CLASS OF 1942
Liz Jacobs Lizjacobs@aol.com
This response is slow in coming, because I don't think you will find it of much value as an incentive to your students. I can't point to demonstrated benefits of choosing to be a history major, but always I'll be glad that I had that enrichment. After graduation in June 1942, I returned home to suburban Washington, D. C., and, worked for the, then, War Department as a junior research analyst. Then the war was over, we married, and I've been housewife, mother, community volunteer, etc. ever since. The techniques of Dr. Wing are still with me - I use file cards for any listing, and do even guest lists for any sizeable party or fundraiser on them. Luckily, my husband was a history major also. Somehow, we are able to include a visit to some historical place as part of any trip we take. Colonial History was our favorite, and we were each lucky enough to study with Whit Bell.
Thank you for asking. I hope you'll receive more useful responses from others. I had planned to be a librarian, but wanting to be part of the War Effort changed that, and I didn't go on to graduate school for Library Science. Do today's students want their education to be "relevant", or do they find they want the adventure of exploring many avenues? (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1953
Donald Graves degraves@wizard.Net
I actually used my History Major throughout my entire career, but you have to consider also my other major--the Russian Panel.
I went to Harvard University on a fellowship in Sep 53 and had a Russian History major and minors in Russian Government and Russian Literature at the Russian Research Center. I got my M.A. in Jun 55.
After spending all of my money, I went to work in Washington, DC as a Russian- language analyst for the Foreign Documents Division of the CIA. There I rose to editor of the weekly Soviet Survey, an unclassified publication that went to several American universities, the government, news publications, and abroad. I still consider the Survey period one of the most satisfying activities of my career.
I went to the Propaganda Analysis Branch of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service in Sep 65, and in Oct 66 I was recruited by the chief of the Soviet Internal Affairs Section of the Soviet Office of the Bureau of Information and Research (INR) of the US State Department. Eventually, I became chief of the Internal Affairs Branch, and I served on occasion in the American Embassy in Moscow as chief of the Internal Section of the
Political Department. I served in the Moscow embassy in the summer of 1970 and again a full three winters in the Jan 74-Feb 76 period. I managed to visit 12 of the then republics of the USSR and, in sum, had a wonderful tour.
I lost the job that I had dedicated my life to in 1986 because my analysis showed that Gorbachev was unable to prevail against the powerful conservative forces in the Soviet party and Government. My Bureau chief did not want to take this message to the Secretary of State and the President because he knew it was unwelcome. Therefore, he transferred me without cause to a holding job doing academic analysis. I was recruited from there to an office which reported on Soviet active measures, an unexpectedly interesting job which, however, became irrelevant after the Soviet collapse of 1991.
I retired at the end of July 1992 at my wife's urging after 39 years of federal service.
In retirement, I continue to use my historical and language skills as the East European specialist of the Book Nook which runs the annual Goodwill book sale in Washington, DC. Also, I keep up reading tons of related stuff. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1954
Walter F. Cook firstname.lastname@example.org
Your question regarding the role of history in my life is an easy one to answer; I made my living from it. While at Dear Old Dickinson, I did my student teaching at Carlisle High in l954--the year I was graduated. Although the Korean War was over, I was drafted and served for two years in the U.S. Army. Even there my history and teaching background got me appointed troop Infrmation and Education NCO. After the Army, I got a job teaching history (Social Studies) in the Coatesville School District. Except for two years in Freeport, Long Island, I was in the Coatesville for 35 years, where I was Department chair for 20 years. I am now retired and continue reading--much of it is in History. I subsribe to the American Heritage and American History. I am actively involved in the Masonic Fraternity and am a past master and much more. I do some speaking in the Lodge especially on Masonic Presidents. While at Dickinson, my favorite professor was Dr. Whit Bell, who still lives, at least part-time in Carlisle. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1955
Richard J. Smethurst email@example.com
I am not sure what information you want of alumni for the home page, but let me send a bit. . . . University Center for International Studies Research Professor and Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh. Dickinson BA 1955, Michigan PhD in History, 1968. Chair of History Department, University of Pittsburgh, 1987-1991, 1992-94. Author of A Social Basis for Prewar Japanese Militarism; The Army and the Rural Community (California, 1974) and Agricultural Development and Tenancy Disputes in Japan, 1870-1940 (Princeton, 1986). I am currently writing a biography of Takahashi Korekiyo, "Japan's Keynes," who introduced countercyclical fiscal policies in Japan in 1932 and brought Japan out of the depression by 1935-and was assassinated by young army officers in 1936 for his opposition to militarism. I am currently in Tokyo on a Fulbright Fellowship. I am a visiting professor at Keio University and a research associate at the Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies at the Bank of Japan. (posted 2000)
CLASS OF 1959
Alan Smith Amsmith38@aol.com
In 1959, I graduated from Dickinson with a major in history. In that same year I enrolled in the graduate program in history at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1960, I received a masters in history with an emphasis in American History from Pitt. I then enrolled in the graduate program in history at the Johns Hopkins University, where I received my Ph.D. in 1967. My area of concentration was in Early American History, particularly 18th century Virginia. My dissertation was a study of the early development of the legal profession in Virginia. Much of my research was done at Colonial Williamsburg. In 1964, I joined the faculty at the California State University, Hayward, where I taught American history for the next thirteen years. In 1977, I was appointed dean of the School of Arts, Letters, and
Social Sciences at Cal State Hayward, and I served in that position for the next fifteen years, until I retired in 1992.
My undergraduate years as a history major at Dickinson really determined much of my life and career in the following years. My experiences as an undergraduate at Dickinson created for me a life long love of history. At Dickinson I had four teachers, each of whom taught me a great deal about the work of the historian and the craft of teaching. Prof. Flint Kellogg was the man who persuaded me to become a history major at Dickinson. He taught me to doubt what I read, to probe beneath the surface of events in order to find
their real significance, and to reject arguments which were based on authority without proof. Prof. John Pflaum was a masterful classroom performer, and I learned from him much that helped me to become a successful lecturer. Prof. Warren Gates was a careful student of American Social History who taught me the basics of historical criticism. Prof. Henry Young (who was the director of my senior thesis) helped me to develop an appetite
and a skill for historical research. It was he more than anyone else who persuaded me to go to graduate school and to pursue a career in college teaching. These four men did a remarkable job of preparing me for my career as a historian.
I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to say thank you to the history department of Dickinson College. You may post my email address. (posted 2000)