Lewis L. Gould
any historians combine excellent scholarship with outstanding teaching, but few have been able to transform their major field of study through both their own writings and the impact of the books and articles of their students. Howard Roberts Lamar has performed that double feat for the history of the American West. He stands as both an inheritor of the tradition of Frederick Jackson Turner and the godfather of the “New Western History” that rejects so much of Turner's intellectual legacy. That Lamar has been both a conservator of the grand tradition of western history and an iconoclast for an often dormant field attests to his central place in determining how the American western experience has been studied and understood during the second half of the twentieth century.
A native of Alabama, Lamar was born in Tuskegee on November 18, 1923, one of two sons of John Howard Lamar and Elma Roberts Lamar. His father raised cotton on the family farm and built highways for the county. After difficult times in the Depression, the Lamars prospered during the 1940s.
Howard Lamar grew up in an atmosphere suffused with history. He was aware of the distinguished heritage of the Lamar family, which included two members of the United States Supreme Court, Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar and Joseph Rucker Lamar, and the second president of the Republic of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar. An intellectually inclined aunt and two grandmothers dedicated to historical study also influenced the young Lamar. 1.
Educated at Tuskegee High School, Lamar attended Emory University____________________