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False accusations: Herbert Bolton, Jews, and the loyalty oath at Berkeley, 1920-1950.

Three themes are woven through this essay: anti-Semitism, false accusations, and the corruption of the historical record that is often ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations. Herbert E. Bolton is a key figure in this story because he has been accused of holding anti-Semitic attitudes and keeping Jews out of the history department of the University of California at Berkeley, a charge I have heard from several historians whose names will go unmentioned. That Bolton's supposed anti-Semitism continues to be part of the lore about him is especially disappointing because nearly twenty years ago I published an essay that called this accusation into question. (1) Alas, scholarly publications do not always influence popular perceptions, even among scholars.

It is not surprising that the stories about Bolton hang on. Given the times in which he lived and worked, the charge seems plausible? Born in 1870 on a Wisconsin farm, Bolton shared the usual prejudices of rural America. After studying with Frederick Jackson Turner at the University of Wisconsin (1896-1897), he completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania in 1899.

He taught at the University of Texas (1901-1909) and Stanford University (1909-1911) before taking a professorship at the University of California in 1911. Bolton retired in 1940 but was brought back to the university during World War II. He retired permanently in 1944 but maintained an office in the Bancroft Library, which he had directed for more than two decades, until his disabling stroke in 1952. He died in 1953.

During his four decades on the Berkeley campus, Bolton chaired the history department, ran the Bancroft Library, and trained hundreds of graduate students, some of whom became prominent historians in their own right. He was an immensely productive historian who founded the Spanish Borderlands school of historical study (3) and was one of the most influential historians of the first half of the twentieth century. Historians of the American West, Mexico, and Latin America regard him as a founding member of their fields. (4) Remembered today primarily by field specialists, in his own time he was famous to the general public. News clippings about him fill several cartons in his collected papers. (5) Few academics generate that sort of publicity in any generation.



When I decided to write a book about Bolton in 1987, one of the first claims that I heard about him was that he was anti-Semitic. In Bolton's era, anti-Semitism was endemic to the academy. (6) WASP faculty and university presidents maintained their sense of ethnic, religious, and gender exclusivity wherever they could by raising barriers against Catholics, women, and Jews. (7) Unfortunately, the common experience of religious discrimination did not produce a sense of common cause when Nazi Germany began to persecute Jews; many Catholic American academics and universities seemed to be sympathetic with some of the aims of fascist dictators and failed to condemn these new Jewish pogroms. (8)

The Berkeley history department was not immune to the contagion of anti-Semitism. (9) Perhaps Bolton, who wrote favorably about Catholic history in America, shared these pernicious views. The weight of circumstantial evidence pointed in that direction. Consequently, when I first heard about Bolton's presumed anti-Semitism I uncritically accepted the accusation against him. Several times I heard a story that supported the charge: Historian Woodrow Borah,

Bolton's student in the 1930s, was kept out of the history department by Bolton because he was a Jew. For years, Borah, a prominent historian of Latin America, was forced to teach Spanish literature in Berkeley's speech department until the history department finally hired him in the 1960s.

When I began my research into Bolton's life, I expected to uncover plenty of evidence of Bolton's prejudice. What I found surprised me. Bolton had his prejudices, all right. In his youth he was a nativist, anti-Catholic, and opposed to the Democratic Party because of its associations with Catholics and immigrants. (10) From this I inferred that he was probably anti-Semitic, too. Yet time softened some of Bolton's prejudices. He built his career as a historian by valorizing Spanish Catholic missionaries in colonial America. Eventually he numbered scores of priests and Catholic students among his friends. They, in turn, recognized Bolton's contribution to the growing acceptance of Catholics among the general public. There was actually a Catholic mass held for Bolton after he died, although he was raised as a Methodist. (11) Bolton's transformation from anti-Catholic to a defender of Catholic heroes speaks of someone with a certain amount of flexibility in his religious views. Yet, more than a half century after Bolton's death, a questionable charge of anti-Semitism remains a part of his legacy.


