McCormick of Rutgers: Scholar, Teacher, Public Historian

By Michael J. Birkner | Go to book overview

Preface

Several years ago, over lunch with a more senior scholar who has written extensively on early republic politics, I expressed my intention to produce a book on Richard P. McCormick and his work. “Shouldn’t you spend your time writing History,” he observed, “instead of writing about historians?” Point taken; but as they have a way of doing, personal reasons impelled me forward. Having written History following the norms I imbibed from my teachers—among them, keep yourself out of your narrative—I have been intrigued by the increasing rejection, even within the academy, of detachment in History writing and the commonplace use of the first person pronoun in scholarly publications. This perception of a changing professional paradigm is shared by Michael Kammen, who recently noted that historians trained before the 1960s tended not to discuss their subjects with much sense of application to the present, much less inject themselves into their scholarship. Historians of McCormick’s vintage—even those with a pronounced liberal or conservative outlook on current affairs—did not reveal much about themselves, even when they wrote their memoirs. 1 E. H. Carr’s dictum that before studying History one must know something about the historian naturally was familiar to me. 2 But, in truth, I knew little of the personal lives of most scholars I admired. Of Rutgers University’s McCormick—a commanding figure in New Jersey studies

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McCormick of Rutgers: Scholar, Teacher, Public Historian
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Path to a Life with History 41
  • Chapter 2 - Revitalizing the Study of New Jersey History 61
  • Chapter 3 - Life at Rutgers: Doing Public History in the 1950s and 1960s 81
  • Chapter 4 - Championing a New Political History 109
  • Chapter 5 - The Turbulent ’60s at Rutgers 137
  • Chapter 6 - Doing History: Reflections 157
  • Notes 175
  • Selected Bibliography of Mccormick’s Publications 205
  • Bibliography 209
  • Index 219
  • Recent Titles in Studies in Historiography 231
  • About the Author 233
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