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Samuel Flagg Bemis (October 20, 1891 – September 26, 1973) was an American historian and biographer. For many years he taught at Yale University. He was also President of the American Historical Association and a specialist in American diplomatic history. He was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes. Jerald A. Combs says he was "the greatest of all historians of early American diplomacy." [1]

Contents

1 Biography 2 Scholarly impact 3 Awards and prizes 4 Bibliography 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Biography[edit] Bemis was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on what he remembered as "the wrong side of the hedge".[2] He received his B.A. degree in 1912 from Clark University. Influenced by George Hubbard Blakeslee of the Clark faculty, Bemis also acquired an A.M. from Clark the following year.[3] In 1916 he was granted his Ph.D. by Harvard University. He first taught at Colorado College
Colorado College
from 1917 to 1921.[4] From 1921 to 1923, he taught at Whitman College
Whitman College
in Walla Walla, Washington. In 1923–1924, he served as a research associate at the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Division of Historical Research. Bemis joined the faculty at George Washington University
George Washington University
in 1924, remaining there a decade, and accepted the history department's chairmanship in 1925. From 1927 to 1929, he led the Library of Congress's European Mission.[5] He left George Washington University
George Washington University
in 1934, first serving as lecturer at Harvard University
Harvard University
for the 1934–1935 academic year while James Phinney Baxter III was on research leave.[6] Then, in 1935, he took up his position at Yale University, where he remained through the end of his career. He was first the Farnham Professor of Diplomatic History and then in 1945 became the Sterling Professor of Diplomatic History and Inter-American Relations.[7][8][9] In 1958, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[10] He retired in 1960, and served as president of the American Historical Association in 1961. His presidential address for the AHA engaged the topic of "American Foreign Policy and the Blessings of Liberty".[11] He died in Bridgeport, Connecticut, aged 81. He originally supported the League of Nations
League of Nations
but after two decades changed his mind:

The League of Nations
League of Nations
has been a disappointing failure. ... It has been a failure, not because the United States
United States
did not join it; but because the great powers have been unwilling to apply sanctions except where it suited their individual national interests to do so, and because Democracy, on which the original concepts of the League rested for support, has collapsed over half the world.[12]

Scholarly impact[edit] Mark Gilderhus says Bemis was a "founding father" of the field of diplomatic history in the United States. His tone was nationalistic, typically blaming America's antagonists for conflicts, but he rose above jingoism and provided analysis which ran counter to State Department views. For Bemis, the great achievement US–Latin American relations was Franklin Roosevelt's Good Neighbor policy. He praised it for unifying the Pan American nations, along with the US leadership against Fascists and Nazis. During the Cold War, Bemis saw Latin America as a minor backwater of diplomacy.[13] Bemis was a strong writer, and his works attracted prizes for their quality. He also impressed upon his students the importance of good writing, a trend which they frequently passed down to their own students. He won the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
twice. Bemis's books include Jay's Treaty: A Study in Commerce and Diplomacy (1924 and later reprint editions), which won the Knights of Columbus Historical Prize. His Pinckney's Treaty: America's Advantage from Europe's Distress, 1783–1800 (1926) was the published version of the Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic History, and was the winner of the 1927 Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
for History. His other works include The Latin American Policy of the United States
United States
(1943) and The Diplomacy of the American Revolution (1935). His single greatest scholarly achievement was his two-volume life of John Quincy Adams. John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy (1949) won the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
for Biography or Autobiography in 1950; its sequel, John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
and the Union (1956), covered Adams's life from his Presidency through his second political career as a member of the United States
United States
House of Representatives from Massachusetts. Bemis's favorable view of Adams is distilled in his observation that Adams grasped "the essentials of American policy and the position of the United States
United States
in the world." His 18-volume series The American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy appeared first in ten volumes (published by Knopf in 1927–1929) covering Robert R. Livingston to Charles Evans Hughes. These were reprinted in 1958, and the success of the series prompted the creation of a further eight volumes, covering Frank B. Kellogg
Frank B. Kellogg
to Christian Herter, published through 1972.[14] He also authored a well-known textbook on diplomatic history that first appeared in 1936 and went through four revisions.[15] Awards and prizes[edit]