But in his youth Bolton was not a crusader against prejudice. As a student at the University of Wisconsin he joined a fraternity, Theta Delta Chi, which barred Jews and Catholics. (12) He seemed to believe that Jews could be identified by their physical characteristics. In later years, when college-hiring authorities inquired about the race of Bolton's graduate student applicants, he routinely provided the information. One prospective employer asked about the ancestry of Charles Coan, whose last name raised a doubt. Bolton assured the inquirer that Coan was "not a Jew, and his personal appearance would remove any suspicions." (13)

Though Bolton evidently believed that Jews possessed distinctive physical characteristics, he did not believe that they should be barred from graduate school or academic employment. He trained Jewish students and placed them in academic positions, although this was not easy, as the case of Abraham Nasatir demonstrates. A gifted student, Nasatir received his bachelor's degree from the University of California at the age of seventeen. He was interested in the Rocky Mountain fur trade, so Bolton asked his former student and coauthor, Thomas Maitland Marshall of Washington University, to direct Nasatir's master's thesis. (14) Marshall refused. Nasatir remained with Bolton in Berkeley, where he finished his master's (1922) and his PhD (1926). In 1925, he went to Saint Louis to complete his research on the fur trade. There he met Marshall, who characterized him in a letter to Bolton as "a smart but very obnoxious Jew. When he leaves we hope the Jefferson Memorial will be left to us. We hope that we will not see his like again." (15) Bolton coolly replied that if he had refused to work with "a man of ability ... because he is obnoxious ... half of my men would have been sent elsewhere." (16)

Marshall's vicious comments foreshadowed the difficulty that Bolton would have in placing Nasatir. Bolton wrote strong letters recommending Nasatir as his "most brilliant student," "a real scholar," with "a very fine spirit," though "youthful" and "good naturedly egotistical." Because of his youth and enthusiasm, Nasatir needed the "kind guidance of some one who really likes him." If he got the right kind of treatment, Bolton believed, he would "almost certainly prove to be a great man." (17)

Bolton's glowing recommendations failed to secure immediate permanent employment for Nasatir. Professor Arthur P. Whitaker explained that Nasatir's "race was against him" in the competition for a job at the Florida State College for Women . (18) Bolton bristled at Whitaker's mention of race. "I am ... sorry to learn that ... his race will have anything to do with his appointment. Such a thing would be inconceivable in another community." (19) Finally, Nasatir landed a job at San Diego State Teachers' College, where two of Bolton's students, Charles B. Leonard and Lewis B. Lesley, already were teaching history. At first Leonard objected to Nasatir, and another Bolton student, Clarence DuFour, took the job. Nasatir at last got the San Diego position when DuFour resigned in November 1927. (20) He remained on the San Diego State faculty until he retired in the early 1970s. It is fair to speculate that he would not have been hired there had Bolton not put pressure on his former students.

So by the 1920s it would appear that Bolton supported the recruitment, training, and placement of Jews in the academy. There is no reason to believe that he was not sincere in his statements about Nasatir, but perhaps he had ulterior motives as well. At the very moment Bolton was promoting Nasatir's career, he was establishing an important relationship with a Jewish benefactor, Sidney M. Ehrman, an influential lawyer associated with the Wells Fargo Bank. Ehrman was a very wealthy man. He had graduated with the Berkeley class of 1896 and was a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, a fraternal organization that provided funding for historical studies at the university. Every year, Bolton appeared before the organization's annual meeting to explain the work of the history department, the accomplishments of fellows whom the Native Sons had funded, and the history department's continuing needs. At the Sons' 1922 meeting, he declared that Californians ought to be ashamed that they had not published the first history of California, written by the Franciscan missionary Francisco Palou, Noticias de la California. (21) After the meeting, Ehrman, who was still a stranger to Bolton, touched his arm and asked how much it would cost to publish Palou. Bolton thought he "would impress him sufficiently" and said, "Well, $5,000." Ehrman replied, "All right, the money is yours." (22)

From that moment, Ehrman underwrote the publication costs of most of Bolton's books. Evidently he also gave to Bolton a substantial cash gift--an honorarium, he called it--when Bolton published Fray Juan Crespi, Missionary Explorer of the Pacific Coast, 1769-1774 (1927). In all, Ehrman may have given as much as $50,000 to subsidize Bolton's work. Bolton and Ehrman became personal friends. The Boltons crossed the bay to attend dinner and opera dates with the Ehrmans in San Francisco; in summer they were guests at the Ehrmans' Lake Tahoe lodge; and Bolton invited Ehrman along on one of his southwestern expeditions to retrace the routes of a Spanish explorer. (23) Ehrman came through with financial support for Bolton's work again and again, as the acknowledgments in his books show. (24) Bolton must have been pleased when Ehrman joined the University of California's Board of Regents in 1930. A few years later, Ehrman endowed a chair in European history at Berkeley as a memorial to his son, who had tragically died. So Bolton would have had a personal motive for supporting Jewish students while avoiding statements that were anti-Semitic. Consequently, the question must be asked: Did Bolton harbor private prejudices while publicly supporting the employment of Jews in the academy? A definitive answer to this question cannot be educed from Bolton's published writings and private correspondence.


