AHA President, 1909


Harvard University

From the American Historical Review 49:1 (October 1943)

Albert Bushnell Hart (July 1, 1854–June 16, 1943), one of the oldest, most eminent, and most widely known teachers and writers in the field of American history, died June 16 in Boston, a fortnight before his eighty-ninth birthday. He was one of the dwindling band who survived to see realized their early plans to promote the American Historical Association and this Review as the national organ of American historical scholarship. He was president of this Association in 1909 and of the American Political Science Association in 1912. These interests represented only a modest sector of his well-rounded and prodigiously active career. They are properly recalled here, although they may elsewhere be passed over, for to generations of Harvard students, to the general public, and even to the historical guild he was the teacher, the organizer, the promoter, the editor, the picturesque lecturer from picturesque sheaves of accumulated lore and bibliographical data. Many campus stories were told of him and he did not object and his spirit will take no offense as they are repeated in future years on and off the Harvard campus. Professor Hart was the author, joint author, or editor of about one hundred volumes, almost all in the field of American history and biography. All of these labors warrant Professor Hart’s being called the most useful historical worker of his generation. The preparation of bibliographical aids, the editing of documents as helps to teaching, the editing of maps, handbooks, and texts, and his participation in the work of the Committee of Seven on the teaching of history were most directly concerned with methods and aids to teaching. On a different level he edited and contributed to several historical series useful to the historical student and to the general reader. Most students would count to his greatest credit the editorship of the twenty-eight volumes of The American Nation. It was no mean achievement to enlist such an able group of co-operating scholars and to secure from them the promised manuscripts with no unreasonable delays. In the four little volumes of the Epochs of American History series, at first only three volumes, he first introduced Woodrow Wilson to a wide audience of college students in the nineties. The two men differed then, even it is said about the best usages in English, and their political outlook and reading of American history were never the same. Professor Hart gave his later years largely to promoting the study of George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. He was the historian of the United States Commission for the Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington. Professor Hart was always vigorous in affirmation and dissent. He did not fail in what he thought was his duty nor remain silent when by pen or voice he could promote his views. He was always faithful in his attendance at the meetings of the American Historical Association. At the Philadelphia meeting in 1937 (where someone who saw him pass called him the “Last Leaf on the Tree”) he arose in the business meeting to pay a brief, spontaneous, moving tribute to his colleague Professor Charles Haskins, whose obituary had just been read. It was probably his last word to his professional associates, and it was a fitting utterance by which to remember the veteran leader. For the record these data are added. Professor Hart was born in Clarksville, Pennsylvania, July 1, 1854. He graduated from Harvard in the class of 1880. His doctorate was earned at the University of Freiberg in 1893. He began at Harvard as an instructor in 1883 and remained on the staff teaching both government and history in varying combinations until his retirement in 1926 as professor emeritus.



Introduction to the study of federal government. By Albert Bushnell Hart. Boston: Ginn, 1891.

Epoch maps illustrating American history. By Albert Bushnell Hart. New York: Longmans, Green, 1893.

The Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, with the alien, sedition, and other acts. 1798–1799. New York: A. Lovell, 1894.

Briefs for debate on current political, economic, and social topics. Edited by W. Du Bois Brookings and Ralph Curtis Ringwalt, with an introduction by Albert Bushnell Hart. New York: Longmans, Green, 1896.

American history told by contemporaries. Edited by Albert Bushnell Hart. 5 Vol. New York, London: Macmillan, 1897-1929.

Formation of the union, 1750–1829. By Albert Bushnell Hart 8th ed., rev. New York, London: Longmans, Green., 1897.

The underground railroad from slavery to freedom. With an introduction By Albert Bushnell Hart. Gloucester, Mass., P. Smith, 1968, 1898.

Salmon Portland Chase. By Albert Bushnell Hart. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1899

The foundations of American foreign policy, with a working bibliography. By Albert Bushnell Hart. New York: Macmillan, 1901; Reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1970.

Handbook of the history, diplomacy, and government of the United States. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1901.

How our grandfathers lived, selected and annotated by Albert Bushnell Hart. New York: Macmillan, 1902. Reprint with the collaboration of Annie Bliss Chapman. Washington, D.C.: Regnery, c1999.

The romance of the Civil War; selected and annotated by Albert Bushnell Hart with the collaboration of Elizabeth Stevens. New York, London: Macmillan, 1903; Reprint Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 1999.

Slavery and abolition, 1831-1841. By Albert Bushnell Hart. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, 1906; Reprint, New York: Negro Universities Press, 1968.

The founding of Jamestown. Percy’s discourse of Virginia. Wingfield’s Discourse of Virginia. 1607, 1619. New York: P. P. Simmons, 1907.

The southern South. By Albert Bushnell Hart. New York, London: D. Appleton, 1910; Reprint New York: Da Capo Press, 1969.

The obvious Orient, by Albert Bushnell Hart. New York: D. Appleton, 1911.

The war in Europe, its causes and results. By Albert Bushnell Hart. New York and London: D. Appleton, 1915.

New American history. By Albert Bushnell Hart. New York, Cincinnati: American Book Company, 1917.

America at war; a handbook of patriotic education references, ed. by Albert Bushnell Hart for the Committee on patriotism through education of the
National security league, with preface by James M. Beck. New York: Pub. for the National security league by G. H. Doran co., 1918.

Selected writings of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Albert Bushnell Hart. New York, Chicago: Gregg, 1920.

George Washington, by Albert Bushnell Hart. Chicago: American Library Association, 1927.

Washington as president, by Albert Bushnell Hart. Washington, D.C.: George Washington Bicentennial Commission, 1931.