Carl Bridenbaugh, American colonial history and academic antisemitism: the paths to the 'Great Mutation'.
Bridenbaugh's speech fell into the second category. Entitled "The Great Mutation," it remains perhaps the most controversial AHA address ever delivered. Bridenbaugh began by recalling his idyllic boyhood on the outskirts of Philadelphia. He mourned the passage of a pastoral society and its replacement by a modern, urban culture, a process he called "the Great Mutation." There was nothing controversial about that idea, but he subsequently launched into a jeremiad. The younger generation of "urban-bred historians," Bridenbaugh contended, would find it impossible to recapture this culture, since they had no experience in it. Worse still, he said, these new historians were "products of lower-middle-class or foreign origins, and their emotions frequently get in the way of historical reconstructions. They find themselves, in a very real way, outsiders in our past ... [and] they have no experience to assist them." (2)
Bridenbaugh's use of such phrases as "urban-bred historians" and "products of lower-middle-class or foreign origins" appeared to be coded language for "Jews." But, despite its antisemitic overtones, the speech, at least initially, elicited a generally positive response. Several prominent historians wrote Bridenbaugh to compliment him on his speech. Catherine Drinker Bowen, the author of several popular historical biographies, told Bridenbaugh that he had said "many of the things [she had] wanted to say, and said them forcefully and wittily." Arthur Meier Schlesinger who had directed Bridenbaugh's doctoral dissertation at Harvard University, called the speech "an eloquent and acute critique." Marshall Smelser, a historian of the American colonies at the University of Notre Dame, also commented on the speech, telling Bridenbaugh, " [I]t was true, it was beautiful, and it was good." (3)
An understanding of intellectual history sometimes requires the study of bad ideas, and, despite the celebratory letters Bridenbaugh received from his colleagues, his speech raises a question: What had led an educated and cultured man to make such assertions? Little is known concerning Bridenbaugh's treatment of Jews in his personal life, and the two episodes that are known are contradictory and ultimately inconclusive. The first occurred in 1938, when Bridenbaugh helped the unemployed J.H. Hexter, who was Jewish, to find a job at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Hexter, who, like Bridenbaugh, held a doctorate from Harvard, had experienced such difficulty finding a job that Crane Brinton, a member of the Harvard faculty who had made a valiant effort on Hexter's behalf, feared that he might be "unemployable." (4)
The second episode came in the mid-1950s, after Bridenbaugh had been appointed the Margaret Byrne Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley. Kenneth Stampp, a colleague at Berkeley, recalled that Bridenbaugh had once asked him if he had noticed that Joseph Levenson, a Jewish member of the history department, had supported only Jewish candidates for faculty positions. Stampp replied that he had not noticed this, and, upon reflection, he did not think that it was true. (5)
As time has passed, historians have paid closer attention to Bridenbaugh's speech, and they have justly cited it as one of the most blatant examples of the antisemitism that lingered in American academic life even after World War II. (6) But historians have not fully explored the other components of the speech, nor have they searched for the deeper sources of Bridenbaugh's views beyond a generalized antisemitism.
Several other lines of inquiry are worth pursuing. First, Bridenbaugh's expressed fear that urban-bred scholars would not understand American life, while the most contested point, was only one of several highly controversial ideas contained in his address. Second, Bridenbaugh's own historical work, now largely forgotten, was extremely important to an understanding of his speech, and it also anticipated many of the directions that the study of American colonial history would take. And, third, it can be argued that the main motivation for Bridenbaugh's speech and his concerns about "urban-bred" scholars came not simply from his nostalgia for his rustic Pennsylvania upbringing or from America's transformation from a rural to an urban society. Rather, they were embedded in a series of seismic shifts in academic life and in the historical profession generally, which emerged in full dress after World War II, and in which, ironically, he was both a winner and a loser.
Born outside Philadelphia in 1903, Bridenbaugh was educated in the city, but he spent Saturdays and vacations on its outskirts, roaming the countryside with his friends, swimming, fishing, trapping muskrats and engaging in other pursuits common to a rural youth. (7) He graduated from Dartmouth College in 192.5, and, from there, began graduate study in American history at Harvard with Schlesinger, one of the greatest American historians of the first half of the twentieth century. (8)
Schlesinger had been a graduate student at Columbia University, where, in 1912., his mentor, James Harvey Robinson, published The New History: Essays Illustrating the Modern Historical Outlook. Disliking the traditional emphasis on political and diplomatic history, Robinson attempted to redefine historical study. The "new history" meant that historians should study all aspects of human behavior and immerse themselves in the methods and research techniques of other disciplines. Robinson's approach greatly resembled that of the French Annales School, and his goal, no less than that of the Annales historians, was the creation of an histoire totale. (9)
Schlesinger was Robinson's most able disciple. Appointed to a senior position at Harvard in 1924, Schlesinger was the author of such important works as The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution (1918), New Viewpoints in American History (1922), and The Rise of the City, 1878-1898 (1933), all of which marked him as an innovative scholar. New Viewpoints in American History even contained a perceptive essay on the role of women in American history. (10) Schlesinger was also
a gifted supervisor of his graduate students, who included not only Bridenbaugh, but also such future luminaries as Paul Buck, John Hope Franklin and Oscar Handlin.
In the late 1920s, Bridenbaugh began teaching at MIT, and, in 1936, he received a doctorate from Harvard. He taught at Brown University from 1938 to 1942. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he accepted the position of director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he remained for five years. In 1950, he was appointed the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at the University of California at Berkeley, where he remained until 1962. At that time, he returned to Brown, where he stayed until his retirement in 1969. (11)
Bridenbaugh was a prolific scholar, and perhaps no one embodied the aspirations of the "new history" more than he. His early scholarship also reflected Schlesinger's influence--especially his interest in urban history. Bridenbaugh is most famous for his two books on the colonial American city, Cities in the Wilderness: The First Century of Urban Life in America, 1625-1742, published in 1938, and Cities in Revolt: Urban Life in America, 1743-1776, published in 1955. (11)
By any standard, the books are impressive. Bridenbaugh attempted not only to write an histoire totale, but also to embrace another Annales School precept, a broad comparative synthesis. Placed together, Cities in the Wilderness and Cities in Revolt explored what was transpiring in the colonies' five largest cities--Boston, Newport, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston--from their beginnings until the American Revolution.
