and devoted beyond measure to teaching it. Those fortunate to have known him will always cherish the gentleness, warmth, and civility that pervaded his conversation and demeanor.

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Posted: August 26, 2011
Tagged: In Memoriam


In Memoriam: Vincent DeSantis, 1916-2011

VINCENT P. DE SANTIS, noted historian of the Gilded Age, died in Victoria, British Columbia on June 5, 2011 at the age of 94. A faculty member at the University of Notre Dame for over sixty years, he was a native of Birdsboro, PA. where he was born on December 25, 1916 to an Italian immigrant and his American wife. After graduating from Birdsboro High School, he spent two years at manual labor earning money for college. He graduated from West Chester State Teachers’ College in 1941, at which time he entered the Army as a private and served with the 19th Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division in New Guinea and the Philippine Islands. He left the service in December 1945 as a captain.

He used the GI bill to enter graduate school in history at Harvard University and then completed his doctoral degree at Johns Hopkins, studying under the eminent C. Vann Woodward. He began teaching at Notre Dame in 1949 and continued his tenure until 2010, producing fifteen doctoral students and being a favorite undergraduate teacher. He received three Fulbrights for teaching and research in Italy, India, and Australia.

His first book Republicans Face the Southern Question, The New Departure Years, 1877-1897 is the definitive work on southern politics and the freed people in the late 19th century. His textbook, which covered the Gilded Age through the Progressive Period, is widely used in college classrooms around the nation. He meticulously kept a daily diary beginning with his college days in the 1930s. He continued to research and write until his last days, still able to hold his own on the latest historiography.

He was a regular attendee at history conferences and was well known for his ability to tease his friends and colleagues. He could remember jokes about them for years. He also financially supported a variety of individuals and academic institutions.

He was married twice, his first marriage producing four sons. He is buried in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania.

John F. Marszalek
Ulysses S. Grant Association
Mississippi State University

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Posted: August 23, 2011
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In Memoriam: Elwin F. Hartwig

Professor Elwin F. Hartwig - 1929-2011

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Posted: June 1, 2011
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In Memoriam: Otis Pease

Professor Otis A. Pease, September 6, 1925 - September 16, 2010, was a member of OAH since 1953.

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Posted: February 7, 2011
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In Memoriam: Robert Griffith

As his colleagues, we remember these gentle and generous ways as we mourn the loss of Robert Griffith, professor and chairman of the history department at American University in Washington, D.C. and OAH Treasurer, who passed away on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at the age of sixty-nine.

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Posted: February 7, 2011
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In Memoriam: Dr. Robert J. Rusnak

Long time OAH member, Dr. Robert J. Rusnak, passed away November 21, 2010.

More information is available at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary.aspx?n=robert-jay-rusnak&pid=146822720

Posted: January 20, 2011
Tagged: In Memoriam


In Memoriam: Dr. Craig Wollner

Dr. Craig Wollner, Portland State University, Oct. 17, 1943 - Nov. 20, 2010.

More information is available at: http://obits.oregonlive.com/obituaries/oregon/obituary.aspx?n=craig-evan-wollner&pid=146922016

Posted: January 20, 2011
Tagged: In Memoriam


In Memoriam: Lawrence Gelfand

Distinguished OAH member and Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Iowa, Lawrence E. Gelfand passed away in Irvine, California on November 30, 2010.

More information is available at: http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20101207/NEWS02/12070325/Lawrence-Gelfand-84

Posted: December 13, 2010
Tagged: In Memoriam


In Memoriam: Richard E. Herrmann

Richard E. Herrmann, January 17, 2010, Volunteer State Community College, Gallatin, Tennessee.

More information is available at: http://www.stategazette.com/story/1603436.html

Posted: October 11, 2010
Tagged: In Memoriam


In Memoriam: William H. Goetzmann

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and OAH member, Dr. William H. Goetzmann, died September 7, 2010.

More information is available at: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10262/1088642-122.stm

Posted: October 11, 2010
Tagged: In Memoriam


In Memoriam: Robert Hohner

Robert A. Hohner, a historian of early twentieth-century southern politics, died on August 8, 2010, at his home in London, Ontario. In an educational career interrupted by service in the U.S. Navy, Bob received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Duke University. After teaching briefly at the U.S. Naval Academy, Bob took a position in 1965 at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), where he remained in the Department of History until his retirement in 2001.

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Posted: September 16, 2010
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In Memoriam: David Weber

David J. Weber, the founding director of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University, died on August 20, 2010, of multiple myeloma. Weber served the OAH in various capacities, most recently as a member of the OAH Executive Board (2006–2009) and as an OAH Distinguished Lecturer (1995–2001). For more information, visit www.smu.edu/News/2010/david-weber-dies-23aug2010.aspx.

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Posted: August 30, 2010
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In Memoriam: Peggy Pascoe

Peggy Pascoe, long time OAH member, and 2009 winner of the Lawrence W. Levine Prize for the best book in American cultural history, died on July 23, 2010 at the age of 55. For a complete obituary and brief biography, please visit http://history.uoregon.edu/news/pascoe_obituary/.

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Posted: August 26, 2010
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In Memoriam: Elizabeth Whitaker

OAH member Elizabeth Whitaker passed away on April 10, 2010 at the age of 51. She was a published author, lecturer, and researcher. For a complete obituary and brief biography, please visit http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx.

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Posted: July 23, 2010
Tagged: In Memoriam