Despite his relationship with Ehrman and support for Jewish students, Bolton chaired a history department that had never hired a Jewish professor. This brings us to the case of Ernst Hartwig Kantorowicz. In 1939, Robert Gordon Sproul, president of the University of California, called Bolton's attention to Professor Kantorowicz, a German Jew who wanted to teach in the United States. Kantorowicz was forbidden to teach in Nazi Germany because he was Jewish, Sproul explained. "If you or your colleagues are at all interested in Dr. Kantorowicz," Sproul wrote, "will you let me hear from you?" (25)

Kantorowicz was a very well-known but controversial historian who had been a full professor at the University of Frankfurt until, like other Jewish faculty, he was forced out of his professorship by the Nazis as unfit to teach German youth. He was an assimilated Jew and a strong German nationalist with decidedly right-wing views. After World War I, he had taken up arms against communists in Germany. His biography of Frederick the Great (1927) was meant to serve a nationalist agenda. Kantorowicz's early work was in some respects idiosyncratic, but he is now recognized as a major figure among medieval historians. Although he was an early critic of Hitler's National Socialists, he later was accused of being a Nazi in all but his Jewish heritage. (26)



Bolton made inquiries about Kantorowicz. Professor Ferdinand Schevill of the University of Chicago damned the German professor with faint praise for his biography of Frederick. According to Schevill, the book was "an elaborately reconstructed biography of a kind I thoroughly distrust." Schevill continued that he would not call Kantorowicz either a "great scholar or a superior intellect." "A less than major position in your university is quite compatible with his attainments," he told Bolton. (27) Bolton forwarded Schevill's remarks to Sproul without comment.

Schevill's criticism of Kantorowicz's book was harsh but not unique. The Frederick biography had been published without footnotes and included a lot of mythology and folklore about the medieval emperor. Critics attacked his work accordingly. Kantorowicz subsequently published a volume of documentation that was intended to disarm his detractors, but it did not silence them. (28) Despite Schevill's unsupportive assessment, Bolton wrote to Kantorowicz inviting him to join the Berkeley history department as visiting professor of medieval history for the 1939-1940 academic year: "I am writing to welcome you and to make arrangements for the courses which you will give." He assigned Kantorowicz the standard course load of two undergraduate classes and one graduate seminar per semester and allowed him to suggest the particular topics for each course. Bolton concluded his letter by promising the Jewish refugee "a friendly welcome by all the members of the History Department." (29)

Whether Kantorowicz was hired because Sproul insisted over Bolton's objection or because Bolton privately recommended Kantorowicz remains an open question. Bolton's long association with Ehrman and Jewish students like Nasatir and Woodrow Borah (who was then working on his dissertation in Mexico) argues against a deeply held anti-Semitism. (30) Yet, Kantorowicz may have been hired despite Bolton's possible reservation. "Provost Deutsch informs me that you have been invited to join our staff," (31) Bolton wrote Kantorowicz, which infers that the hiring decision had been made by the administration. However, this may have been merely a recognition that the hiring authority was not Bolton but the president through his provost.


If Bolton objected to Kantorowicz joining the history faculty, anti-Semitism might not have been his motive. Like many American academics, Bolton had become a critic of the German system of higher education. World War I propaganda had probably hardened his views. In 1920, he had observed that before the war "among older university men" there was "strong predilection toward" German university training. However, "it had become generally recognized that ... American university degrees stood for much more than German degrees." (32) In the same year, he answered no to four questions asking his opinion about the proposed establishment of a federal Department of Education. At the foot of the questionnaire he scrawled, "Keep Federal hands oft Don't Prussianize education." (33) Bolton may well have objected to Kantorowicz because of his German training, if indeed he objected to him at all.

There is one other motive that Bolton may have had. At the time Kantorowicz became a visiting professor, Bolton was attempting to place his own students on the Berkeley faculty in preparation for his retirement in 1940. Bolton believed that his own students should carry on his tradition at Berkeley. Adding a new senior man might stymie his plans. (34)

Exposure to Kantorowicz seemed to eliminate whatever objections Bolton may have held against him. In the spring of 1940, he told Sproul that he had attended the visiting professor's illustrated public lecture on Charles the Bold. Kantorowicz made a very good impression on Bolton and the rest of the history faculty who were present, despite his "very foreign accent." Bolton thought that if Kantorowicz could be permanently retained he would "be a real scholarly asset to the University, and a highly useful teacher, especially with advanced students." Therefore, he unequivocally added, "I recommend that he be made Professor of History on permanent appointment." (35) The permanent appointment did not occur for several years, but that was not Bolton's doing. If anti-Semitism was the reason for keeping Kantorowicz as a visiting professor in the history department, the fault must be found elsewhere.


