Richard Wade: 87, Urban Historian, Dies

Historians in the News

Richard C. Wade, who helped put cities on the map as an academic subject and who advised Democratic candidates including Adlai Stevenson, Robert F. Kennedy and George McGovern, died last Friday at his home on Roosevelt Island in New York City. He was 87.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Liane Thomas Wade.

Dr. Wade, who taught at the University of Chicago in the 1960s and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York from 1971 to 1993, pursued an urban agenda through his writing and teaching and in the political arena.

His first book, which grew out of the dissertation he wrote at Harvard under Arthur Schlesinger Sr., challenged Frederick Jackson Turner’s argument that the American frontier was opened up by farmers and pioneers. In “The Urban Frontier,” published in 1959, Dr. Wade argued that cities like Pittsburgh, Louisville and Cincinnati were the catalysts for westward expansion.

At the University of Chicago, his application of social-science techniques to the analysis of cities decisively influenced students like Kenneth T. Jackson, now a professor of history at Columbia University, and Howard P. Chudacoff of Brown University....
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