Bridenbaugh appeared to cover virtually every aspect of urban society and culture in those five cities. In addition to the place of trade, taxes, government and religion in those cities, Bridenbaugh paid particular attention to people in groups, including merchants, lawyers, scientists, craftsmen, printers, workers and ruling elites. He also devoted attention to such things as porcine infestation and each city's strategy for dealing with such issues as fire, crime, water supply, garbage, disease and vice.
By the time of the publication of the second volume in 1955, Bridenbaugh had come to interpret the colonial cities as the crucible in which a distinctively American identity had emerged, and as the embodiment of the egalitarian ideals of the Enlightenment and New World exploration. On the basis of these conclusions, Bridenbaugh perceived the colonial cities as a central point of disjuncture between the old, hierarchical world of Europe and the brave new world of American individualism. In Bridenbaugh's retelling, it was almost as if historian Frederick Jackson Turner's view of a distinctively American character forged on the frontier had been transplanted to the city. (13)
But Bridenbaugh was not only a social historian following the lead of Schlesinger; he was also the author of numerous other books in which he displayed a daunting command of the sources and complexities of American colonial history. In Mitre and Sceptre: Transatlantic Faiths, Ideas, Personalities and Politics, 1689-1775, published in 1962, he took up the subject of church-state relations in the colonies. In Vexed and Troubled Englishmen, 1590-1642, published in 1968, he examined the conditions that moved English men and women to leave England for the American colonies. (14)
More importantly, Bridenbaugh anticipated, well in advance of their emergence, many areas of study that would come to the forefront of historical study. Both Mitre and Sceptre and Vexed and Troubled Englishmen had transatlantic dimensions rather than simply American ones. Bridenbaugh's Seat of Empire: The Political Role of Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg, published in 1950, is an even earlier example of Bridenbaugh's interest in Atlantic history; two decades later, in No Peace Beyond the Line: The English in the Caribbean, 1624-1690, written with his second wife, Roberta Haines Herriott Bridenbaugh, he studied the settlement and development of Caribbean colonies, another topic of current interest as well as a further example of a transatlantic vision. (15)
Moreover, while Bridenbaugh did not employ the phrase "print culture", he devoted a great deal of attention to it and to the importance of printers in his works on the city and in other works, such as The Colonial Craftsman and Rebels and Gentlemen: Philadelphia in the Age of Franklin, written with his first wife, Jessica Hill Bridenbaugh. In those works, Bridenbaugh concluded that printers had played a key role in awakening the democratic consciousness of middle-class shopkeepers and businessmen. With a similar prescience, his Myths and Realities: Societies of the Colonial South explored the problems of agrarian life on the frontiers and borderlands, another subject that has recently attracted much attention among historians. (16)
Bridenbaugh was also an early proponent of the use of artifacts, such as maps and tools, to reveal the mindsets of his subjects. (17) He embraced Francis Parkman's injunction that, at some point, historians must leave the library or the archive and invigorate their research by experiencing the setting in which the men and women of former times had lived. When he studied the five colonial cities, he explored extensively their streets and wharves; in the writing of Vexed and Troubled Englishmen, he motored through the highways and byways of every county in England to observe local conditions. In "The Great Mutation," his AHA address in 1962, he expressed the annoyance he felt when colleagues asked him to describe the point of such excursions. Bridenbaugh reminded his listeners that the great Edward Gibbon had not received his most profound inspiration for The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the archives; he had found it amid the ruins of Rome. (18)
It is clear that Bridenbaugh was among the best and most productive practitioners of the "new history," following in the footsteps of Arthur Meier Schlesinger. There are certainly greater colonial historians, but, outside of Edmund Morgan, few have exhibited a greater scholarly range. Bridenbaugh's body of work was remarkable, comprising urban, cultural, social, intellectual and religious history; his command of geographic knowledge extended from Boston to the Caribbean.
Thus, at the time when Bridenbaugh delivered "The Great Mutation," he was a highly respected scholar. He was 59 years old, and he had been involved in his profession for more than thirty years; he had held distinguished professorships at two major universities, and he had served as director of one of the profession's leading centers of research. He was therefore well placed to assess the state of the profession.
But Bridenbaugh's 1962 speech was full of flawed logic, contradictions and questionable statements. Two are most conspicuous. The first is the irony that the greatest historian of early American urban history--a scholar who had stressed the importance of cities in the formation of American history--was possessed by the vision of a rural idyll, born at least partly from nostalgia for an idealized past. The second focuses on the fact that very few historians are likely to agree with Bridenbaugh that his rural upbringing had rendered him better able to convey a sense of what it was like to live in former times. After all, he remains best known as an urban historian, and, in any event, the past is perhaps best understood as a "foreign country," no matter how closely a historian's life might parallel his or her subject matter. Bridenbaugh's rural Pennsylvania, after all, was much different than that of the eighteenth-century scholar John Dickenson. (19)
At the time when Bridenbaugh delivered his speech, Lawrence Levine, who would later become a distinguished historian of American culture, had just received his doctorate from Columbia. Levine was Jewish, the son of a Lithuanian immigrant father. He had grown up in a lower-middle-class section of Manhattan, where nearly everyone he knew was either an immigrant or the child of immigrants. In short, he was one of the targets of Bridenbaugh's speech, the epitome of the "new generation of urban-bred historians." Yet, when it came to time to choose a subject for his dissertation, Levine, at the suggestion of his adviser, Richard Hofstadter, selected not Bridenbaugh, but the later career of William Jennings Bryan, a Midwestern Populist.
