In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Leon Bernard

Vincent P. DeSantis | Nov 1, 1989

Leon Bernard, noted historian of French history at the University of Notre Dame, died May 9, 1989. He received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University in 1938 and his graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1947 and 1950.

He began his academic career at John Carroll University in 1949. The following year he moved to the University of Notre Dame, where he remained until his death and where he climbed the academic ladder to the top rank of professor. During his almost forty years at Notre Dame he had a very busy academic career of teaching classes with large enrollments and serving as director of the department's summer school program. In 1967, he founded and edited The History Teacher before it moved to California State University, Long Beach in 1972. He served as a manuscript referee for the Macmillan Company and for the Notre Dame Press. His publications, including a book on seventeenth-century Paris, The Emerging City (Duke), made solid scholarly contributions to French history.

Professor Bernard's academic specialty was seventeenth century French history, the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic Era. He published widely in these areas and was, on one occasion, awarded the Koren Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies for his article, "French Society and Popular Uprisings Under Louis XIV." He was a long time member of this society and was listed, among other places, in the Dictionary of American Scholars.

Professor Bernard was one of the most respected, esteemed, and popular members of the Notre Dame history department and of the university's faculty as a whole.

Leon Bernard will be remembered especially for his humaneness, decency, civility, his unfailing consideration of others, and loyalty to friends. He will also be remembered as a very popular teacher and as a serious and productive scholar.

Vincent P. DeSantis
University of Notre Dame


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