Hofstadter, Richard, 1916-1970

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1916-08-06
Death 1970-10-24
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Historian.

From the description of Reminiscences of Richard Hofstadter : oral history, 1968. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 86158429

From the description of Reminiscences of Richard Hofstadter : oral history, 1968. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 86100453

Richard Hofstadter was born in Buffalo, New York, on August 6, 1916. He attended Buffalo public schools and received his B.A. from the University of Buffalo in 1937. He went on to Columbia to study law but changed course and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in History in 1938 and 1942, respectively. He taught at the University of Maryland from 1942 to 1946 when he joined the History faculty at Columbia. He was promoted to full professor in 1952 and in 1959 was named De Witt Clinton Professor of History. Hofstadter wrote some of the most influential books to appear in American political and cultural history, among them "The Age of Reform" (1955) and "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life" (1963), both recognized with Pulitzer Prizes, and the celebrated "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" (1965). His "American Political Tradition (1948) remains today a standard work in both college and high-school history classes. Richard Hofstadter died on October 24, 1970.

From the description of Richard Hofstadter papers, 1918-2006. (SUNY at Buffalo). WorldCat record id: 714833003

The historian Richard Hofstadter was a core member of the group of postwar Columbia intellectuals that included Lionel Trilling, Jacques Barzun, Robert Merton, and Daniel Bell. At a time when politics were assumed essentially to reflect economic interests, Hofstadter began studying alternative explanations for political conduct: unconscious motives, status anxieties, irrational hatreds, paranoia. Hofstadter wrote some of the most influential books to appear in American political and cultural history, among them "The Age of Reform" (1955) and "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life" (1963), both recognized with Pulitzer Prizes, and the celebrated "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" (1965). His "American Political Tradition (1948), an enduring classic, remains today a standard work in both college and high-school history classes and has been read by millions outside the academy.

After earning his MA and PhD from Columbia, Hofstadter joined the faculty in 1946. He was named the DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History in 1959 and remained at the University until his untimely death from leukemia in 1970. Many of Hofstadter's graduate students have gone on to important scholarship and teaching. One of them, Eric Foner, the current DeWitt Clinton Professor, says, "He played brilliantly the role of intellectual mentor so critical to any student's graduate career. For all his accomplishments, he was utterly without pretension, always unintimidating, never too busy to talk about one's work." In 1968, following the campus disruptions that spring, Hofstadter delivered the commencement address, in which he defended Columbia as "a center of free inquiry and criticism--a thing not to be sacrificed for anything else."

From the description of Richard Hofstadter papers, 1944-1970. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 496102665

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Subjects:

  • Students--Political activity
  • History--Research
  • Historiography
  • Student movements
  • Sociology--History
  • History--Study and teaching
  • Social evolution
  • Politics, Practical
  • Public opinion
  • Historians--Interviews
  • Right and left (Political science)
  • Educator--Interviews
  • Academic freedom--History
  • Intellectual life--History
  • Education, Higher--History
  • Progressivism (United States politics)
  • Intellectuals

Occupations:

  • College teachers
  • Educators
  • Historians
  • Authors

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)