The Info List - James Westfall Thompson

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James Westfall Thompson (1869–1941) was an American historian specializing in the history of medieval and early modern Europe, particularly of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
and France. He also made noteworthy contributions to the history of literacy, libraries and the book trade in the Middle Ages. Born to a Dutch reform minister's family in Pella, Iowa, Thompson received an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University
Rutgers University
in 1892 and a PhD in history from the newly founded University of Chicago
University of Chicago
in 1895. Thompson remained at Chicago as a professor of history until 1933, when he left for the University of California, Berkeley. He remained at Berkeley until his death in 1941. Thompson was one of the most prolific academics of his generation and wrote on a wide range of subjects, from the French Revolution
French Revolution
to the economic structures of the Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
to the history of espionage in early modern Europe. Some of his most important scholarly contributions came from his research on literacy and book collecting. His 1939 book The Literacy
of the Laity in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
remains a classic study of the subject. Thompson's two-volume study of the social and economic history of medieval Germany, Feudal Germany, appropriated elements of Frederick Jackson Turner's famous Frontier Thesis and applied them to the colonization of Slavic central Europe by German settlers in the Middle Ages. Thompson served as president of the American Historical Association
American Historical Association
in 1941, but died before completing his term. His planned presidential address to the Association's annual meeting on the origins of critical historical scholarship in eighteenth-century France
was edited by his students and published posthumously in the 1942 edition of the American Historical Review. He is the namesake of the University of Chicago's Thompson Residence Hall, located in Pierce Tower. Bibliography[edit]

The editando of the French monarchy under Louis VI., le Gros, 1108-1137. Chicago, University of Chicago
University of Chicago
Press, 1895. The wars of religion in France, 1559-1576; the Huguenots, Catherine de' Medici and Philip II, by James Westfall Thompson. Chicago, The University of Chicago
University of Chicago
press, 1909. The Frankfort book fair; the Francofordiense emporium of Henri Estienne, ed. with historical introduction, original Latin text with English translation on opposite pages and notes, by James Westfall Thompson. Chicago, Caxton Club, 1911; Reprint, Amsterdam, G. Th. van Heusden, 1969. Russian diplomacy and the war, by James Westfall Thompson. Pub. under the auspices of the Germanistic society of Chicago: Chicago? 1915. The French revolution from 1789 to 1815, by François Auguste Marie Mignet. Edited, with additional chapter on the hundred days, by James Westfall Thompson. New York: Collier, c1916. The lost oracles; a masque, by James Westfall Thompson. Chicago, W. M. Mill, c1921. Feudal Germany, by James Westfall Thompson. 2 vols. Chicago, The University of Chicago
University of Chicago
press, 1928; Reprint, New York: F. Ungar Pub., 1962. Economic and social history of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
(300-1300), by James Westfall Thompson. New York, London, The Century Co., c1928. The Middle Ages, 300-1500, by James Westfall Thompson. 2 vols. New York, A. A. Knopf, 1931; 2d ed. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1972. The living past; politics-society-trade-art. Chicago: Thomas S. Rockwell Company, 1931. Byways in bookland, by James Westfall Thompson. Berkeley: The Book arts clubof the University of California, 1935. The dissolution of the Carolingian fisc in the ninth century, by James Westfall Thompson. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1935. Secret diplomacy; a record of espionage and double-dealing: 1500-1815, by J. W. Thompson & S.K. Padover; with 18 illustrations. London, Jarrolds, limited, 1937. The importance of libraries in the preservation of culture, by James Westfall Thompson. Baltimore: Enoch Pratt free library of Baltimore, 1937. An introduction to medieval Europe, 300-1500, by James Westfall Thompson ... & Edgar Nathaniel Johnson. New York: W. W. Norton & company, inc., c1937. European civilization; a political, social and cultural history, by James Westfall Thompson, Franklin Charles Palm, and John J. Van Nostrand. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, inc., 1939. The literacy of the laity in the Middle Ages, by James Westfall Thompson. New York: Burt Franklin, 1960. A history of historical writing, by James Westfall Thompson with the collaboration of Bernard J. Holm. 2 vols. Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smith, 1967. The letters and documents of Armand de Gontaut, baron de Biron, marshal of France
(1524-1592), collected by Sidney Hellman Ehrman, edited, with an introduction by James Westfall Thompson. 2 vols. New York: AMS Press, 1979. Medieval and historiographical essays in honor of James Westfall Thompson, edited by James Lea Cate and Eugene N. Anderson. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1966, c1938.

External links[edit]

Guide to the James Westfall Thompson Papers at The Bancroft Library A History of Historical Writing,Vol. II

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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 (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: 86577136 LCCN: n79106105 ISNI: 0000 0001 1030 4794 GND: 121047636 SUDOC: 032850883 BNF: cb12380052v (data) BNE: XX1022