AHA President, 1942


Harvard University

From the American Historical Review 71:3 (April 1966)

Arthur M. Schlesinger (February 27, 1888–October 30, 1965), Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History, emeritus, of Harvard University, died in Boston on October 30. Born in Xenia, Ohio, on February 27, 1888, he received his early education at local schools and at Ohio State University. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 1917. He combined successful teaching at Ohio State University, at the State University of Iowa, at Harvard, and abroad with large contributions to American historical writing, especially his pioneer writing in the field of cultural and social history, his training of a large number of followers in this field, and his editing, with Dixon Ryan Fox, of the monumental thirteen-volume series, the History of American Life (1927–48). His own volume in the series, The Rise of the City, 1878–1898, is outstanding.

His doctoral dissertation, The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution, won the Justin Winsor Prize in 1918; a later development of it was Prelude to Independence: The Newspaper War on Britain, 1764–1776 (1957). His other important writings include New Viewpoints in American History (1922), Paths to the Present (1949), The American as Reformer (1950), and the second volume of a two-volume textbook with Homer C. Hockett, The Political and Social History of the United States, which appeared in numerous editions from 1925 to 1951 with varying titles and was widely used throughout the country. He was coauthor of the Harvard Guide to American History (1954); editor of two posthumous volumes of Marcus Hansen, The Immigrant in American History (1941) and The Atlantic Migration (1940), the latter winning a Pulitzer Prize; and author of a valuable introduction to a new edition of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Cotton Kingdom (1953). His own sprightly autobiography, In Retrospect: The History of a Historian, appeared in 1963. He was president of the American Historical Association in 1942 and the holder of numerous honorary degrees. Several of his works have been translated into foreign languages.

He was active in public affairs, with decided liberal leanings, during the twenties, favoring the New Deal and its successors. He served with the Committee on Records of War Administration, 1942–1946, the Commission on the Freedom of the Press, 1943–1946, the National Historical Publications Commission, 1951–1955 and 1961–1965, and the Commission on the Rights, Liberties and Responsibilities of the American Indian, 1957–1965. His long connection with the Social Science Research Council, of which he was chairman from 1930 to 1933, is one of many evidences of his desire to further American scholarship. A similar long connection with the Nieman Fellowships at Harvard was evidence of his desire to broaden the appeal of scholarship and to bring the world of journalism closer to the academic community. His interest in the education of women and in their role in American history found expression in his place on the Board of Trustees of Radcliffe College, 1942–1963, and in his contribution there to the growth of the Women’s Archives, recently renamed in his honor and that of his widow, the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.



The colonial merchants and the American revolution, 1763-1776, by Arthur Meier Schlesinger. New York: Columbia University, 1918; Reprint, New York, F. Ungar Pub. Co., 1957.

A syllabus of United States history, 1492-1920, by Homer C. Hockett and Arthur M. Schlesinger. 3d rev. ed. Columbus, O., 1921.

New viewpoints in American history, by Arthur Meier Schlesinger. New York, Macmillan, 1922; Reprint, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1977.

Political and social history of the United States, 1829-1925, by Arthur Meier Schlesinger. New York: Macmillan, 1930.

Political and social growth of the United States, 1852-1933, by Arthur Meier Schlesinger. Rev ed. New York: Macmillan, 1936.

The new deal in action, 1933-1938, by Arthur Meier Schlesinger. New York: Macmillan, 1939.

The colonial merchants and the American revolution, 1763-1776, by Arthur Meier Schlesinger. Library ed. New York: Facsimile Library, 1939.

The new deal in action, 1933-1939, by Arthur Meier Schlesinger … New York, The Macmillan company, 1940; Reprint, Folcroft, Pa.: Folcroft Library Editions, 1977.

The Atlantic migration, 1607-1860; a history of the continuing settlement of the United States, by Marcus Lee Hansen; edited with a foreword by Arthur M. Schlesinger. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1940.

Learning how to behave, a historical study of American etiquette books, by Arthur M. Schlesinger. New York: Macmillan, 1946.

The rise of the United States as a world power. Leiden: Univ. Pers Leiden, 1948.

Paths to the present. New York: Macmillan Co., 1949.

The American as reformer. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1950; Reprint with a new pref. by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. College ed. New York: Atheneum, 1971.

The rise of modern America, 1865-1951, by Arthur Meier Schlesinger. 4th ed. New York: Macmillan, 1951.

Prelude to independence; the newspaper war on Britain, 1764-1776. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1957; Reprint with a prefatory note by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and a new foreword by Charles W. Akers. A Northeastern classics ed., 1st Northeastern ed. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1980.

The birth of the Nation; a portrait of the American people on the eve of independence. With an introd. by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1968; Reprint, Sentry ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981.

Nothing stands still; essays. Introd. by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.

The rise of the city, 1878-1898. Arthur Meier Schlesinger; with an introduction by Andrea Tuttle Kornbluh. 1st. ed. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1999.

The cotton kingdom: a traveller’s observations on cotton and slavery in the American slave states: based upon three former volumes of journeys and investigations by the same author, by Frederick Law Olmsted; edited with an introduction by Arthur M. Schlesinger. 1st Da Capo Press ed. New York: Da Capo Press, 1996.