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Richard Hofstadter

Born: 1916
Death: 1970

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.

He was known nationally and internationally as an "extraordinarily creative historian" and was "probably the most influential American historian of the 1950s and 1960s."¹

In 1956 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Reform and in 1964 for Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.

In 1936 Richard Hofstadter married Felice Swados whom he had met at the University at Buffalo. They had a son, Dan. Felice died of cancer in 1945. In 1947, he married Beatrice Kevitt who was also from Buffalo. They had a daughter, Sarah. Richard Hofstadter died from leukemia on October 24, 1970.

Readers are referred to the numerous biographical and bibliographical essays in collection 30/3/1377: The Richard Hofstadter papers, folder 1.3 for more detailed information.

¹ Fass, Paula S., "Richard Hofstadter" in Dictionary of Literary Biography: Twentieth Century American Historians (1983) at p.217

Affiliation(s): Alumnus
Record Group(s): 30
Biographical File Contains:
  • Obituary