The Info List - James Harvey Robinson

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James Harvey Robinson
James Harvey Robinson
(June 29, 1863 in Bloomington, Illinois
Bloomington, Illinois
– February 16, 1936 in New York City)[1] was an American historian, who co-founded New History, which greatly broadened the scope of historical scholarship in relation to the social sciences. Jay Green concludes:

From his innovations in historical methodology and research to his revisions of secondary and undergraduate pedagogy, Robinson endeavored to reform the modern study of history, making it relevant and useful to contemporary peoples. A quintessential Progressive, he combined astute in erudite thinking with a penchant for activism in order to challenge his professional colleagues' "obsolete" conception of history and to demonstrate written history's potential for inspiring social improvement.[2]


1 Biography 2 New History 3 European history textbooks 4 The Mind in the Making 5 The Human Comedy 6 Notable quotations 7 Works 8 Notes 9 Further reading 10 External links

Biography[edit] Robinson was born in Bloomington, Illinois, the son of a bank president. After traveling to Europe in 1882 and returning to work in his father's bank, Robinson entered Harvard University
Harvard University
in 1884, earning his M.A. in 1888 before returning to Europe. After further study at the University of Strasbourg
University of Strasbourg
and the University of Freiburg, he received his Ph.D. at Freiburg in 1890, and began teaching European history at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
in 1891, moving to Columbia University in 1895–1919, becoming a full professor in 1895. He trained numerous graduate students who went on to professorships around the United States. Following a series of faculty departures from Columbia in disputes about academic freedom, including that of his friend Charles A. Beard, Robinson resigned from Columbia in May 1919[3] to become one of the founders of the New School for Social Research and serve as its first director. Robinson died in New York City. New History[edit] Through his writings and lectures, in which he stressed the "new history"—the social, scientific, and intellectual progress of humanity rather than merely political happenings, Robinson exerted an important influence on the study and teaching of history. An editor (1892–95) of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, he was also an associate editor (1912–20) of the American Historical Review, and president in 1929 of the American Historical Association. European history textbooks[edit] Robinson's An Introduction to the History of Western Europe (1902, followed by several editions) was "The first textbook on European history which was reliable in scholarship, lively in tone, and penetrating in its interpretations. It revolutionized the teaching of European history and put a whole generation of history students and history teachers in debt to the author." (Harry Elmer Barnes)[4] The Mind in the Making[edit] Robinson's book The Mind in the Making: The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform (1921), was a bestseller, introducing a generation of readers to the intellectual world of higher education; it argues for freedom of thought as essential to progress. The Human Comedy[edit] Robinson's last book The Human Comedy: As Devised and Directed by Mankind Itself (1937) contains his mature reflections on history after a lifetime of study. From Chapter 1: "It is a poor technic when attempting to convert one's neighbor to attack his beliefs directly, especially those of the sacred variety. We may flatter outselves that we are undermining them by our potent reasoning only to find that we have shored them up so that they are firmer than ever. Often history will work where nothing else will. It very gently modifies one's attitude. Refutations are weak compared with its mild but potent operation. To become historically-minded is to be grown-up." From Chapter 2: "It is true that biologists have, many of them, given up what they call 'Darwinism'; they have surrendered Spencer's notion of the hereditary transmission of acquired characters, and they even use the word 'evolution' timidly and with many reservations. But this does not mean that they have any doubts that mankind is a species of animal, sprung in some mysterious and as yet unexplained manner from extinct wild creatures of the forests and plains." Notable quotations[edit] "We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves filled with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship." "In its amplest meaning history includes every trace and vestige of everything that man has done or thought since first he appeared on the earth." "History... may be regarded as an artificial extension and broadening of our memories and may be used to overcome the natural bewilderment of all unfamiliar situations." Works[edit]

