Publication Date

October 1, 1993

Perspectives Section

In Memoriam

David H. Pinkney

David H. Pinkney

David H. Pinkney, emeritus professor of history at the University of Washington, a past president of the American Historical Association, and an internationally renowned scholar of French history, died in Seattle on May 26, 1993, at the age of 78. Born at Elyria, Ohio, in 1914, he studied at Oberlin College and then at Harvard University, where he received a doctorate in history in 1941. After war service in the Office of Strategic Services and the U.S. Navy, he taught at the University of Missouri from 1946 to 1966, and then, until his retirement in 1984, at the University of Washington.

David Pinkney was the author of many articles and five books, including Napoleon III and the Rebuilding of Paris (1958), The French Revolution of 1830 (1972), and Decisive Years in France, 1840–1847 (1986). He played a leading part in the remarkable postwar growth of the historical study of France in the United States and Canada, helping to found the Society for French Historical Studies, and serving on its Executive Committee from 1956 to 1978 and as its president in 1975–76. From 1966 to 1975, he edited the journal French Historical Studies. In 1980, he was elected president of the American Historical Association. In the same year, he received an honorary doctorate from the Universit, de Nantes. He was chosen a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1984.

David Pinkney was an inspiring colleague—warm, gently humorous, and passionately interested in all around him. A generation of graduate students and younger faculty at the University of Washington will remember his friendship, his meticulous teaching, and his love for history and all things French. His wife Helen, herself a Harvard Ph.D. and a scholar of early America, died last year. They are survived by a daughter, Janet Pinkney Bensick, California, and two grandchildren.

Raymond A. Jones
Richard R. Johnson
University of Washington, Seattle