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The Letters of C. Vann Woodward

The Letters of C. Vann Woodward

EDITED BY Michael O’Brien
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    The Letters of C. Vann Woodward
    Book Description:

    C. Vann Woodward was one of the most prominent and respected American historians of the twentieth century. He was also a very gifted and frequent writer of letters, from his earliest days as a young student in Arkansas and Georgia to his later days at Yale when he became one of the arbiters of American intellectual culture.

    For the first time, his sprightly, wry, sympathetic, and often funny letters are published, including those he wrote to figures as diverse as John Kennedy, David Riesman, Richard Hofstadter, and Robert Penn Warren. The letters shed new light not only on Woodward himself, but on what it meant to be an American radical and public intellectual, as well as on the complex politics and discourse of the historical profession and the anxious modulations of Southern culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18876-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xliv)

    The rationale for publishing letters varies. There are a few whose letters justify publication because their author had a remarkable gift for the form, but perhaps little else. Madame de Sévigné would occasion scant interest for her quiet routines (reading, visiting a salon, listening to a nightingale) as a lesser French aristocrat of the late seventeenth century. But her letters were exquisitely good at describing her world, which contained those—the Bourbon royal family, Madame de la Fayette, La Rochefoucauld—who then cut a greater figure in the world than the widow bereft of her child, but who now seem...

  4. Editorial Note
    (pp. xlv-l)
  5. 1 Early Years, 1926–45
    (pp. 1-113)

    In those days old chap we were just a pair of dreamers—or that is we were in that very sentimental age of adolescence which we are now but barely passed—nevertheless I spent then the most happy, beautiful and complete days I ever hope to spend—we did not consider the realities for we new (sic) nothing much of them. We had I believe the true spirit of adventure. You know we got more genuine enjoyment out of a stroll in the moonlight, or the speculation upon a new character in town, than we can now out of dozens...

  6. 2 Johns Hopkins, 1946–62
    (pp. 114-232)

    I understand that a ruling of the Board of Governors made several years ago now stands in the way of admitting a Negro graduate student of the university to membership in the Johns Hopkins Club.

    As a member of the club I should like to ask the gentlemen of the present board to reconsider this old ruling. It seems to me that changed conditions call for new rules. In the first place the university has demonstrated its willingness to accept Negro students on an equal basis. This would seem to call for a new policy of the Hopkins Club to...

  7. 3 Yale, 1962–77
    (pp. 233-339)

    You undoubtedly know that Meredith is having serious trouble in some of his courses. Maybe you also know that he was in New Haven last week, persuaded by his lawyer, Miss Motley, to come here for special tutoring and rest.¹ I did not see him for I had been called to Key West by the death of my mother. But friends of mine here found him an apartment and took care of him. From them I get some disturbing reports that I feel I should pass on to you. They tell me that he was in a despondent and distressing...

  8. 4 Last Years, 1977–99
    (pp. 340-408)

    Many thanks for sending me your piece on the Montgomery march. I will search my files before mailing this to see if anything turns up. I remember vaguely having an interview but do not know whether I can find any copy of it.

    If Dick Hofstadter wrote anything the two people most likely to know would be either Eric McKitrick of Columbia or Stanley Elkins of Smith.

    Since you are sticking to interviews another suggestion may be out of line; that was the speech that Martin Luther King gave at the Montgomery rally in which he quoted me.¹ I don’t...

  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 409-410)
  10. Index
    (pp. 411-428)