Knights of Columbus Historical Prize 1926 Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic History 1927 Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
for History 1950 Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
for Biography or Autobiography 1954 Guggenheim Fellowship for Creatives Arts-Biography[16] 1958 Elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Bibliography[edit]

Jay's Treaty: A Study in Commerce and Diplomacy (1923)[17] Pinckney's Treaty: America's Advantage from Europe's Distress, 1783–1800 (1926)[18] The American Secretaries of State and their Diplomacy (18 vols., 1927–1972)[19] The Hussey-Cumberland Mission and American Independence (1931)[20] The Diplomacy of the American Revolution. American Historical Association. 1935. [21] Guide to the Diplomatic History of the United States, 1775–1921 (with Grace Gardner Griffin) (1935, reprinted 1951)[22] A Diplomatic History of the United States
United States
(1936)[23] Early Diplomatic Missions from Buenos Aires to the United States, 1811–1824 (1940)[24] The Latin American Policy of the United States
United States
(1943)[21] John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy (1949)[25] John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
and the Union (1956)[26] "American Foreign Policy and the Blessings of Liberty", presidential address was delivered to the American Historical Association, December 29, 1961. American Historical Review 67#2 (January 1962): 291–305.

References[edit]

^ Jerald A. Combs, American diplomatic history: two centuries of changing interpretations (1983) p 156. ^ Combs, 'American diplomatic history (1983) p 156. ^ Russell H. Bostert and John A. DeNovo, "Samuel Flagg Bemis," Proceedings of the Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Historical Society vol. LXXXV (1973): 117 ^ Lester D. Langley, "The Diplomatic Historians: Bailey and Bemis," The History Teacher Vol. 6, No. 1 (November 1972): 60. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2013-03-16.  ^ "Bemis is Chosen History Lecturer Replacing Baxter," Harvard Crimson, April 20, 1934. ^ "Obituaries," Journal of American History, Vol. 60, No. 4 (March 1974): 1216–1217. ^ Heinz Dietrich Fischer and Erika J. Fischer, Complete biographical encyclopedia of Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
winners, 1917–2000 (Walter de Gruyter, 2002): 18. ^ Russell H. Bostert and John A. DeNovo, "Samuel Flagg Bemis," Proceedings of the Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Historical Society vol. LXXXV (1973): 117–129. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved June 2, 2011.  ^ " Samuel Flagg Bemis - AHA". Historians.org. Retrieved 11 August 2017.  ^ Quoted in Combs, p 158. ^ Gilderhus, 1997 ^ Bemis, "Preface to New Volumes," in Robert A. Ferrell, Frank B. Kellogg, Vol. XI, The American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy (New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1963): vii. ^ "Obituaries," Journal of American History, 1217 ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-04. Retrieved 2011-11-23.  ^ Bemis, Samuel Flagg (1923-01-01). Jay's Treaty: A Study in Commerce and Diplomacy. Macmillan.  ^ Samuel Flagg Bemis (1960-01-01). Pinckneys Treaty Americans Advantage From Europes Distress 1783–1800. Yale University Press.  ^ Bemis, Samuel Flagg; Ferrell, Robert H. The American Secretaries of State and their diplomacy. New York: Cooper Square Publishers.  ^ Bemis, Samuel F. (1987-06-01). The Hussey-Cumberland Mission and American Independence. Peter Smith Publisher, Incorporated. ISBN 9780844610696.  ^ a b Bemis, Samuel Flagg (1957-01-01). The diplomacy of the American Revolution. Indiana University Press.  ^ Bemis, Samuel Flagg; Griffin, Grace Gardner (1935-01-01). Guide to the Diplomatic History of the United States: 1775–1921. US Government Printing Office.  ^ Bemis, Samuel Flagg (1936). A Diplomatic History of the United States. Holt.  ^ Cabon, Adolphe; Bemis, Samuel Flagg (1940-01-01). Early diplomatic missions from Buenos Aires to the United States, 1811–1824.  ^ Bemis, Samuel Flagg (1981-01-01). John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy. Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313226366.  ^ Bemis, Samuel Flagg (1956). John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
and the Union. Knopf. 

