Clio's Favorites: Leading Historians of the United States, 1945-2000

By Robert Allen Rutland | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Richard Hofstadter

Jack Pole

alking away from the Columbia University campus, soon after crossing Broadway you come to Claremont Avenue, where, at No. 25, Richard Hofstadter did most of his work. The internal arrangement of the (rent-supported) apartment was symbolically and literally characteristic of the man and his method; the living room, which looked down onto the avenue, was divided only by a long settee. In front was the general living area; behind, the wide desk and book-lined shelves: the study. This spatial plan was more than symbolic; it was how Richard Hofstadter lived. Not until he reached his early fifties did he move to the East Side and acquire the symbolic luxury of a separate study. The move would be a sign of deeper changes.

Through his most productive period, the historian's work shared its space with that of his daily life. Hofstadter loved company and joined in the after-dinner social life, indulging in irreverent mimicry, throwing out aphorisms in which penetrating observation was often wrapped in verbal wit, always listening attentively to others, conversing joyously with Gustin (for Augustin, and pronounced as in French), his much loved little terrier. His conversation, usually animated, often hilarious, but seldom merely frivolous, was, for an academic, singularly devoid of small talk; there was always much to say and hear. But late at night, when all the others had gone to bed, he passed behind the settee, sat down again at his desk, and began (or resumed) his long day's work. He was frequently there at three or four in the morning, and asleep while others began breakfast. Of course this was not his only working space. The American Political Tradition was begun at the University of Maryland, at the bedside of his first wife, who was dying of cancer; later, whenever they went on holiday to their retreat in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, or even to the Caribbean, until the end of his own foreshortened life, he always took work with him.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Clio's Favorites: Leading Historians of the United States, 1945-2000


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 191

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?