Alan Dawley, historian and activist, dies at 64





Alan Dawley, 64, of West Mount Airy, an author of social history, a professor at the College of New Jersey in Trenton, and a civil-rights and peace activist, died March 12 of heart failure while on a trip to study Spanish in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

A leader in the field of U.S. social history, Dr. Dawley's first book, Class and Community: The Industrial Revolution in Lynn, received the prestigious Bancroft Prize in 1976. He also wrote Struggles for Justice and Changing the World and, at the time of his death, was revising the textbook Global America, a look at 20th-century U.S. history from a world perspective.

Dr. Dawley was born and raised in Milwaukee and graduated in 1965 from Oberlin College with a bachelor's degree in history. He earned a master's degree and doctorate in U.S. social history from Harvard in 1971. He married Katy Wechsler in 1966, and they raised two sons.

A history professor at the College of New Jersey in Trenton since 1970, Dr. Dawley believed in making history as well as studying it. In the summer of 1962, he helped rebuild a church that had been burned outside Jackson, Miss., and in 1964 he helped African Americans register to vote during the Mississippi Freedom Summer.


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Alonzo Hamby - 4/18/2008

I just ran across this story. How sad! Dawley was an important historian. One might argue with him, but he made his readers think. STRUGGLES FOR JUSTICE was required reading for my graduate students.

He will be missed.

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