McCormick of Rutgers: Scholar, Teacher, Public Historian

By Michael J. Birkner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6

Doing History: Reflections

MB: Let’s talk more about doing History. The first thing is, can you tell me some of the range of things you taught? Was New Jersey History part of your repertoire?

RM: When I joined the teaching staff at Rutgers in 1945, the standard teaching load was twelve hours a week—four courses. Of course in those days we had classes six days a week…. During the first five years I taught the American history survey, Latin American history, recent American history, and, starting in February of 1948, New Jersey history. It wasn’t until we got into the 1950s—I can’t give you a precise date—that graduate work began to play a significant role in the life of the department. But when it did, I gave one of what we called our “Problems” courses. I gave it on Saturday morning, to a fairly large number of graduate students, most of whom were going for master’s degrees, many of them teachers in the area, which covered American history from the Revolution to the Civil War. Then, as things developed within a few years, I began giving a graduate seminar, usually in alternate years, there was no precise formula. That related definitely to the Jacksonian period.

Then in the seventies, we introduced junior seminars. The idea was for history majors to take a one-semester junior seminar in which they would be introduced to hands-on research. I found that

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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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