Introduction: How To Use This Website
Welcome to "Richard Hofstadter at 100," an online exhibition that explores the life, work, and legacy of American historian Richard Hofstadter, on the centenary of his birth, through audio clips, images of archival materials, and interpretive essays accompanying these artifacts.
There are two principal ways for viewers to navigate this website. One method is to follow the chronological narrative outlined in the sidebar that appears at the right side of your screen. (If this sidebar fails to appear, viewers can always click the "Home" button at the top of the page). This narrative is divided up into chapters, with sub-sections (and, in some instances, additional sub-sections that delve into specific documents). Because the interpretive text that makes up the bulk of each section includes biographical and other historical information, the format of this presentation enables viewers to look at selected images in context. These images will appear as thumbnails, but clicking on a thumbnail image will redirect viewers to a page with more information about that specific item, and more importantly, it will enable them to see a blown-up (hence, more easily readable) version.
The second method is to browse collections (viewers can access this option from the "Home" screen). The names of each collection mirror those of the different chapters, but not all of the items within these collections appear as thumbnails accompanying the chronological narrative on this site. Therefore, viewers who wish to see all of the content that is included in this exhibition should browse these collections (or browse specific items, which in some instances feature clusters of several discrete but related files) and follow the narrative.
While most of the items included here are drawn from the Richard Hofstadter Papers at Columbia University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library, several have been obtained from webpages and from other archival institutions around the United States. Some of these items are unpublished works that should provide interested readers with new insight into Hofstadter's thinking. There are many examples of this from which to choose, but two full-length essays in particular deserve special mention here: "The New Deal and American Liberalism," which is written about in the section under the same title; and the expanded introduction to The American Political Tradition, which also has its own dedicated section in the narrative portion of this website.
This online exhibition is intended to be a resource for educators, researchers, and the general public. The interpretive text is designed to further understanding of the materials on this website for audiences both familiar and unfamiliar with Richard Hofstadter's writings, and with the times in which he wrote. Viewers are encouraged to use these materials, so long as they cite properly.
Finally, this website was prepared by Benjamin Serby in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed herein are solely the author's own.