Further reading[edit]

Gilderhus, Mark T. (1997). "Founding Father: Samuel Flagg Bemis and the Study of U.S.-Latin American Relations". Diplomatic History. 21 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1111/1467-7709.00048.  Wilson, Clyde N. (1983). Twentieth-Century American Historians. Dictionary of Literary Biography. 17. Gale. pp. 64–60.  Encyclopedia Americana
Encyclopedia Americana
(1969 ed.). p. 533. 

External links[edit]

Works by or about Samuel Flagg Bemis at Internet Archive Samuel Flagg Bemis at Find a Grave
Find a Grave

v t e

Presidents of the American Historical Association

1884–1900

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
(1900)

1901–1925

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
(1924-25)

1926–1950

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
(1950)

1951–1975

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)

1976–2000

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
(2000)

2001–Present

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)

v t e

Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
for History (1926–1950)

Edward Channing (1926) Samuel Flagg Bemis (1927) Vernon Louis Parrington
Vernon Louis Parrington
(1928) Fred Albert Shannon (1929) Claude H. Van Tyne (1930) Bernadotte E. Schmitt (1931) John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
(1932) Frederick J. Turner (1933) Herbert Agar (1934) Charles McLean Andrews
Charles McLean Andrews
(1935) Andrew C. McLaughlin
Andrew C. McLaughlin
(1936) Van Wyck Brooks
Van Wyck Brooks
(1937) Paul Herman Buck (1938) Frank Luther Mott (1939) Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg
(1940) Marcus Lee Hansen (1941) Margaret Leech (1942) Esther Forbes (1943) Merle Curti (1944) Stephen Bonsal
Stephen Bonsal
(1945) Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
(1946) James Phinney Baxter III (1947) Bernard DeVoto
Bernard DeVoto
(1948) Roy Franklin Nichols (1949) Oliver W. Larkin (1950)

Complete list (1917–1925) (1926–1950) (1951–1975) (1976–2000) (2001–2025)

v t e

Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
for Biography or Autobiography (1926–1950)

Harvey Cushing
Harvey Cushing
(1926) Emory Holloway (1927) Charles Edward Russell
Charles Edward Russell
(1928) Burton J. Hendrick (1929) Marquis James
Marquis James
(1930) Henry James (1931) Henry F. Pringle (1932) Allan Nevins
Allan Nevins
(1933) Tyler Dennett (1934) Douglas S. Freeman
Douglas S. Freeman
(1935) Ralph Barton Perry (1936) Allan Nevins
Allan Nevins
(1937) Odell Shepard/ Marquis James
Marquis James
(1938) Carl Van Doren (1939) Ray Stannard Baker
Ray Stannard Baker
(1940) Ola Elizabeth Winslow (1941) Forrest Wilson (1942) Samuel Eliot Morison
Samuel Eliot Morison
(1943) Carleton Mabee (1944) Russel Blaine Nye (1945) Linnie Marsh Wolfe (1946) William Allen White
William Allen White
(1947) Margaret Clapp
Margaret Clapp
(1948) Robert E. Sherwood
Robert E. Sherwood
(1949) Samuel Flagg Bemis (1950)

Complete list (1917–1925) (1926–1950) (1951–1975) (1976–2000) (2001–2025)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 37817131 LCCN: n80013006 ISNI: 0000 0001 1055 8890 GND: 123103010 SUDOC: 059058137 BIBSYS: 2106221 NDL: 00519943 NKC: uk2017952139 BNE: XX1297

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