AHA President, 1973


University of California, Los Angeles

From Perspectives, October 1987

Lynn White Jr. (April 29, 1907–March 30, 1987), professor emeritus of history, University of California, Los Angeles and internationally known medievalist died from heart disease March 30, 1987. He was seventy-nine years old.

Professor White received his undergraduate education at Stanford University, and received his doctorate in history from Harvard University in 1934. He taught at Stanford and Princeton Universities and became president of Mills College in Oakland in 1943. In 1958 Professor White left Mills College to join the University of California at Los Angeles faculty. During his time at UCLA, he founded the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in 1964 and was the institution’s director until 1970.

Named as Faculty Lecturer at UCLA in 1973, Lynn White was the recipient of other scholarly honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship. He served as president of the American Historical Association in 1973 and president of the Pacific Coast Branch of the AHA, 1972–73, as well as holding membership and positions in other learned societies such as the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Author of four books, numerous papers, and other scholarly works, he was also editor of two historical collections and a collection of essays. His book, Medieval Technology and Social Change, 1962, is considered by many to be a classic in the field and has been translated into several languages.

Professor White is survived by his wife, Maude MacArthur White, three daughters, and a son.



Latin monasticism in Norman Sicily, by Lynn Townsend White Jr. Cambridge, Mass.: Mediaeval Academy of America, 1938.

Educating our daughters; a challenge to the colleges. 1st ed. New York: Harper, 1950.

Frontiers of knowledge in the study of man. 1st ed. New York: Harper, 1956.

Medieval technology and social change. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962.

The transformation of the Roman world; Gibbon’s problem after two centuries, edited by Lynn White, Jr. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966.

Machina ex deo; essays in the dynamism of Western culture, by Lynn White, Jr. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1968.

Frontiers of knowledge in the study of man. Edited by Lynn White, Jr. New York: Greenwood Press, 1969; 1956.

On pre-modern technology and science: a volume of studies in honor of Lynn White, Jr., edited by Bert S. Hall and Delno C. West. Malibu, Ca.: Undena Publications, 1976.

Medieval religion and technology: collected essays, by Lynn White, Jr. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.

The medieval West meets the rest of the world, general editor, Nancy van Deusen. Ottawa: Institute of Mediaeval Music, 1995.