Briton Cooper "Tony" Busch (1936-2004)
Graham Russell Gao Hodges, April 2005
Briton Cooper "Tony" Busch, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History at Colgate University, died at his home in Hamilton, New York, on May 10, 2004. Born in Los Angeles, California, on September 5, 1936, Tony Busch received a BA from Stanford University and an MA and PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. He joined the faculty at Colgate in 1963. Busch gained tenure in 1970 and became the Kenan Professor in 1978. He was chair of the history department from 1980 to 1983 and was director of the Division of Social Sciences from 1985 to 1991. He frequently directed departmental study groups in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, and Canada. His teaching contributions include modern European history, maritime and military history, and the teachings and the histories of the Middle East, India, and the Indian Ocean. He was book review editor of the American Neptune from 1991 to 2003 and was past president of the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH).
Busch's books include Britain and the Persian Gulf, 1894–1914, published in 1967 by the University of California Press; Britain, India, and the Arabs, 1914–1921, published in 1971, also by the University of California Press; Mudros to Lausanne: Britain's Frontier in West Asia, 1918–1923, published by the State University of New York Press in 1976; and Hardinge of Penshurst: A Study in Old Diplomacy, published by Archon Books in 1980. Tony Busch's interests then turned to oceanic history, and he published extensively in that area, beginning with his edition of Master of Desolation: The Reminiscences of Captain Joseph J. Fuller, published in 1980 by the Mystic Seaport Museum. Three years later he edited Alta California 1840–42: The Journal and Observations of William Dane Phelps, Master of the Ship "Alert," published by A.H. Clark. The book won the John Lyman Book Award in North American Oceanic Memoirs from NASOH. In 1985, Tony Busch produced one of his best known works, The War Against the Seals: A History of the North American Seal Fishery from McGill-Queen's University Press, which won the John Lyman Award for Marine Science and Technology from NASOH. Busch published a second diary of Captain William Dane Phelps entitled Fremont's Private Army, published by A.H. Clark in 1987. In 1994, Busch produced Whaling Will Never Do for Me: The American Whale Men in the 19th Century, published by the University Press of Kentucky. The book won the John Lyman Price American Maritime History from NASOH. Busch collaborated with Barry M. Gough on Fur Traders from New England, an edition of the narratives of William Dane Phelps, William Sturgis, and James Gilchrist Swan, all fur traders working in the North Pacific in the late 18th century. Arthur H. Clark published the book in 1997 and it won the John Lyman Prize for Reference Works and Published Primary Sources from NASOH. In 2000, the organization gave Busch the L. Jack Bauer Award for distinguished overall contributions to the field of maritime history. In 2003, he edited Canada and the Great War: Western Front Association Papers for McGill-Queens University Press. His study of American military elites, Bunker Hill to Bastogne: Elite Forces and American Society, is forthcoming from Brassey's Press. At the time of his death, Tony Busch was completing a history of the California Coast.
His survivors are his wife, Jill Harsin, professor of history at Colgate, his daughter Leslie Cooper Busch, his son Philip Briton Busch and his wife Carey Hagan, and his grandson, Peter Briton Busch.
— Graham Russell Gao Hodges