The year after Bolton recommended Kantorowicz for a permanent faculty position, he wrote a letter of recommendation for Woodrow Borah, who wanted an assistant professorship at Tulane University. "He is one of the most brilliant graduates we have ever had," Bolton offered. Bolton expected "a notable output of scholarly work by him in years to come." The glowing recommendation included details about Borah's work on colonial Mexico. Bolton added that Borah "was born in Mississippi of Jewish parents," a statement that was evidently intended to aid Borah's candidacy by highlighting his southern roots while alerting Tulane authorities to his ethnic and religious background. (36)

Borah did not go to Tulane. Instead he took a position at Princeton University. (37) He was impressed with the magnificent architecture and the student body, who were "a healthy, happy group," he told Bolton. They were "so well trained in good diet that their instinctive tendency" was "to reach for milk," which he was surprised to find was served even at Princeton dances. "Scotch can also be had, however." (38) Borah liked Princeton and he hoped to stay. (39)

When the United States entered World War II, however, everything changed. Borah left Princeton for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the intelligence corps that was the forerunner of the CIA. In 1946, he wrote Bolton a long letter summarizing his experiences. Borah had been in Europe with another of Bolton's doctors-cum-OSS agents, Alfred B. Thomas. "My job was to set up OSS staffs in Italy and Germany" and to scour the archives for documents illuminating Latin American relations with the Axis. Now that the work was completed and published Borah could talk about it. Italians had been cooperative, but in Germany "the crushed, frightened population ... hated us and cooperated as little as it dared. However, one could always find enough foreign slave laborers to tell where archives had been moved to." (40) With the war over and the OSS disbanded, Borah wanted to reenter academic life. He preferred to return to Princeton, but the situation did not look promising because they already had one permanent Latin Americanist. Would Bolton help him, Borah asked?

Bolton was willing to help Borah. By the late 1940s, there was probably no chance that Bolton could muscle another of his students into the history department. But he still had friends in other parts of the university and he recommended Borah for a spot in the department of speech. Bolton described Borah as "one of the most brilliant and scholarly men we have had here in History" who had "great clarity of thought and a gift for forceful and cultured expression." "Frankly, other things being equal, I would prefer to see him in History," Bolton wrote. (41) Bolton mentioned nothing about Borah's Jewish background as he had done in his prewar letters. Borah got the job in speech and was grateful to Bolton. "Four people have written about the fine letter you sent the committee, and its great value in getting the appointment approved," Borah acknowledged. (42) He taught in the speech department until 1962, when he at last transferred to the history department. (43) Bolton's letter made it clear that Borah belonged in the history department and he no doubt would have criticized the 1962 move as too long delayed.


By the time Borah was asking for Bolton's aid, Ernst Kantorowicz was a regular member of the history department, but his tenure there ended under unhappy circumstances. In 1949, the California Board of Regents required all faculty to sign a new loyalty oath declaring that they were not communists. All state employees including faculty signed an oath when they were hired, but now only university employees would have to sign an oath each year when their contracts were renewed. Most faculty, many of whom were war veterans like Borah, found the new requirement odious but were willing to sign as an expediency.

At first, only a minority of the faculty opposed the new oath on broad principles. One of them was Kantorowicz. The Jewish refugee who had fought communists in the street in Germany read a statement to the Academic Senate that condemned the new "enforced oath." He had made a study of oaths, he said, and declared that while the oath may appear to be harmless, "All oaths in history that I know of, have undergone changes. A new word is added. A short phrase, seemingly insignificant, will be smuggled in." Recent history was a guide, he continued. "Mussolini Italy of 1931, Hitler Germany of 1933 are terrifying warning examples for the harmless bit-by-bit procedure in connection with politically enforced oaths." History demonstrated that it was unwise to yield "to momentary hysteria, or to jeopardize, for the sake of temporary temporal advantages the permanent external values." "Professional and human dignity" were at stake. The regents were bullying the innocent professor "to give up either his tenure or, together with his freedom and his judgment, his human dignity and his responsible sovereignty as a scholar." (44) These were soaring words, but few professors thought that the oath was more than a meaningless and disagreeable technicality, something to be signed and forgotten. They were wrong.


For two years there ensued a complicated set of negotiations among Sproul, the Academic Senate, and the Regents. Eventually all parties felt that the others had acted in bad faith. The positions of the faculty and the Regents hardened. In February 1950, the Regents required that all university employees sign the oath as written in 1949, or in lieu of the oath, an explicit affirmation that he or she was not a communist. The Regents fired thirty-one nonsigning faculty, including Kantorowicz, then the state legislature required all state employees (including university professors) to sign an oath very similar to the Regents' oath. Subsequent court decisions upheld the new oath while providing a means for the reinstatement of the cashiered professors, but not Kantorowicz. He had already accepted a position at Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Study.