Moreover, while Levine had no personal experience with the rural environment in which Bryan had been raised, he believed that he would have no trouble understanding him. The Bryan of later years had lost some of his earlier reformist zeal, and he had come to hold views that would be repugnant to many, regardless of their upbringing. Bryan refused to oppose the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. He defended Southern attitudes toward African Americans, and he led a crusade to banish the teaching of evolution from the public schools. Upon reflection, Levine decided that Bridenbaugh was wrong in asserting that there was a cultural gap among historians. For all the differences between himself and Bridenbaugh in the circumstances of their upbringing, Levine doubted that Bridenbaugh would have viewed Bryan any differently. He believed that Bridenbaugh would have found Bryan's bigotry as repellent as he did. (20)
In another sense, the thrust of "The Great Mutation" was to elucidate a profound generational tension. As we have seen, Bridenbaugh began his speech by asking whether the coming generation of historians would be able to recover enough of the past to convey to their readers even a remote sense of what that past had been like. His answer was a resounding no. The Great Mutation, according to Bridenbaugh, had introduced an upheaval so radical that the United States before 1850 had more in common with fifth-century Greece than it had with twentieth-century America. The shared culture that for centuries had united many Americans was about to vanish. (21)
The inability of the younger generation to understand this earlier world would, according to Bridenbaugh, lead inevitably to a loss of historical understanding. Signs of diminishing knowledge of the past were already evident. Bridenbaugh believed that college students were already losing their connection to it. As an example, he told the AHA audience, he was having trouble conveying the pathos of so recent an event as the Great Depression to his students, even with stories from his days in Boston in the 1930s, when he witnessed formerly respectable men fighting over garbage in Beacon Hill. Also, he said, a chance to reference to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland bewildered them. "Who is Alice?" they wanted to know. (22)
While his students exhibited an interest in religion, Bridenbaugh said, they no longer possessed any real piety, nor did they read the Bible. Religion had been a cornerstone of the earlier culture; now, the virus of secularism prevailed. (23) Without the experience of religion, he wondered, how would members of the new generation who studied the American Revolution understand the critical role that relations between church and state had played in the separation between the colonies and their mother country? Equally problematic, he thought, was the fact that the virtues of toleration had been forcibly pounded into the heads of students; now, even valid criticisms of a religious group were automatically dismissed as bigotry. (24)
The Great Mutation exercised its insidious influence in other ways. These same college students who had been raised to revere democratic ideals and notions of equality, Bridenbaugh argued, also possessed a resentment of anything that could have been labeled as "aristocratic." Nor could they appreciate why, in earlier times, aristocratic government may have been the most workable solution to societal problems, or why democracy may not have worked well in the American colonies. (25)
Bridenbaugh's students failed to recognize that, in the absence of aristocracy, the ruling elites had worked out and often codified a critical series of rules for getting along with each other--albeit painfully, laboriously and over a long period of time. Manners, courtesy, etiquette and protocol were all different ways for permitting social, political and diplomatic intercourse to proceed without unintentional irritation. From the Maori to the Iroquois to chivalric knights and nobles of the Middle Ages, such values had enabled people to live together with at least some level of civility. But, according to Bridenbaugh, those values had now become distorted, shattered or obliterated entirely. Bridenbaugh did not doubt that over time new values and strategies would evolve, but he still wondered whether the significance of earlier values could be made clear to those who had no experience with them. (26)
A close reader of Bridenbaugh's work would not have been surprised by his sympathy for aristocracy. An aristocratic strain could be discerned in much of his historical writing and, most visibly, in his books on colonial cities. He made occasional references to "country bumpkins," and concluded in Cities in the Wilderness, "[I]t is the upper classes that determine the conditions of any society." He further asserted that most members of the middle and lower classes cheerfully accepted elite rule. Bridenbaugh also devoted considerable attention in his work to the care taken by urban elites in ministering to the needs of the poor. Even his displeasure at the loss of religious unity could be seen as an aristocratic mourning for the loss of one of the critical institutions upon which the cohesion and order of civil society depends. (27)
Bridenbaugh then turned his attention to an evaluation of professional historians. Against the backdrop of the relentless encroachment of modernity, he suggested, such historians were abdicating their responsibility to present the distant past by concentrating their teaching and research on the very recent past--something he described as "the cult of the contemporary." It is perhaps not surprising that a historian of the American colonies would deplore the increasing attention being paid by historians to time periods after 1850. Bridenbaugh emphasized that it is the totality of the past--both the recent past and the remote past--that is crucial; without it, he argued, we cannot acquire a balanced historical perspective. (28)
Again shifting his attack, Bridenbaugh next suggested that the Great Mutation had also led historians to emphasize the study of groups rather than the study of the individual. A history that did not pay attention to individuals would soon lose its audience, he said. "The future," he suggested, "will be more interested in the character of our civilization and in individual sacrifice done and the nature of day-to-day life than on the political minutiae of George III or the grass roots of Jacksonian democracy." The failure to recognize the importance of individuals, he said, would result in a history that would be "progressively denatured, barren, meaningless." (29)
The references to the minutiae of George III and the grass roots of Jacksonian democracy were thinly veiled swipes at the British historian Sir Lewis Namier and the American historian Lee Benson, and at political history in general. Namier, a Galician Jew, was the father of the historical subfield known as prosopography, the study of political groups through mass biography. He dismissed the value of studying the official records of political activity, arguing that the reality of politics could be found only in private memoirs and letters. The study of those private records would permit an analysis of the backroom deals and family connections upon which political alliances had been constructed. In his The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III, Namier produced dozens of painstakingly detailed studies of individual members of parliament and their personal connections. (30)
Namier's world was a sordid culture of self-interest and greed, bereft of integrity or principle. If his writing sometimes made for ponderous reading, there was no challenging its intellectual profundity. Many years after the fact, the British Marxist historian Christopher Hill still recalled the excitement he and his friends had experienced during his student days at Oxford University in the early 1930s, when a new volume of Namier's work appeared. (31)
Benson, Bridenbaugh's other target, was a key figure in an ongoing debate about the nature of Jacksonian democracy. Benson was also Jewish; his given name was Leon Benofsky. He was born in Brooklyn, where his father, a garment manufacturer, had lost everything in the Great Depression. Benson received an undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College and a master's degree from Columbia. Thus he, like Lawrence Levine, was the epitome of the "urban-bred" scholars whose increasing influence Bridenbaugh lamented in "The Great Mutation." (32)
Benson was also a key figure in the emergence of a new methodology in historical studies known as "quantification," which Bridenbaugh described in "The Great Mutation" as a "bitch-goddess." (33) The practitioners of quantitative history condemned traditional narrative history as unscientific, since it was based upon "impressionistic data," such as memoirs and letters. For them, the only research that could be considered scientific was research based upon evidence on which some numerical certainty could be conferred. They roundly condemned the use of phrases that implied numerical comparison, such as "rising" or "declining," unless statistical evidence could be adduced to prove it. (34)
One of the primary targets of the quantifiers was Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the son of Bridenbaugh's Harvard mentor. In 1946, the younger Schlesinger had won a Pulitzer Prize for his study The Age of Jackson." Schlesinger saw Jackson as a shining hero of the middle class who was willing to summon the power of government to restrain the rapacious interests of business in favor of the common man. The Jacksonian era, in his view, was characterized by a clash of interests between the captains of industry and the working class. Like Bridenbaugh, Schlesinger also placed the cities of the Eastern seaboard as the center of the egalitarian spirit that had emerged in the 1830s.
