Amherst Magazine

Commager Chronology

Submitted by (inactive)
1902 Oct 25 Born in Pittsburgh, Penn. to James Williams Commager and Anna Elizabeth Dan
1923 Completed Ph.B. at the University of Chicago
1924 Completed M.A. at the University of Chicago
1924-25 Student at University of Copenhagen on an American-Scandanavian Foundation fellowship, travels in Germany
1926-38 Taught at New York University
  1926-29   Instructor
  1929-30   Assistant
  1930-31   Associate
  1931-38   Professor
1928 Completed Ph.D. at the University of Chicago: Struensee and the Reform Movement in Denmark
1928 Married Evan Carroll. They have three children: Henry Steele, Eleanor Thomas McColl, and Elisabeth Carroll
1928 Began working with Samuel Eliot Morrison on Growth of American Republic
1929 Received American Historical Association's Herbert Baxter Adams Prize for most distinguished first book (PhD thesis)
1930 Growth of the American Republic published
1934 Documents of American History published
1936 The Great American Preacher: Theodore Parker published
1939-56 Taught at Columbia University
  1939-56   Professor
  1956-59   Adjunct Faculty
1939 Wrote series of New York Times Magazine articles advocating interventionist role in Europe
1940 Became involved with Committee to Defend American by Defending the Allies
1941 Bacon Lecturer at Boston University
1940-49 Wrote regular column for Scholastic with its middle and high school readers
1942 The Pocket History of the United States published, co-authored with Alan Nevins
1942 Richards Lecturer at University of Virginia
1942 American Studies at Cambridge University inaugurated
1942 Appointed to editorial board of The American Scholar
1942-43 Visiting Professor of American History at Cambridge University, Peterhouse College
1943 Majority Rule and Minority Rights published
1943 Appointed special representative to the Office of War Information “to fulfill lecture arrangements scheduled by the British Ministry of Information”
1943 Appointed to the War Department's Historical Branch Advisory Committee

1943 October – 1944 January

Member of the nine historian panel to assess Nazi military power for the Army Air Force
1944 Recorded “nonpolitical talks” for the Office of War Information on American electoral process to be broadcast to Europeans on short wave radio
1945 The Pocket History of the United States is released under the title A Short History of the United States
1947-48 Pitt Professor at Cambridge University
1947 “Who is Loyal to America?” published in Harper's
1948-51 President of PEN
1948 The St. Nicholas Anthology compiled with Evan Commager
1950 The Blue and Grey published
1950 The American Mind published
1951 Lecturer at the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies
1951 Appointed to the Foreign Policy Association Editorial Advisory Committee
1952 Elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters
1952 Attended the Fulbright Conference on American Studies at Cambridge
1952-53 Held Harmsworth Professorship at Oxford University
1953 Lectured at Royal University Uppsala as Gottesman Professor
1953 “Guilt – and Innocence – By Association” published in The New York Times
1954 Europe and America Since 1942 published, co-authored with Geoffrey Bruun
1954 Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent published
1954 Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent earned Sidney Hillman Foundation Award
1954 Nov 24 Interviewed on CBS Chronoscope
1955-56 Fulbright Professor of American History at the University of Copenhagen
1956-92 Taught at Amherst College
  1956   Winthrop Smith Professor of American History
  1957-61   Amherst College Professor of American History and American Studies
  1962-70   Winthrop Smith Professor of American History
  1971-92   John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer in History at Amherst College and Emeritus Winthrop Smith Professor
  1993-98   Emeritus John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer
1956 Gave lecture series at Port of Spain, Trinidad
1958 Lecturer at University of Israel
1958 The Spirit of Seventy Six published
1960-61 Received Guggenheim Fellowship to study American nationalism
1960 Appointed Gino Speranza Lecturer on American Traditions and Ideals at Columbia University
1960 Supported Senator John F. Kennedy as a member of Intellectuals for Kennedy
1960 Editorial advisory committee to the Woodrow Wilson Papers
1961 Historical consultant to NBC television series The Americans
1961 Appeared on ABC television show Meet the Professor
1962 Appointed to the United States National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
1962 Crusaders for Freedom published
1962 The American Character published
1963 Became Advisory Editor of History to Charles H. Merrill Books College Division
1963 July 31 The Dialogues of Allan Nevins and Henry Steele Commager broadcast on CBS Television Network
1966 Elected to the National Academy of Arts & Letters
1966-71 “Television the Medium” in TV Guide
1967 Freedom and Reform published to honor Commager
1967 Chaired the Massachusetts Dissenting Democrats
1967 February 20 Appeared before Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss foreign policy
1968 The Commonwealth of Learning published
1967 Became active with the National Committee for Effective Congress (NCEC)
1968 Mar 28 Evan (Carroll) Commager dies
  b. 1904 February 4
m. 1928 July 3
1968 Was active with Citizens for Eugene McCarthy
1970 Donated nearly 6,000 volumes to Hampshire College Library, a gift valued at more than $39,000
1971 Served Library of Congress as Honorary Consultant in American History
1971 Mar 8 Appeared before Senate Foreign Relations Committee on War Powers Act
1972 Mar 1 Addressed the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure on issue of Amnesty for Vietnam draft resister
1972 May 17 Received American Academy of Arts & Letters Gold Medal for History
1972 Participated in the filming of “GODSPELL Goes to Plymouth Plantation for Thanksgiving with Henry Steele Commager,” produced by WGBH-TV
   
1973 Oct New York Times headline "Commager Urges Nixon Impeachment"
1974 Britain Through American Eyes published
1974 Appears on Bill Moyer's Journal
1974 June “Five Grounds for Impeaching the President” published in New York Times
1977 Empire of Reason published
1977 Spring Held Patten Lectureship at Indiana University
1979 July 14
Marries Mary Powlesland
1980 February 20 Appears on The Dick Cavett Show
1981 Bullitt Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Washington in Seattle for the winter and spring quarters
1984 Awarded the Claude Pepper Award for contributing to social democracy
1987 Serves as Advisor to PBS Childhood series
1988 Appears on Bill Moyer's World of Ideas television series (WNET)
1990 May 2 Receives the Bruce Catton Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Society of American Historians
   
1998 Died in Amherst, MA