Not all the fired faculty fared as well as Kantorowicz. John Walton Caughey, a professor of history at UCLA who had been Bolton's doctoral student, also refused to sign the new oath and was fired. After a long court battle, Caughey was permitted to return to his old position, but only after he signed the hated oath. (45)

It is inconceivable that Bolton, who spent nearly every day in the Bancroft Library and then lunched at the faculty club, did not harbor an opinion about the oath. As George Stewart put it, "We woke up, and there was the oath with us in the delusive bright cheeriness of the morning. 'Oath' read the headline in the newspaper, and it put a bitter taste into the breakfast coffee. We discussed the oath during lunch at the Faculty Club. And what else was there for subject matter at the dinner table?" (46)

Bolton's colleagues and former students on the Berkeley faculty (who by then included George Hammond, Lawrence Kinnaird, James King, Engel Sluiter, and Borah) were all affected by this tumultuous episode. Kantorowicz and history department chair John D. Hicks took leading roles in the developing drama. During this unsettling period, Caughey and Bolton coedited the Chronicles of California series for the University of California Press. Yet Bolton never remarked on the oath in his correspondence with Caughey or anyone else. Why not? He likely thought that the storm would blow over and that in the meantime it was best to say little about it. The vast majority of the faculty signed the oath even though they believed that it was an obnoxious obligation. Bolton was personally acquainted with Sproul and influential Regents (like Ehrman) who were prominently involved in the controversy. Public comment by BoRon would have offended someone, and he had spent his professional lifetime avoiding political contretemps. He probably felt much like his former student Phillip Wayne Powell, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "The whole thing stinks," Powell wrote to historian Ray Billington, "so I just keep away from it. There has been exaggeration and hysteria on both sides," he added, "so as friend [Dean] Acheson would put it, I'll just wait and let the dust settle." (47)

We might wish that Bolton had made a ringing defense of academic freedom, or a stirring public denunciation of anti-Semitism, but this would have been out of character. Bolton conciliated power; he did not confront it. In most cases he conformed to societal norms; he did not challenge them.


So what are we to make of the charges of anti-Semitism against Bolton and in particular the story about Borah? It is impossible to know for certain Bolton's beliefs about Jews from his public or private writings, but after twenty years of studying Bolton's voluminous correspondence, I have a basis to make some inferences. First, Bolton's views about race, religion, and ethnicity changed over time. As a boy, he learned all of the usual prejudices of nineteenth-century America. Education and foreign travel broadened his outlook. Although he was raised as a Methodist, his research into Spanish Catholic missionaries engendered an ecumenical view. It is not too much to suppose that as he developed more inclusive views about Christians, he abandoned (or at least softened) his prejudice against Jews. If this is true, and it seems to me that the preponderance of the evidence shows that it is, we are provided with one example that people can change over time, and sometimes for the better.

There is the less generous interpretation that Bolton supported Jews out of self-interest because of his relationship with Ehrman, who was his benefactor as well as a member of the Board of Regents. Such an interpretation makes Bolton a complicated and scheming personality who was able to suppress his innate prejudices for a prolonged period. If Bolton had been a closet anti-Semite, what are we to make of his critical remarks about racial prejudice to Professor Whitaker? Why would Bolton have actively supported Borah for a position in the University of California in 1948? Still, it must be admitted that we cannot know for certain all of Bolton's ideas about race in general or Jews in particular.

Bolton is not above reproach in the matter of anti-Semitism. He was acutely aware that most of his academic peers were opposed to hiring Jews. Thus, he identified Jewish applicants in his letters of recommendation for them. There is no defense for this action, but Bolton no doubt felt that it was pointless to plump someone for a job who would be disqualified as soon as his religion was discovered. Judaism was not the only religion that Bolton mentioned in his letters. He sometimes indicated religion when recommending Catholics and Mormons for positions in Catholic and Mormon institutions. Of course, in these cases the revelations amounted to a positive recommendation to the hiring institutions. It is also worth pointing out that in his recommendations, Bolton revealed physical characteristics of applicants that might be deemed objectionable--blindness, a maimed hand, small stature--while praising other attributes, such as good looks, fine physique, and manly qualities. Delightful wives also merited a mention from time to time. Of course, by revealing objectionable qualities, whether they were religious, ethnic, or physical, Bolton was reflecting the established prejudices of his society and academe. To his credit, however, he took Jewish graduate students, worked to get them good jobs, and recommended hiring the first Jew on the Berkeley history faculty. There is a long list of historians who never did as much.

