Skip to main content

Becoming Historians

In this unique collection, the memoirs of eleven historians provide a fascinating portrait of a formative generation of scholars. Born around the time of World War II, these influential historians came of age just before the upheavals of the 1960s and ’70s and helped to transform both their discipline and the broader world of American higher education. The self-inventions they thoughtfully chronicle led, in many cases, to the invention of new fields—including women’s and gender history, social history, and public history—that cleared paths in the academy and made the study of the past more capacious and broadly relevant. In these stories—skillfully compiled and introduced by James Banner and John Gillis—aspiring historians will find inspiration and guidance, experienced scholars will see reflections of their own dilemmas and struggles, and all readers will discover a rare account of how today’s seasoned historians embarked on their intellectual journeys.

Table of Contents



                                    James M. Banner, Jr., and John R. Gillis

Chapter 1

Toward Ethnographic History: Figures in the Landscape, Action in the Texts

                                    Rhys Isaac

Chapter 2

Finding Critical History

                                    Joan Wallach Scott

Chapter 3

The Long Way from Euterpe to Clio

                                    Dwight T. Pitcaithley

Chapter 4

History Constructs a Historian

                                    Linda Gordon

Chapter 5

Church People and Others

                                    David A. Hollinger

Chapter 6


                                    Maureen Murphy Nutting

Chapter 7


                                    John R Gillis

Chapter 8

A Caribbean Quest for the Muse of History

                                    Franklin W. Knight

Chapter 9

My Way

                                    Temma Kaplan

Chapter 10

Becoming a Gay Historian

                                    Paul Robinson

Chapter 11

Historian, Improvised

                                    James M. Banner, Jr.

List of Contributors

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press