But Schlesinger's work, however formidably and stylishly presented, had, as far as the quantifiers were concerned, a fatal flaw: He had supported his thesis primarily by a sampling, admittedly rich and detailed, of impressionistic evidence. But, for the quantifiers, this was not enough; if one wished to prove definitively that the country was moving in an anti-business direction, it would require statistical evidence, rather than simply collecting random comments from various contemporary observers and deciding which ones were the most germane.
In an influential essay published in 1957, Benson denounced the impressionistic approach that, in his view, dominated the writing of American history. He called for the profession to embrace genuinely scientific and objective methods. (36) A few years later, in 1961, a year before Bridenbaugh's address, Benson attempted to apply the rigors of quantification to the Jacksonian era in a book called The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy: New York as a Test Case. (37)
Benson's analysis demonstrated convincingly that the politics of the Jacksonian era, at least in the state of New York, had not been underscored by a struggle of rich versus poor. The Jacksonian faction in New York, led by Martin Van Buren, was not terribly sympathetic to the workingman, and its only consistency appeared to be supporting the principle of states' rights. Jacksonian politics in New York did not lead the campaigns for universal suffrage or popular elections for president or the abolition for debt. The leaders of both parties came from the same socioeconomic sectors of society, and one political party was not a consistent advocate of a particular position. The politicians' positions changed as they confronted new and challenging obstacles; in a fashion akin to that of Namier's eighteenth-century British politicians, they adapted to changing times in accordance with political expediency rather than principle. (38)
While the choice of Namier and Benson as targets appears to be another instance of antisemitism in "The Great Mutation," it is clear that Bridenbaugh had several other axes to grind. While both Namier and Benson were Jewish; only Benson was "urban-bred." Moreover, neither could be tarred with the brush of "the cult of the contemporary." Namier studied eighteenth-century politics; Benson focused on the Jacksonian era. But, in Bridenbaugh's view, they were political historians who thought in terms of groups and whose methodologies would not convey "the historical importance of the individual." Bridenbaugh perceived their work as a retreat to the sterile political history written by historians prior to the appearance of The New History or the Annales School. (39)
Moreover, while neither Namier nor Benson specifically targeted Bridenbaugh, his own work was a prime exemplar of all the flaws that the two had attributed to current historical writing. Unlike Namier, Bridenbaugh generally relied on printed sources; he only rarely pursued historical inquiry into private archives and repositories; nor, as we have seen, did he seek to reveal the corrupt underside of political activity. He was also the epitome of the "impressionistic" historian so deplored by the quantifiers--that is, he read through the available sources, found the quotations and remarks that he thought most pertinent, and made them the basis of his interpretation. Moreover, Bridenbaugh's view of the ruling elite clashed with that of Namier and Benson. Bridenbaugh considered the elite to be gentlemen of cultivation and principle who took seriously their responsibilities to society; Namier and Benson regarded them either as self-serving scoundrels or simply as opportunists.
The choice of Namier and Benson as targets is revealing in other ways. For most of the twentieth century in Britain and the United States, history had been regarded as a humanistic endeavor. The task of the historian was to reconstruct a "usable past" to inform and instruct the public about its relation to the present. Many academic historians, such as Charles Beard, reached an enormous number of readers. Other academics, such as Edmund Morgan, Richard Hofstadter and C. Vann Woodward, regularly published books that were read by a general public. (40)
Bridenbaugh could certainly be included in this group. His books are informative and highly readable, and he often had distinguished publishers, such as Alfred A. Knopf or the Oxford University Press. Most of his books eventually appeared in paperback editions. In the manner of the time, they did not usually have footnotes; for those who were interested, Bridenbaugh deposited his footnotes in university libraries. (41)
In suggesting that history would soon lose its audience, Bridenbaugh was echoing a complaint expressed by the Oxford don Hugh Trevor-Roper in 1957, when he delivered his inaugural address as Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford. In advance of Bridenbaugh, Trevor-Roper contended that over the previous several decades in Britain, professional historians had foolishly forsaken history's humanistic roots in pursuit of scientific certainty. The result was the proliferation of leaden tomes that were worshipped by a small circle of true believers at the expense of communicating with a public readership. That public was showing signs of abandoning the reading of works by professional, "dry-as-dust" historians in favor of books by more lively popular historians. Professional historians, Trevor-Roper thought, were killing history, just as surely as classicists had killed the classics. (42)
However, neither Bridenbaugh nor Trevor-Roper searched very deeply to explain the origins of this new professionalism. Exploration of this question reveals several contexts that help to explain some of the components of Bridenbaugh's address--especially what underlay its criticism of "urban-bred" scholars.