Still, rumors about Bolton's anti-Semitism live on. Twenty years ago, I wrote an article about his racial views that included some of the material about Nasatir. One of the anonymous referees for the Pacific Historical Review wrote that he had been Bolton's student and that my assessment of Bolton's attitudes matched his own. I asked the editors if the referee would reveal his name. It was Borah. In 1992, I interviewed Borah and asked him explicitly if Bolton was anti-Semitic. Not to his knowledge, he said. Of course, Bolton had taken him aside and explained that he would have trouble finding work because anti-Semitism was prevalent in academic life, but he never discouraged Borah from pursuing the doctorate. Perhaps this story about Bolton's frank assessment of lamentable academic conditions was retold and embellished by others so that Bolton became the villain of the piece. Or maybe someone made up the story to smear Bolton for some reason unknown to us. Whatever the case, the charge stuck to Bolton even after I published my essay. (48)

Not long ago I was telling one of my colleagues about my progress on the Bolton biography. "Oh yes," he said. "He was anti-Semitic, you know. He kept Borah from getting into the Berkeley history department." My response, as one might imagine, was lengthy. My friend's belief about Bolton (now happily disabused) is proof that once someone is touched by the brush of opprobrium it is almost impossible to untar him. The persistence of the story also shows the power of rumor and innuendo to influence opinions even among historians who are trained to critically sift the evidence. The false allegation may be remembered long after careful investigation has revealed it to be groundless.

Rumormongering and scholarship do not meet on the same ground, but they are carried on by the same people. Historians (including the author) are as gossipy as any other group of humans. The story of Bolton's supposed anti-Semitism reminds us that scandalous stories are remembered and retold but seldom verified.

And what a fine irony that their detractors called Bolton an anti-Semite and Kantorowicz--the Jew he recommended--a Nazi. The truth about these men is much more complicated and instructive than their accusers would have it. We are all caught up in a world that is not of our making; only a few of us make an effort to change it. In Bolton's case, he quietly did what he could to assist Jews in academe but did not directly challenge the status quo. He could have done more, but at least he did something. Kantorowicz, who had already risked all and lost all in Germany, was prepared to do it again when he challenged the Board of Regents' loyalty oath. Perhaps because of his experience in Germany, Kantorowicz thought that everything was always at stake, and perhaps he was right.

Rumors about Bolton and Kantorowicz will no doubt persist, but the truth about them deserves wider dissemination. If nothing else, their cases show that the historical record, oral and written, contains ambiguities and outright falsehoods. Sifting that evidence for the truth is the historian's everlasting challenge. (49)


Caption sources: University of California, Academic Senate, University of California: In Memoriam, 1958 (Berkeley: University of California, 1958), II; Ernst H. Kantorowicz, The Fundamental Issue: Documents and Marginal Notes on the University of California Loyalty Oath (San Francisco: Parker Printing Co., 1950); Summary of Loyalty Oath Events, The Loyalty Oath Controversy, University of California 1949-1951, University of California History Digital Archives.

(1) Albert L. Hurtado, "Herbert E. Bolton, Racism, and American History," Pacific Historical Review 62, no. 2 (May 1993): 127-42.

(2) Unless otherwise stated, the basic facts of Bolton's life are drawn from Albert L. Hurtado, Herbert Eugene Bolton: Historian of the American Borderlands (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012). See also John Francis Bannon, Herbert Eugene Bolton: The Historian and the Man (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1978), 1-85 and passim.

(3) The "Spanish Borderlands" region derives from Herbert Bolton's The Spanish Borderlands: A Chronicle of Old Florida and the Southwest (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1921). In recent years, historians have examined and amplified the term "borderlands" as a category of analysis as well as a geographic region. These discussions also have involved an examination of the contested meaning of the term "frontier." The following titles are suggestive of the rich literature that has developed in the past decade: Jeremy Adelman and Stephen Aron, "From Borderlands to Borders: Empires, Nation-States, and the Peoples in between in North American History," American Historical Review 104, no. 3 (June 1999): 814-41, and the "Forum Essay" with rejoinders and a response of the authors in the same issue, 1221-39; Stephen Aron, American Confluence: The Missouri Frontier from Borderland to Border State (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), xiii-xxi; Michiel Baud and Willem Van Schendel, "Toward a Comparative History of Borderlands," Journal of World History 8, no. 2 (Fall 1997): 211-42; Amy Bushnell Turner, "Gates, Patterns, and Peripheries: The Field of Frontier Latin America," in Negotiated Empires: Centers and Peripheries in the Americas, ed. Christine Daniels and Michael V. Kennedy (New York: Routledge, 2002), 15-28; Sterling Evans, ed., The Borderlands of the American and Canadian Wests: Essays on Regional History of the Forty-ninth Parallel (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006); Samuel Truett, "Epics of Greater America: Herbert Eugene Bolton's Quest for a Transnational History," in Interpreting Spanish Colonialism: Empires, Nations, and Legends, ed. Christopher Schmidt-Nowara and John M. Nieto-Phillips (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005), 213-48; Andr6s Res6ndrez, Changing National Identities at the Frontier: Texas and New Mexico, 1800-1850 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Samuel Truett, Fugitive Landscapes: The Forgotten History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006); Samuel Truett and Elliott Young, eds., Continental Crossroads: Remapping U.S.-Mexico Borderlands History (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004).

