AHA President, 1918–19



From the American Historical Review 29:1 (October 1923)

William Roscoe Thayer (1859–1923), president of the American Historical Association during the two years 1918 and 1919, died at Cambridge, Mass., on September 7, at the age of sixty-four. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1881, a classmate of Theodore Roosevelt, of whom he wrote an intimate biography published in 1919. A faithful Harvard man, he was for twenty-three years editor of the Harvard Graduates Magazine, and for nine years an overseer of the university. His chief fame as an historian rested upon The Dawn of Italian Independence (1893) and his admirable Life and Times of Cavour (1911), which won him Italian royal decorations and many other honors. He also prepared the Life and Letters of John Hay (1915). Mr. Thayer was a writer of great talent, with special gifts for biography, and did much useful service to the historical profession by protesting against such cultivation of mere learning as closes the mind to the claims of history as literature. He was a genial friend and an interesting companion.



The influence of Emerson, by William R. Thayer. Boston: Cupples, Upham, and Co.: Old Corner Bookstore, 1886.

Hesper: an American drama, by William Roscoe Thayer. Cambridge: C.W. Sever, 1888.

A short history of Venice, by William Roscoe Thayer. New York, London: Macmillan, 1905.

The life and times of Cavour, by William Roscoe Thayer. 2 vols. Boston: New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1911.

The life and letters of John Hay, by William Roscoe Thayer. 2 vols. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1915; Reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1972.

Letters of John Holmes to James Russell Lowell and others, ed. by William Roscoe Thayer; with an introduction by Alice M. Longfellow Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1917.

Theodore Roosevelt; an intimate biography, by William Roscoe Thayer. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1919

Volleys from a non-combatant, by William Roscoe Thayer. Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1919.

George Washington, by William Roscoe Thayer. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1922.

The art of biography, by William Roscoe Thayer. Norwood, Pa.: Norwood Editions, 1978, c1920.