Before World War II and for some time afterward, most leading history departments in the United States and at Oxford colleges were waspish gentleman's clubs, with few, if any, Jews, Catholics, women or African Americans. Institutional ties, congeniality, and a gentlemanly pedigree were the keys to climbing the academic ladder. In 1940, the Yale University history department consisted of approximately seventeen or eighteen members, all of whom were white males and almost all of whom held at least one degree from Yale. In the spring of 1940, when the Yale administrators feared a loss of students if the United States entered World War II, they simply fired the junior faculty who did not have a Yale connection. Those fired included such historians of later repute as Gordon Craig, Theodore Mommsen and Douglas Adair. (43)
Most history departments had some scholars of distinction, but, in many cases, the principal consideration for appointment appears to have been institutional connections and the ability to be good company at lunch. Harvard and Yale were even reputed to have "dollar-a-year" men, department members who took little or no salary; instead, they lived off the income from their trust funds. One such faculty member at Yale was an heir to the White Owl cigar fortune. At the same time, the curricula in most departments focused on the history of Western Europe and the United States.
The first attempts to change this comfortable paradigm appeared in the 1930s, when Harvard, under the initiative of President James Bryant Conant, chose to make scholarly distinction or the promise thereof the principal criteria for faculty appointments. In theory and, often, in practice, this meant that considerations of religion, social class and congeniality at lunch were to be relegated to a secondary consideration or dismissed entirely. (44)
One of the earliest examples of this changing paradigm was Harvard's appointment of Oscar Handlin in 1940. Handlin was a Brooklyn Jew whose father was a grocer. He graduated from Brooklyn College at the age of 19 and, despite warnings that no one at Harvard had ever heard of Brooklyn College, he entered Harvard's graduate program in history. Handlin made no effort to disguise his brilliance, lower-class origins or religious background. (45) He even disdained the taking of notes during lectures, and he appeared to go out of his way to antagonize those who were in a position to help him. In the words of William Langer, one of Harvard's most distinguished faculty members, Handlin "seized every opportunity to differ." (46) But he was also a student of Arthur Meier Schlesinger and, by 1940, he had published a book, Boston's Immigrants, 1790-1880: A Study in Acculturation. On that basis, he was offered a junior position at Harvard. It is highly likely that his appointment was owed in equal parts to Schlesinger's influence and Handlin's brilliance. But it was also a clear sign of the wave of the future.
If Namier and Benson were the unnamed targets of Bridenbaugh's presidential address, the specter of Handlin loomed over all of it. Handlin was the epitome of the "urban-bred scholar" who Bridenbaugh feared would have no familiarity with rural America. Even worse, as a student of immigration, Handlin evinced scant interest in acquiring such a familiarity. "Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America," Handlin wrote in his introduction to The Uprooted: The Epic Story of the Great Migrations That Made the American People. "Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history." (47)
Even then, other institutions often followed Harvard's lead, and the drive to make appointments based upon intellect was accelerated by demographic change. After World War II, thousands of veterans flooded into American colleges and universities on the G.I. Bill. History departments expanded dramatically as desperate administrators tried to find a sufficient number of faculty members to teach them. (48) In 1941, the history department at the University of California at Berkeley had fifteen fulltime faculty members; by 1969, the number had soared to sixty-nine. (49) The demand for faculty members was so great that departments could no longer count on their own Ph.D.s or those from nearby institutions to meet their staffing needs. At the same time, the G.I. Bill enabled other veterans to go to graduate school to acquire advanced degrees.
Thus, between 1945 and 1962, historians without patrician backgrounds entered the profession and, sometimes, its most hallowed halls. Their entry gradually changed research agendas. The preferred subjects of most professional historians prior to World War II usually involved the study of individuals who came from the same class as the historians themselves. Thus, historians tended to study ministers, diplomats, generals and politicians who, in the case of American history, were usually Protestants. Many of the historians hired after World War II came from the lower classes, and they preferred to study the histories of their own classes rather than that of elites. Moreover, when their work covered religion, the younger historians focused on the religions of immigrants and the lower classes, which were usually Catholicism and Judaism.
Thus, the research agendas of a small but significant part of the profession shifted not only toward social history, but also away from social history as practiced by Carl Bridenbaugh. The newer social history would pay more attention to the lower classes, and it would be less respectful to elites. And much of the newer social history would be based on data extracted by quantitative methods. While quantitative history never succeeded in winning over the majority of the profession, it was a movement that compelled even non-quantifying historians to approach their subjects with more in-depth research and methodological rigor. (50)
It seems probable, then, that while Bridenbaugh never articulated it specifically in "The Great Mutation," the transformation from a profession of gentleman scholars studying elites to one increasingly inhabited by members of the middle and lower classes weighed heavily on his mind. Bridenbaugh was at least an academic aristocrat. In "The Great Mutation," he inveighed against urban-bred scholars like Handlin and lamented the passage of aristocratic society at the hands of an egalitarian society. Seen in the context of the changes affecting history departments, his words may also have been referring to the demise of an academic aristocracy at the hands of the lower classes.
In some ways, however, Bridenbaugh's position in this matter is tinged with irony, because he was a commanding officer in the front lines of the battle to make research and scholarly potential the key factors in making appointments. In 1950, Bridenbaugh accepted an appointment as the Margaret Byrne Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley. Berkeley, in the years immediately after the war, was not the celebrated university of today; it was a provincial state university with some distinction in the sciences, but little in the humanities. In 1946, when Kenneth Stampp, a historian of slavery, decided to accept a position in the Berkeley history department, he had to get out a map to find out where Berkeley was. His close friend Richard Hofstatder urged him to reject the offer because of the poor quality of the department's faculty. Upon his own arrival in Berkeley, Bridenbaugh wasted no time informing his new colleagues that the department was not respected nationally and that his mission was to make the university "the Harvard of the West." (51)
Bridenbaugh's assessment of Berkeley's history faculty was not inaccurate. The department as it stood at the time of his arrival was dominated by a group of faculty members known as "the Boltonians," many of whom had been hired by the department's longtime chair, Herbert Eugene Bolton. While Bolton was a distinguished scholar of Spanish colonization in the American Southwest, most of "the Boltonians" did not command scholarly respect. Moreover, some suspected an antisemitic strain in the department's appointments. Bolton preferred to hire Berkeley Ph.D.s and people who held Ph.D.s from institutions west of the Mississippi, such as the University of Wisconsin, rather than academics from departments on the East Coast. (52)
Several of the appointments, however, did fit the new paradigm of professionalization. In 1946, the department appointed Stampp, a Wisconsin Ph.D.; in 1950, prior to Bridenbaugh's arrival, the department hired Joseph Levenson to teach Chinese history. Levenson, a Jew who held a Harvard Ph.D., had been selected for Harvard's Society of Fellows, a program established for students considered too brilliant to endure the tedium of graduate study.