(4) For appraisals of Bolton's work, see Ban non, Herbert Eugene Bolton, 255-58; John Francis Bannon, "Herbert Eugene Bolton--Western Historian," Western Historical Quarterly z, no. 3 (1971): 261-82; David J. Weber, "Turner, the Boltonians, and the Borderlands," American Historical Review 91, no. I (Feb. 1986): 66-81; Donald E. Worcester, "Herbert Eugene Bolton: The Making of a Western Historian," in Writing Western History: Essays on Major Western Historians, ed. Richard W. Etulain (Albuquerque: Universit,] of New Mexico Press: 1991), 193-213; David ]. Langum, "Herbert E. Bolton," in Historians of the American Frontier: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook, ed. John Wunder (New York: Greenwood Press, 1988), 130-46; ]ohn W. Caughey, "Herbert Eugene Bolton," in Wilbur R. lacobs, John W. Caughey, and Joe B. Frantz, Turner, Bolton, and Webb: Three Historians of the American Frontier (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1965), 41-67; David J. Weber, "Blood of Martyrs, Blood of Indians: Toward a More Balanced View of Spanish Missions in Seventeenth-Century North America," in Archaeological and Historical Perspectives on the Spanish Borderlands East, vol. 2, Columbian Consequences, ed. David Hurst Thomas (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990), 429-448; David J. Weber, "The Idea of the Spanish Borderlands," in The Spanish Borderlands in Pan-American Perspective, vol. 3, Columbian Consequences, ed. David Hurst Thomas (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991), 3-20; James A. Sandos, "Junipero Serra's Canonization and the Historical Record," American Historical Review 93, no. 5 (Dec. 1988): 1253-69; Albert L. Hurtado, "Herbert E. Bolton, Racism and American History";. Hurtado, "Parkmanizing the Spanish Borderlands: Bolton, Turner, and the Historians' World," Western Historical Quarterly 26 (1995): 149-67; and Hurtado, "Romancing the West in the Twentieth Century: The Politics of History in a Contested Region," Western Historical Quarterly 32, no. 4 (Winter 2001): 417-35.

(5) Herbert E. Bolton Papers, Part III, Cartons 2-6, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Bolton's correspondence is in Part II of the Bolton Papers (hereafter cited as BP In[coming] or BP Out[going]).

(6) Stephen H. Norwood, The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

(7) On anti-Catholicism in the academy, see Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity" Question and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 46, 174n, 203n, 366n, 388. For anti-Semitism see Novick, That Noble Dream, 15, 69n, 172-74, 203n, 338-41, 365-66, 376n; Marcia Graham Synnott, "Anti-Semitism and American Universities: Did Quotas Follow the Jews?" in Anti-Semitism in American History, ed. David A. Gerber (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 233-71; Henry Aaron Yeomans, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, 1856-1943 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1948), 209-16.

(8) Norwood, Third Reich in the Ivory Tower, 196-219.

(9) Novick, That Noble Dream, 330.

(10) Herbert E. Bolton to Frederick Bolton, Oct. 3, 1888, and clipping from The Journal, Nov. 7, 1896, enclosed in Bolton to Frederick Bolton, Nov. 13, 1896, Bolton Family Papers, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (hereafter cited as BFP).

(11) Francis G. Quinan, "In Memorium," Feb. 12, 1953, BP Out.

(12) Bolton to Frederick Bolton, Jan. 5, 1894, BFP. Theta Delta Chi now advertises that it does not discriminate on the basis of race or religion,; Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Campus Life: Undergraduate Cultures from the End of the Eighteenth Century to the Present (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 77, 82-83, 145-48.

(13) Bolton to Miss Weir, June 20, 1917, BP Out.