Petrarch, the First Modern Scholar and Man of Letters, New York: G.P. Putman, 1898 online edition An Introduction to the History of Western Europe, 1902 online edition The Fall of Rome: Some Current Misapprehensions in Regard to the Process of Dissolution of the Roman Empire. , 1907 online edition The New History: Essays Illustrating the Modern Historical Outlook. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 online edition Outlines of European History (with James Henry Breasted
James Henry Breasted
and Charles A. Beard), 1914 online edition History of Europe: Ancient and Medieval (with James Henry Breasted)), 1920 online edition History of Europe: Our Own Times: The Eighteenth and Eineteenth Centuries: The Opening of the Twentieth Century and the World War (with Charles A. Beard). Boston: Ginn and Co., 1921 online edition The Mind in the Making: The Relation of Intelligence to Social Reform, 1921. Intro. by H.G. Wells. Revised edition 1923. online edition The Humanizing of Knowledge, New York: George H. Doran Co., 1923 online edition The Ordeal of Civilization: A Sketch of the Development and World-Wide Diffusion of Our Present-Day Institutions, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1926 (reissued as The Story of Our Civilization) Civilization, London and New York: Encyclopædia Britannica Company, 1929 The Story of Our Civilization, New York: William H. Wise & Co., 1934 (formerly entitled The Ordeal of Civilization) The Human Comedy: As Devised and Directed by Mankind Itself, with an introduction by Harry Elmer Barnes, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1937 online edition


^ www.britannica.com ^ Green, Jay D. "Robinson, James Harvey" (1999) ^ The New York Times: History Professor Quits at Columbia, May 6, 1919 ^ Intro. to The Human Comedy, 1937, p. ix

Further reading[edit]

Barnes, Harry Elmer. "James Harvey Robinson" in Howard Odum, ed., American Masters of Social Science (1926) Green, Jay D. "Robinson, James Harvey" in Kelly Boyd, ed. (1999). Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing, vol 2. Taylor & Francis. pp. 998–999. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Hendricks, Luther Virgil. James Harvey Robinson: Teacher of History (King's Crown Press, 1946). Mattson, Kevin. "The Challenges of Democracy: James Harvey Robinson, the New History, and Adult Education for Citizenship." Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
Progressive Era
2#1 (2003): 48-79. Whelan, Michael. "James Harvey Robinson, the new history, and the 1916 social studies report." History Teacher 24.2 (1991): 191-202. in JSTOR

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: James Harvey Robinson

Works written by or about James Harvey Robinson
James Harvey Robinson
at Wikisource http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/that-noble-dream/ Works by James Harvey Robinson
James Harvey Robinson
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about James Harvey Robinson
James Harvey Robinson
at Internet Archive

v t e

Presidents of the American Historical Association


Andrew Dickson White
Andrew Dickson White
(1884-85) George Bancroft
George Bancroft
(1886) Justin Winsor
Justin Winsor
(1887) William Frederick Poole
William Frederick Poole
(1888) Charles Kendall Adams
Charles Kendall Adams
(1889) John Jay (1890) William Wirt Henry (1891) James Burrill Angell
James Burrill Angell
(1892-93) Henry Adams
Henry Adams
(1893-94) George Frisbie Hoar
George Frisbie Hoar
(1895) Richard Salter Storrs
Richard Salter Storrs
(1896) James Schouler (1897) George Park Fisher (1898) James Ford Rhodes
James Ford Rhodes
(1899) Edward Eggleston
Edward Eggleston


Charles Francis Adams Jr.
Charles Francis Adams Jr.
(1901) Alfred Thayer Mahan
Alfred Thayer Mahan
(1902) Henry Charles Lea
Henry Charles Lea
(1903) Goldwin Smith
Goldwin Smith
(1904) John Bach McMaster
John Bach McMaster
(1905) Simeon Eben Baldwin
Simeon Eben Baldwin
(1906) J. Franklin Jameson (1907) George Burton Adams (1908) Albert Bushnell Hart
Albert Bushnell Hart
(1909) Frederick Jackson Turner
Frederick Jackson Turner
(1910) William Milligan Sloane
William Milligan Sloane
(1911) Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
(1912) William Archibald Dunning (1913) Andrew C. McLaughlin
Andrew C. McLaughlin
(1914) H. Morse Stephens
H. Morse Stephens
(1915) George Lincoln Burr
George Lincoln Burr
(1916) Worthington C. Ford (1917) William Roscoe Thayer
William Roscoe Thayer
(1918-19) Edward Channing (1920) Jean Jules Jusserand
Jean Jules Jusserand
(1921) Charles Homer Haskins
Charles Homer Haskins
(1922) Edward Potts Cheyney
Edward Potts Cheyney
(1923) Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
(1924) Charles McLean Andrews
Charles McLean Andrews