But as students poured onto the Berkeley campus in the early 1950s, the department needed to cast its net more broadly in order to recruit new faculty members. Bridenbaugh was a key figure in organizing several of the department's younger faculty members, including some who had been hired by Bolton or his appointees, into a group of self-styled "Young Turks." The group's shared goal was to upgrade the scholarly reputation of the department. (53)
The "Young Turks" secured the appointments of such persons as the medievalist Robert Brentano, who held a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford; the Renaissance scholar Gene Brucker, who held a Ph.D. from Princeton; and the intellectual historian Henry May, who held a Harvard Ph.D. But in 1957, the reformers encountered stout resistance from "the Boltonians" when they wished to appoint a Harvard Ph.D. named William Bouwsma to teach the Reformation.
The reasons why "the Boltonians" opposed the Bouwsma appointment are not entirely clear, but Bridenbaugh's personal animus appears to have been a factor. He was an academic prima donna, ruthless in deploring the quality of the department, winning the appointments he wanted, blocking the tenure of junior faculty members who were not up to his standards, and even terminating graduate students whom he deemed inadequate. (54) The Bouwsma appointment was sealed only when "the Boltonians" agreed to accept him in return for granting tenure to another faculty member they considered an ally. (55)
Although Bridenbaugh was an ardent participant in the professional revolution at Berkeley, he may also have been a victim of it. In 1958, Samuel Eliot Morison, Harvard's senior colonialist, retired. Bridenbaugh, who was thought by some to yearn to return to Harvard, was reportedly one of three candidates being considered to replace Morrison; the others were Edmund Morgan, then teaching at Yale, and Bernard Bailyn, a Jew who was a junior faculty member at Harvard. In earlier times, the job would probably have gone to Morgan or Bridenbaugh. Thus, when Morgan decided he was happy at Yale, the way might have been cleared for Bridenbaugh to be appointed. But times had changed. Bailyn, in addition to his obvious brilliance and potential, was a student of Oscar Handlin and a historian who had used prosopography in his study of New England merchants. (56) He got the job.
At Berkeley, the appointment of Bouwsma helped to tilt the balance of power in the department in favor of the "Young Turks." At the same time, the state of California continued to prosper, and, with a liberal governor and legislature, money poured into higher education there. Between 1956 and 1962, the history department made twenty-nine appointments. Five of the new faculty members--Richard Abrams, Thomas Kuhn, Carl Schorske, Lawrence Levine and Hans Rosenburg--were Jewish. (57)
A dispute over one of the new appointments, that of the historian of science Thomas Kuhn, was the final step in Bridenbaugh's estrangement, not only from the department, but also from his followers in it. Initially, Kuhn's appointment was held jointly in the history and philosophy departments. He had published a book on the Copernican Revolution, and he was nearing the completion of what would quite possibly become the most influential work of the time, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. However, the philosophy department faculty thought that Kuhn's work was too historical, and they refused to support his promotion to full professor, so he sought a place in the history department. (58)
To the surprise of many, Bridenbaugh vigorously opposed Kuhn's entry into the history department on the grounds that The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was not real history; it was too soft and theoretical. Bridenbaugh's opposition to so obvious a star on the rise caused several in the department, even some who had previously allied themselves with Bridenbaugh on other matters, to organize on Kuhn's behalf. At one point, Bridenbaugh confronted Stampp, a former ally but now one of Kuhn's supporters, about Kuhn's future in the department. (59)
When he discovered that Stampp was adamant in his support for Kuhn, Bridenbaugh stormed out of Stampp's office. With the history faculty's recommendation, Kuhn entered the department as a full professor. (60) Bridenbaugh, furious that he had been thwarted, soon accepted an offer to become University Professor of History at Brown. In an apparent act of revenge, he persuaded Brown to make offers to several other Berkeley history department members, including the historian of American science A. Hunter Dupree, and the modern British historian L. Perry Curtis, who decided to come with him.
At this point, it may be possible to advance some informed speculation on what led Carl Bridenbaugh to select the themes that appeared in "The Great Mutation." The trajectory of Bridenbaugh's career is fairly clear. For most of it, he occupied an enviable position. He held a Harvard Ph.D., and he even found a good job during the Great Depression. By the early 1940s, he had emerged as a scholar of depth and imagination, with books that could be read and enjoyed by scholars and educated nonspecialists.
However, several ironies exist in his work. He celebrated the critical role of cities in setting the egalitarian course of American society. But, by the time of "The Great Mutation," he had come to deplore what had happened to urban life and to mourn the passage of an agrarian ideal. Evidently, he admired the cities when a white Protestant elite ruled them, but not when they were populated with non-Protestant immigrants. Similarly, much of his best work involved the study of groups, particularly aristocrats, craftsmen and merchants. But by the time he delivered "The Great Mutation," he was critical of historians who, in their study of groups, had lost sight of the individual.
While Bridenbaugh's work commanded respect, he had not climbed to the top of the academic mountain; he had not, for example, realized the dream of returning in glory to Harvard. And, while the Byrne Professorship was a distinguished position, the Berkeley of the 1950s was not what it would become, nor was it Harvard. While Bridenbaugh was a principal force in the move to raise the Berkeley department to Ivy League standards, he ended his time there after suffering a humiliating rebuke over Kuhn's appointment.
Thus, by the time he delivered "The Great Mutation," Bridenbaugh appeared to have suffered the fate of many reformers. Once a persistent advocate of reform and a cutting-edge scholar, he now feared that a new generation of historians regarded him as a dinosaur. He appeared to believe that his lifetime of work and dedication to professional standards was under siege. It was as though Robespierre had awoken one morning to discover that younger reformers regarded him as Louis XVI.
