Publication Date

October 1, 2011

Perspectives Section

In Memoriam

Activist scholar and historian of many fields

C. Stewart Doty, professor emeritus of history at the University of Maine, died at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 4, 2011.

Born in Kansas in 1928, Doty earned his BA degree from Washburn University (1950), the MA degree from the University of Kansas (1955), and the PhD from Ohio State University (1964.) Doty was a veteran of the Korean War. After teaching at Kent State University, Doty joined the history department of the University of Maine in 1964 and taught there until his retirement in 1995. He taught courses in French and European history as well as the history of French-speaking North Americans. Doty directed most of the MA theses in European history in the university's history department. He also served as chair of the department from 1986 to 1989.

While at the University of Maine, Doty led the successful drive to unionize all public higher education faculty of Maine and became the founding president of their organization, the Associated Faculties of the University of Maine (AFUM.) An affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), AFUM was the first organization to unite in a single union any state's entire public higher education faculty. Doty served for six years on the NEA's Committee on Higher Education, where he encouraged NEA's leadership to reform the TIAA/CREF pension system, advocacy work for which he was awarded the NEA's James M. Davenport award. Doty was known to joke that gaining collective bargaining rights and the reform of TIAA/CREF allowed him to retire in modest comfort in Albuquerque.

Doty wrote or edited seven books. The first three reflected his interest and training in European history. An anthology, entitled The Industrial Revolution (Holt, Rinehart and Winston), was published in 1969. Doty then edited the textbook, Western Civilization: Recent Interpretations, volume 2: From 1715 to the Present (Crowell), which appeared in 1973. His political biography of French fascist forerunner Maurice Barrès was published as From Cultural Rebellion to Counterrevolution: The Politics of Maurice Barrès (Ohio University Press) in 1976.

Surrounded by French-speaking Americans in the state of Maine, Doty retooled his skills to research, write, and teach about their history. He was a founding member of the American Council for Québec Studies and later served as the organization's president. A pioneer in the field of Franco-American history (the history of French-Canadian descendants in the United States), Doty's first foray in the field led him to produce The First Franco-Americans: New England Life Histories from the Federal Writers' Project, 1938–1939 (University of Maine at Orono Press, 1985), a book on the stories of New England’s French speakers that were preserved through the New Deal’s Writers’ Project. Next came Acadian Hard Times: The Farm Security Administration in Maine's St. John Valley, 1940–1943 (University of Maine Press, 1991), a book on the struggle of Maine Acadians during the Great Depression.

After moving to Albuquerque, Doty continued his scholarly production, coauthoring (with Dale Sperry Mudge and Herbert John Benally) Photographing Navajos: John Collier Jr. on the Reservation, 1948–1953 (University of New Mexico Press, 2002), a volume that accompanied museum exhibitions throughout New Mexico and in Maine. Doty also resurrected a manuscript he had edited earlier in his career, recently published asThe Journal of Ann McMath, an Orphan in a New York Parsonage of the 1850s, a coming-of-age journal of an ordinary young woman (SUNY Press, 2011.)

During Doty's active retirement in Albuquerque, he lectured for OASIS and Life Long Learning for New Mexicans (both organizations catering to older adults), offering such courses as "Jamestown, Quebec, and Santa Fe" and "The Luckiest Generation: America, 1945–1975." In 2010, over two hundred people enrolled to hear his two lectures on "France of the Impressionists." He led walking tours of Old Town for the Albuquerque Museum and led hikes for the Los Volcanes Senior Center, where he also painted watercolors that he shared in his annual Christmas cards.

Doty's survivors include his wife of 56 years, Jean Schmechel Doty, and sons David, Theodore, and Peter.

State University of New York at Plattsburgh

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