(14) Bolton to Thomas Marshall, Apr. 4, 1922, BP Out; Bolton to W. T. Root, July 2, 1926, BP Out. Bolton and Marshall collaborated on The Colonization of North America, 1492-1783 (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1920).

(15) Marshall to Bolton, July 15, 1925, Marshall, Folder 4, BP In.

(16) Bolton to Marshall, July 17, 1925, BP Out.

(17) Bolton to Root, July 2, 1926. This letter is representative of many that Bolton wrote for Nasatir.

(18) Arthur P. Whitaker to Bolton, July 3, 1927, BP In.

(19) Bolton to Whitaker, July 14, 1927, BP Out.

(20) Charles B. Leonard to Bolton, June 4, 1927, BP In; Bolton to E. L. Hardy, June 8, 1927, BP Out; Bolton to Clarence DuFour, July 11, 1927, BP Out; Bolton to Hardy, Nov. 29, 1927, BP Out.

(21) Published as Herbert E. Bolton, ed., Historical Memoirs of New California by Francisco Palou, 4 vols. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1926).

(22) Transcript [1923], Native Sons of the Golden West, BP In.

(23) See Ehrman, BP In; Bannon, Herbert Eugene Bolton, 171-74.

(24) A. R. Davis to Bolton, Dec. 30, 1926, BP In.

(25) Robert Gordon Sproul to Bolton, Oct. 12, 1938, California, University, President, BP In.

(26) Robert E. Lerner, "Ernst H. Kantorowicz," in Medieval Scholarship: Biographical Studies on the Formation of a Discipline, ed. Helen Damico and Joseph B. Zavadil, 3 vols. (New York: Garland Publishing, 1995), 1:263-76.

(27) Schevill quoted in Bolton to Sproul, June 27, 1939, BP Out.

(28) Lerner, "Kantorowicz."

(29) Bolton to Ernst Kantorowicz, July 24, 1939, BP Out.

(30) See Woodrow Borah to Bolton, June 28, 1939, BP In.

(31) Bolton to Kantorowicz, July 24, 1939.

(32) Bolton to Miss Schieber, May 8, 1920, BP Out.

(33) "Reply form," 1920, BP Out. Emphasis in original.

(34) Bolton to Monroe Deutsch, Aug. 14, 1939, BP Out; Sproul to Bolton, Aug. 30, 1939, BP In. Bolton to Sproul, Jan. 9, 1940, BP Out. Bolton's recommendations for hiring were in the form of eight letters to Sproul, all dated Jan. 9, 1940, BP Out.

(35) Bolton to Sproul, Apr. 15, 1940, BP Out.

(36) Bolton to Marten Ten Hoor, Apr. 2, 1941, BP Out.

(37) I have not located a letter of recommendation for Princeton, although it is likely that Bolton wrote one.

(38) Borah to Bolton, Oct. 15, 1941, BP In.

(39) Borah to Bolton, Feb. 9, 1942, BP In.

(40) Borah to Bolton, Mar. 29, 1946, BP In.

(41) Bolton to Davis, Aug. 3, 1948, BP Out. See also Bolton to W. O. Aydelotte, July 26, 1948, BP Out.

(42) Borah to Bolton, Aug. 24, 1948, BP In.

(43) Brucker, May, and Hollinger, History at Berkeley, 53.

(44) The statement is cited in full in David P. Gardner, The California Oath Controversy (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967), 34-36.

(45) Ibid., 265. Gardner's book is the most complete account of the loyalty oath.

(46) George R. Stewart, The Year of the Oath: The Fight for Academic Freedom at the University of California (Garden City, NY: Double-day, 1950), 9.

(47) Phillip Wayne Powell to Ray Billington, Feb. 12, 1951, Billington Papers, Mississippi Valley Historical Association, 1948-1960, Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

(48) Hurtado, "Herbert E. Bolton, Racism, and American History," 127-42.

(49) On this point, see Joshua Piker, "Lying Together: The Imperial Implications of Cross-Cultural Untruths, American Historical Review 116, no, 4 (Oct. 2011): 964-86.

ALBERT L. HURTADO is the Paul H. and Doris Eaton Travis Chair in American History and a scholar of Western and Native American History at the University of Oklahoma. He has published several books, scholarly articles, and book chapters, including Herbert Eugene Bolton: Historian of the American Borderlands (2012) and John Sutter: A Life on the North American Frontier (2006), which won the 2007 John Walton Caughey Book Prize from the Western History Association for the most distinguished book on the history of the American West.
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Author:Hurtado, Albert L.
Publication:California History
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Date:Mar 22, 2012
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