Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

In Memoriam: Willard H. Smith, 1900-1998

Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

In Memoriam: Willard H. Smith, 1900-1998

Article excerpt

With fond memories we note the passing of a fine scholar and supporter of THE MENNONITE QUARTERLY REVIEW, Willard H. Smith, Professor Emeritus of American History and Government at Goshen College. Born into an Amish-Mennonite home and community in the Eureka-Roanoke area of Illinois in 1900, Smith began teaching at Goshen in 1929 and received his doctorate from Indiana University in 1939. Among his broad interests was one in Latin America, which he shared with his wife, Verna Graber Smith, a professor of Spanish at Goshen. With that interest he taught courses in Latin American history, and the couple performed two terms of service for Mennonite Central Committee: one in Paraguay 1944-1945, primarily directing programs relating to Mennonite colonies in that country; a second at Cuauhtemoc, Mexico in 1954-1955, administering drought relief and other services for Old Colony and other Mennonites there.

Smith's major lifetime research interest was the prominent Progressive-era American political leader William Jennings Bryan, especially Bryan's combination of evangelical faith and progressive social and economic ideas, including some pacifism. Smith published numerous articles on Bryan, including one in The Journal of American History and another in the Journal of Negro History, He collected some of the articles into a book, The Social and Religious Thought of William Jennings Bryan (1975). …

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