James F. McMillan, Scottish historian of France, dies at 61





PROFESSOR James F McMillan, Richard Pares Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh, has died at the age of 61. He was an outstanding scholar, an inspirational teacher, a brilliant academic manager and a wonderful colleague: the word "collegial" might have been coined to describe him.

His death robs the historical profession of a bright star whose warmth and humanity won him so many friends, in Edinburgh and many other places.

Jim McMillan showed early promise as a dux medallist at St Mirin's School in his home town of Paisley. He went on to the University of Glasgow and in 1969 emerged as the top Modern History graduate in his year. He then proceeded to Balliol College, Oxford, where he completed a D.Phil. thesis on The Effects of the First World War on the Social Condition of Women in France under the supervision of Richard Cobb.

This was the basis for his path-breaking book, Housewife or Harlot? The Place of Women in French Society 1870-1940 (1981), published at a time when "women's history" was still a minority interest.

After a year as a tutorial assistant in Glasgow in 1972-73, Jim's academic career began at the University of York, where he served as lecturer, and then senior lecturer, from 1973 to 1992.

His years at York were happy ones, especially after his marriage to Donatella Fischer. As well as producing two further books, Dreyfus to de Gaulle: Politics and Society in France 1898-1969 (1985) and Napoleon III (1991), Jim demonstrated his intellectual breadth by teaching undergraduate courses on the history and sociology of religion as well as on literary theory and history....

He was a truly inspiring figure whose remarkable human qualities and exceptional scholarship will be sorely missed by his colleagues, friends and family. He is survived by his wife, Donatella, lecturer in Italian at the University of Glasgow.


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