Amherst Magazine
Charles Adams Hale '51

Charles Adams Hale, age 78, professor emeritus of Latin American history at the Univ. of Iowa, died on Sept. 29 in Seattle, Wash., surrounded by devoted family and friends.  The cause of death was congestive heart failure.

Charles was born in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 5, 1930, and spent most of his youth in Minneapolis, graduating cum laude from the Blake School in 1947.  He graduated from Amherst College, Phi Beta Kappa, as a history major in 1951, and then returned to Minneapolis where he obtained an M.A. in history from the Univ. of Minnesota in 1952. 

In the fall of 1952, he married Lenore Rice of Pelham, N.Y., and they lived the next year in Strasbourg, France, on a Fulbright Fellowship.  In 1953, they returned to New York City, where he studied at Columbia Univ. under the eminent Latin American historian, Frank Tannenbaum, and earned a Ph.D. in history in 1957. He then taught briefly at the Univ. of North Carolina, Lehigh Univ. and Amherst College before going to the Univ. of Iowa in Iowa City, where he spent the bulk of his career. A thorough and distinguished scholar, he concentrated on the intellectual history of Mexican liberalism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His two most significant books are Mexican Liberalism in the Age of Mora, 1821-1853 (1968), winner of Mexico’s Fray Bernardino de Sahagn Prize, and The Transformation of Liberalism in Late Nineteenth Century Mexico (1989), winner of the Bolton Prize.  These works, also published in Spanish, earned him wide readership and recognition in Mexico, culminating with the Order of the Águila Azteca in 1993, the highest honor that the Mexican government bestows on foreigners for their contribution to Mexican society.  Hale retired from the Univ. of Iowa in 1997. 

In 2004, Charles and Lenore moved to Seattle where he continued research and writing on his last book, Emilio Rabasa and the Survival of Porfirian Liberalism.  The 10 year project was finished in the spring of 2008 and has been published by Stanford University Press. It will soon be published in translation in Mexico as well. In his final days, Charles often said how happy he was to have completed this work before his health deteriorated.

A devoted husband, father and grandfather, Charles was a modest man of quiet humor, deep integrity and extraordinary resolve. A fit and determined athlete, Charles played hockey, football and baseball as a youth and enjoyed tennis, biking, running and avid walking for the rest of his life. His parents, Lloyd and Elizabeth Hale, were civically involved in Minneapolis, and he inherited this commitment to responsible, civic life. He is survived by Lenore, his wife of 56 years; his children, Betsy of Seattle, Charles of Austin, Texas, Roger of Los Altos, Calif., and Caroline of Minneapolis; his eight grandchildren; and his brother, Roger L. Hale, of Minneapolis.

—Hal Sutton ’51

 

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