Dana Carleton Munro
Dana Carleton Munro
(1926) Henry Osborn Taylor (1927) James Henry Breasted
James Henry Breasted
(1928) James Harvey Robinson
James Harvey Robinson
(1929) Evarts Boutell Greene (1930) Carl L. Becker (1931) Herbert Eugene Bolton
Herbert Eugene Bolton
(1932) Charles A. Beard
Charles A. Beard
(1933) William Dodd (1934) Michael Rostovtzeff
Michael Rostovtzeff
(1935) Charles Howard McIlwain (1936) Guy Stanton Ford (1937) Laurence M. Larson (1938) William Scott Ferguson (1939) Max Farrand
Max Farrand
(1940) James Westfall Thompson (1941) Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. (1942) Nellie Neilson (1943) William Linn Westermann
William Linn Westermann
(1944) Carlton J. H. Hayes (1945) Sidney Bradshaw Fay (1946) Thomas J. Wertenbaker
Thomas J. Wertenbaker
(1947) Kenneth Scott Latourette
Kenneth Scott Latourette
(1948) Conyers Read (1949) Samuel Eliot Morison
Samuel Eliot Morison


Robert Livingston Schuyler (1951) James G. Randall (1952) Louis R. Gottschalk (1953) Merle Curti (1954) Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
(1955) Dexter Perkins (1956) William L. Langer (1957) Walter Prescott Webb
Walter Prescott Webb
(1958) Allan Nevins
Allan Nevins
(1959) Bernadotte Everly Schmitt (1960) Samuel Flagg Bemis (1961) Carl Bridenbaugh (1962) Crane Brinton (1963) Julian P. Boyd (1964) Frederic C. Lane (1965) Roy Franklin Nichols (1966) Hajo Holborn (1967) John K. Fairbank (1968) C. Vann Woodward
C. Vann Woodward
(1969) Robert Roswell Palmer (1970) David M. Potter (1971) Joseph Strayer (1971) Thomas C. Cochran (1972) Lynn Townsend White Jr. (1973) Lewis Hanke (1974) Gordon Wright (1975)


Richard B. Morris (1976) Charles Gibson (1977) William J. Bouwsma (1978) John Hope Franklin (1979) David H. Pinkney (1980) Bernard Bailyn (1981) Gordon A. Craig
Gordon A. Craig
(1982) Philip D. Curtin (1983) Arthur S. Link (1984) William H. McNeill (1985) Carl Neumann Degler (1986) Natalie Zemon Davis
Natalie Zemon Davis
(1987) Akira Iriye (1988) Louis R. Harlan (1989) David Herlihy (1990) William Leuchtenburg (1991) Frederic Wakeman (1992) Louise A. Tilly (1993) Thomas C. Holt (1994) John Henry Coatsworth (1995) Caroline Bynum (1996) Joyce Appleby (1997) Joseph C. Miller (1998) Robert Darnton
Robert Darnton
(1999) Eric Foner
Eric Foner


William Roger Louis (2001) Lynn Hunt (2002) James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson
(2003) Jonathan Spence (2004) James J. Sheehan
James J. Sheehan
(2005) Linda K. Kerber (2006) Barbara Weinstein (2007) Gabrielle M. Spiegel (2008) Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
(2009) Barbara D. Metcalf (2010) Anthony Grafton
Anthony Grafton
(2011) William Cronon
William Cronon
(2012) Kenneth Pomeranz
Kenneth Pomeranz
(2013) Jan E. Goldstein (2014) Vicki L. Ruiz (2015) Patrick Manning (2016) Tyler E. Stovall (2017) Mary Beth Norton (2018)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 15523655 LCCN: n50048998 ISNI: 0000 0001 0956 4660 GND: 116577789 SELIBR: 327551 SUDOC: 079932460 NLA: 35456991 NDL: 00525