An American Historian in The American Century (1948-1963)


An American Historian in The American Century (1948-1963)


This collection includes information about the fifteen-year period of Hofstadter's career when his fame as an historian and public intellectual was at its apex. In this period of profound economic growth and domestic political stability, intellectuals more generally became established in positions of unprecedented security and influence, as government agencies, universities, and major research institutions sought their expertise. This phase of the Cold War also saw the United States, as a newly emergent superpower, extend its military power and political influence abroad. Domestically, fear of Communist subversion and foreign influence drove a new right-wing politics, known as McCarthyism, that would become a perennial preoccupation of Hofstadter's for many years.

During the years covered in this collection, Hofstadter resided in New York City and taught at Columbia University. Items featured here include images and documents relating to his scholarship in this period, especially The Age of Reform (1955), as well as an unpublished work of political criticism from the late 1940s entitled "The New Deal and American Liberalism," and personal correspondence with other leading scholars and intellectuals. This collection will be of particular relevance to those who are interested in the evolution of Hofstadter's political views, his use of the social sciences, and his controversial interpretation of the populist movement.


Richard Hofstadter Estate. Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York

Collection Items

The New Deal and American Liberalism
Full text of an unpublished essay that Richard Hofstadter wrote around 1950, entitled "The New Deal and American Liberalism." Scroll down to "Document Viewer" to browse.

President Harry S. Truman Signing National Security Act Amendment of 1949
President Harry S. Truman, with military advisors, signing the National Security Act Amendment of 1949. Under his administration, military operations were expanded and consolidated into a single, unified Department of Defense.

Eric L. McKitrick's notes for The Age of Reform
Notes taken by Eric L. McKitrick for Richard Hofstadter's The Age of Reform.

Coin's Financial School
This cartoon depicting the extent of the Rothschild family's control of the global economy was published in the Populist author William Hope Harvey's 1894 book, Coin's Financial School.

Pulitzer Prize recognition
Certificate from Columbia University in recognition of Richard Hofstadter's 1956 Pulitzer Prize, which was awarded for The Age of Reform.

The Age of Reform, Japanese edition
Japanese edition of Richard Hofstadter's Age of Reform, printed in 1967.

Reviews of The Age of Reform
A selection of reviews of Richard Hofstadter's Pullitzer Prize-winning 1955 book, The Age of Reform, from assorted publications across the United States.

Research Proposal, early 1950s
Research proposal sent by Richard Hofstadter to the Council for Research in the Social Sciences for a project to be called "The Significance of Status in American History."

Lecture Programs and Announcements, 1950s-1960s
An assortment of programs and announcements of lectures given by Richard Hofstadter between 1955 and 1969.

Authors Guild membership card, 1966
Richard Hofstadter's Authors Guild membership card, 1966.

Current Biography profile
Profile of Richard Hofstadter in Current Biography, October 1956.

The American Republic: illustrations
Illustrations from promotional materials for The American Republic, a history textbook by Richard Hofstadter, Daniel Aaron, and William Miller.

Das Land Lincolns
Lecture by Richard Hofstadter translated into German for a radio broadcast on Westdeutscher Rundfunk, December 4, 1959. Published by Amerika-Haus Köln, February 1960).

Richard Hofstadter Discussing Thomas Cole, 1954
Audio recording of Richard Hofstadter discussing the nineteenth-century American landscape painter Thomas Cole on a 1964 broadcast of a radio program entitled "Perspectives in American Art." On the program, Hofstadter describes a work painted by Cole…

List of Historians Who Marched From Selma to Montgomery
A list of American historians who participated in the historic march for African-American civil rights in Alabama, March 25, 1965

Statement on Loyalty Oaths, 1960
A statement by Richard Hofstadter declaring his opposition to student loyalty oaths, 1960. Also included is a copy of a loyalty oath form, which was required as part of the National Defense Education Act of 1958.

Reviews of Anti-Intellectualism in American Life
Reviews of Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter.

Correspondence with C. Vann Woodward
Correspondence between Richard Hofstadter and historian C. Vann Woodward regarding a draft of Hofstadter's book, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, May 1962.

The Genteel Reformers
"Idealists and Professors and Sore-heads," an article by Richard Hofstadter that appeared in Columbia University Forum, Spring 1962.

Anti-Intellectualism notebook
Composition notebook containing notes for Richard Hofstadter's 1963 book, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.

Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards
Photograph of Richard Hofstadter with the other recipients of the 1963 Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards. Hofstadter won for Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.
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