More seriously, it seems evident from his speech that Bridenbaugh was increasingly disturbed by the changes wrought in his profession by the entry of a younger generation of historians, particularly those who were Jewish. While Bridenbaugh pushed hard for the best and brightest to receive the most coveted appointments, he appears to have been unprepared for so many of them to be Jews. By the time of his fight over Kuhn's appointment, it may have seemed to Bridenbaugh that he was drowning in a sea of Jewish historians. (61)
Thus, in December of 1962, the Carl Bridenbaugh who addressed the audience at the Chicago Hilton gave every appearance of being a bitter and disillusioned man. (62) That disillusionment came partly from the loss of the rural idyll of his youth, but it appears to have come even more from the changes that had occurred in the historical profession after World War II that transformed both the demographic of the profession and the kind of work it valued the most.
* I would like to thank Michael Zuckerman and Doug Munro for commenting on earlier drafts of this essay, much to my advantage.
(1.) Carl Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," The American Historical Review 68, 2 (January, 1963: 315-331. In what follows, when I refer to "The Great Mutation" in quotation marks, I am referring to Bridenbaugh's speech; when I use the expression without quotation marks, I am referring to the historical process of change from a rural society to an urban one.
(2.) Ibid., pp. 316-7, 322-3.
(3.) Carl Bridenbaugh Papers, the Massachusetts Historical Society; Catherine Drinker Bowen to Carl Bridenbaugh, February 2, 1963; Arthur M. Schlesinger to Carl Bridenbaugh, February 6, 1963; Marshall Smelser to Carl Bridenbaugh. Bridenbaugh's papers currently remain uncatalogued, and I am most grateful to Elaine Heavey, head of reader services at the MHS, for her assistance.
(4.) William Palmer, Engagement with the Past: The Lives and Works of the World War II Generation of Historians (Lexington, Ky.: the University Press of Kentucky, 2001), p. 26; Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge, 1988), p. 172.
(5.) Kenneth Stampp, "Historian of Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, the University of California Berkeley, 1946-1983," an oral history conducted in 1996 by Ann Lage (Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, the University of California at Berkeley), p. 169.
(6.) Novick, That Noble Dream, pp. 339-40. See also David A. Hollinger, Science, Jews, and Secular Culture: Studies in Mid-Twentieth Century American Intellectual History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 25; for a recent assessment, see Peter Charles Hoffer, Past Imperfect: Facts, Fictions, Fraud--American History from Bancroft and Parkman to Ambrose, Bellesiles, Ellis, and Goodwin (New York: Public Affairs, 2004), pp. 59-60.
(7.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," p. 317.
(8.) For a short biographical sketch, see Brooke Hindle, "Carl Bridenbaugh," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 145, 3 (September, 2001): 346-7. Bridenbaugh had been elected to the society in 1958, and he served on its committees and council for several decades.
(9.) James Harvey Robinson, The New History: Essays Illustrating the Modern Historical Outlook (New York: MacMillan, 1912). For some works on the Annales School, see Traian Stoianovich, French Historical Method: The Annales Paradigm (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1976); and Marc Bloch, The Historian's Craft: Reflections on the Nature and Uses of History and the Techniques and Methods of Those Who Write It (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1953).
(10.) For some of Arthur Meier Schlesinger's works, see Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution, 1763-1776 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1918); New Viewpoints in American History (New York: MacMillan, 1922); and The Rise of the City, 1878-1898 (New York: MacMillan, 1933). Schlesinger also published an autobiography, In Retrospect: The History of a Historian ((New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1963).
(11.) Hindle, "Carl Bridenbaugh," pp. 346-7.
(12.) Carl Bridenbaugh, Cities in the Wilderness: The First Century of Urban Life in America, 1625-1642 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1938); and Cities in Revolt, Life in America, 1743-1776 (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1955).
(13.) Bridenbaugh, Cities in Revolt, pp. 418-25.
(14.) Carl Bridenbaugh, Mitre and Sceptre: Transatlantic Faiths, Ideas, Personalities and Politics, 1689-1775 (Oxford and London: Oxford University Press, 1962); and Carl Bridenbaugh, Vexed and Troubled Englishmen 1590-1641 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968).
(15.) Carl Bridenbaugh, Seat of Empire: The Political Role of Eighteenth-Century Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Va.: Colonial Williamsburg, 1950); and Carl and Roberta Bridenbaugh, No Peace Beyond the Line: The English in the Caribbean, 1624-1690 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972).
(16.) Carl Bridenbaugh, The Colonial Craftsman (New York University, 19??); and Carl and Jessica Bridenbaugh, Rebels and Gentlemen: Philadelphia in the Age of Franklin (Oxford and London: Oxford University Press, 1942).
(17.) Bridenbaugh, Cities in the Wilderness, p. 431.
(18.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," p. 330; Bridenbaugh, Cities in Revolt, p. 431; Bridenbaugh, Vexed and Troubled Englishmen, p. ix.
(19.) David Leventhal, The Past is a foreign Country (New York, Cambridge University Press, 1985).
(20.) Lawrence W. Levine, "The Historian and the Culture Gap," in L. Perry Curtis, Jr., ed., The Historian's Workshop: Original Essays by Sixteen Historians (New York: Knopf, 1970), pp. 307-26.
(21.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," pp. 316-17, 319.
(22.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," pp. 320, 318.
(23.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," p. 320.
(24.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," p. 320. Here is another place where Bridenbaugh appears to have been prescient. Scholars have recently placed increasing emphasis on the religious components of the American Revolution. For a succinct general discussion, see David Armitage, "The American Revolution: The Last War of Religion?" in Armitage, Greater Britain, 1516-1776 (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2004): Part XIII, pp. 1-10.
(25.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," p. 321.
(26.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," p. 321.
(27.) Bridenbaugh, Cities in Revolt, pp. 464, 256; for this point, I am indebted to the thoughtful review of Bridenbaugh's two books on the city by Benjamin L. Carp in " Cities in Review," Common-Place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life 3, 4 (July, 2003), p. 4. Bridenbaugh made many of the same points about the Philadelphia aristocracy in Rebels and Gentlemen, pp. 362-3.
