Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Obituary. (Historical News and Notices)

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Obituary. (Historical News and Notices)

Article excerpt

The loss of Peter Parish in May 2002 deprived southern history of a significant exponent and British Americanists of a much-loved father figure. As a historian, his American Civil War (New York, 1975) still stands as the fullest single-volume treatment, remarkable for its graceful writing, easy coturnand of complex detail, clear structure, and balanced judgments. His Slavery: History and Historians (New York, 1989) takes an incisive and dispassionate view of the subject--in a way, some said, that no American could quite have managed. In addition to his editorial work, he produced a myriad of graceful, accessible, and witty lectures and papers, most of them for British audiences of different kinds and not as yet published. In recognition of his contributions, the Executive Council of the Southern Historical Association last spring passed a resolution honoring him, but sadly, he died the following day, before the Certificate of Appreciation could reach him.

The son of an Essex schoolmaster, Peter entered on graduate work at his alma mater, University College London, in 1952, spent a year at Bowdoin College, Maine, and then became a cataloguer at Manchester University Library. In 1958 he at last secured an academic post at the University of Glasgow, where he devoted himself primarily to teaching, though he enjoyed a year's ACLS fellowship at Johns Hopkins in 1963-64. Then the warm reception that greeted his marvelous American Civil War on both sides of the Atlantic transformed his career. In 1976 he was appointed to a chair at the University of Dundee, where he also served as dean. In 1977 he was elected chairman of the British Association for American Studies, and in three years he demonstrated on a national stage his diplomatic, executive, and communication skills in advancing the subject and developing Anglo American interchanges.

In 1983 Peter became director of the Institute of U. …

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