In Memoriam: Abraham S. Eisenstadt
Hans L.Trefousse, March 2008
Abraham S. Eisenstadt, a long-time member of the history department at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, died on November 19, 2007, after a long illness. Widely known for his editorial work in American historiography, he was the author of a biography of Charles McLean Andrews; various articles, including "American History and Social Science" (Centennial Review, 1963), "The Perennial Myth: American History Today" (Massachusetts Review, fall 1966), "The World of Andrew Carnegie, 1865–1901" (Labor History, spring 1969), and "The Special Relationship: Commager's Britain through American Eyes" (Massachusetts Review, winter 1977); as well as other publications. In addition, he served as editor of American History: Recent Interpretations (two volumes), Major Issues in American History (six volumes), Reconsidering Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, and together with his colleagues Ari Hoogenboom and Hans L. Trefousse, Before Watergate: Problems of Corruption in American Society. Above all, he became well known for his co-editorship with John Hope Franklin of The American History Series, presenting current research in every field of U.S. history.
Abraham Eisenstadt was born in Brooklyn on June 18, 1920, received his AB at Brooklyn College in 1940, and his PhD in British and American history at Columbia University in 1955. Starting as an instructor in American and Western history at Brooklyn College in 1956, he became an assistant professor in 1961, an associate professor in 1964, and a full professor at the same institution in 1968. He also served as a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Bologna in 1962–63, and as a visiting professor at the Council of American Studies at Rome in 1963. At Brooklyn College, he was widely praised for his courses on American intellectual history, and he was one of the early sponsors of the American Studies program at the institution. Moreover, he was active in advocating changes in the department's curriculum, updating it to include those developments in historical scholarship which he had long been describing so well. His observation reports of the teaching of colleagues were a model of detail, rarely equaled by others. In 1949, he married Paulette Smith, with whom he had three children; a son, now deceased; and two daughters, who survive. A most engaging and admirable human being, he had a fine sense of humor and was a most popular colleague. The profession will sorely miss him.
Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad. Center