(28.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," p. 324.
(29.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," pp. 324, 327.
(30.) Lewis Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III, 2 vols. (London: MacMillan and Company, 1929); and England in the Age of the American Revolution (London: Macmillan and Company, 1930).
(31.) Palmer, Engagement with the Past, p. 61.
(32.) See the fascinating article on Benson by Gerald Zahavi, "The 'Trial' of Lee Benson: Communism, White Chauvinism, and the Foundations of the 'New Political History' in the United States," History and Theory 42 (October, 2003): 332-62; see p. 336 and note, for information on Benson's early life. Zahavi believes that the origins of the "New Political History" came from Benson's engagement with Marxism and the American Communist Party.
(33.) Lee Benson, The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy: New York as a Test Case (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961).
(34.) For an interesting take on the merits and demerits of quantification, see two articles by Lawrence Stone, both reprinted in his The Past and the Present (Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 198r). The articles are "History and the Social Sciences in the Twentieth Century," pp. 3-44, and "The Revival of Narrative: Reflections on a New Old History," pp. 74-96.
(35.) Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson, (Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1945).
(36.) Lee Benson, "Research Problems in American Political Historiography," in Benson, Toward the Scientific Study of History (New York: Lippincott, 1972), especially pp. 8-11.
(37.) Benson, The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy; see also the astute assessment of the impact of Benson's work in Daniel Feller, "Lee Benson and The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy," Reviews in American History 20 (1992): 591-601.
(38.) Benson, The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy," pp. 34-30, 42-6, 334-5; Feller, "Benson and the Concept of Jacksonian Democracy," p. 593.
(39.) Bridenbaugh, "The Great Mutation," pp. 323-4.
(40.) Palmer, Engagement with the Past, p. 303.
(41.) It should be noted that Bridenbaugh's first book, Cities in the Wilderness, did have footnotes. The charge of being boring, however, cannot be leveled at Benson. The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy positively vibrates with excitement. See especially pages 329 and 38.
(42.) H.R. Trevor-Roper, History, Professional and Lay (Oxford, 1957), pp. 11-19; for some recent thoughts on the matter, see David Cannadine, "British History: Past, Present --and Future?" Past and Present 116 (August, 1987): 169-91. Bridenbaugh had evidently been thinking about the issue of popular readership for some time. As early as 1939, in a letter to Lewis Mumford, he expressed his sympathy for the position of Alan Nevins, a member of the Columbia history faculty--a position maintaining that historical writing had become too specialized and technical. Lewis Mumford Papers, University of Pennsylvania Library, Special Collections, Manuscript Collection 2. Folder 553, Carl Bridenbaugh to Lewis Mumford, February 9. 1939. I would like to thank Nancy Shawcross, curator of manuscripts in the Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania Libraries, for her assistance in locating several Bridenbaugh letters.
(43.) William Palmer, From Gentleman's Club to Professional Body: The Evolution of the History Department in the United States, 1940-1980 (Columbia, SC: Booksurge, 2008); for the general argument here, see pp. ix-xviii and ix-xi, and pp. 51-86 for Yale. There is yet no thorough study of the process at Oxford, but see Blair Worden, "Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper," Proceedings of the British Academy 150, (2007), p. 263, for a discussion of the determination of Hugh Trevor-Roper and A.J.P. Taylor to wrest control of appointments away from the Oxford establishment.
(44.) Morton Keller and Phyllis Keller, Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America's University (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 22-6.
(45.) Oscar Handlin, "A Career at Harvard," The American Scholar 65 (Winter, 1996): 47-58.
(46.) Richard Bushman, ed., Uprooted Americans: Essays to Honor Oscar Handlin (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1975), p. 4.
(47.) Oscar Handlin, The Uprooted (Boston: Little Brown, and Company, 1951), p. 3.
(48.) Palmer, From Gentleman's Club to Professional Body, pp. xvi-xxvii; see also Kathleen J. Frydl, The G.I. Bill (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2.009).
(49.) Gene A. Brucker, "History at Berkeley," in Gene A. Brucker, Henry F. May, and David A. Hollinger, History at Berkeley: A Dialog in Three Parts (Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education, 1998), p. 6.
(50.) Stone, "The Revival of Narrative," in The Past and the Present, pp. 81-5.
(51.) Kenneth Stampp, "Historian of Slavery," p. 161.
(52.) Hollinger, "Afterward," in Brucker, May, and Hollinger, History at Berkeley, pp. 38-9. For a recent study of Bolton, see Albert L. Hurtado, Herbert Eugene Bolton: Historian of the American Borderlands (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011).
(53.) Brucker, "History at Berkeley, pp. 6-7.
(54.) Henry F. May, "Comments," in Brucker, May, and Hollinger, History at Berkeley, p. 25.
(55.) The Bouwsma appointment is discussed in Hollinger, "Afterward," pp. 40-2.
(56.) Stampp, "Historian of Slavery," p. 161; Jack N. Rakove, "Bernard Bailyn," in Robert Allen Rutland, ed., Clio's Favorites: Leading Historians of the United States, 1945-2000 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2000), p. 9, note 8. For Bailyn as prosopographer, see Bailyn, The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955).
(57.) May, "Comments," in Brucker, May, and Hollinger, History at Berkeley, p. 28.
(58.) Thomas Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought (Cambridge. Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1957); Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962)
(59.) The issues pertaining to Kuhn are discussed in Hollinger, "Afterward," pp. 43-50. His opposition to Kuhn appears to have come as a surprise to other department members.
(60.) Hollinger, "Afterward," p. 43.
(61.) I believe this claim is justified based upon the evidence presented so far; see also Hoffer, Past Imperfect, p. 60.
(62.) In his oral history with Ann Lage, Kenneth Stampp relates several anecdotes in which Bridenbaugh complained that his kind of social history was not appreciated; see Stampp. "Historian of Slavery," pp. 162-3. Ironically, over a decade later, Oscar Handlin would express his own disillusion with his career and the historical profession in general. See Oscar Handlin, Truth in History (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979), pp. 3-24.
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|Publication:||American Jewish History|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2014|
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