U-Va. History Professor William H. Harbaugh Dies
Sunday, May 1, 2005; Page C06
Sunday, May 1, 2005; Page C06
William Henry Harbaugh HARWILL HARBAUGH, William Henry William Henry Harbaugh, who taught for ten years at UConn during the 1940s and 1950s, died Thursday, (April 28, 2005) at his home in Virginia, at 85 years of age. His initial career plans did not include academics. After high school in Newark, he signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, but to his father's relief was dropped five weeks into spring training. He then went to the University of Alabama to play baseball and study journalism. After graduation in 1942, he went to Europe with the U.S. Army. Captain of Battery "A", 62nd AAA Gun Battalion, he fought across North Africa, through Sicily, Southern France, and up into the region of Germany from which his ancestors had emigrated in the 1730s. He would tell his children that his experiences in the war convinced him that "Harbaugh, you are an ignorant man." The day after disembarking in New York he applied in person, and in uniform, for admission to the Master's history program at Columbia University. He was admitted on the spot, and he always assumed that his Captain's uniform and Croix de Guerre outweighed his undistinguished undergraduate record. A year later he was hired to teach American history to veterans at the newly established Fort Trumbull branch of the University of Connecticut, in New London. He taught there for three years, leaving to enter the Ph.D. program at Northwestern. Harbaugh returned to UConn in 1953 at Storrs, where he taught seven years and served as the faculty adviser for the Young Democrats. On leave, he was a senior fellow at the Yale Law School, then resigned from UConn and spent a year at Rutgers. He taught four years at Bucknell, and 24 years at the University of Virginia. His experiences in the war and his training as a historian fueled his active opposition to the war in Vietnam. Professor Harbaugh greatly enjoyed teaching undergraduates as well as graduates. His 1961 book Power and Responsibility was for many years the standard biography of Theodore Roosevelt. His biography of John W. Davis, Lawyer's Lawyer, was a finalist for the 1973 National Book Award and a runner-up for a Pulitzer. The Theodore Roosevelt Association awarded him their Distinguished Service Medal in 2005. His wife of 52 years, Virginia Wayne Talbot, survives him, as do a daughter and two sons, Emelyn Hartridge Harbaugh of Charlottesville, William Talbot Harbaugh of Eugene, OR. and Henry Richmond Harbaugh of Bloomington, IN. For 40 years he and his family returned to the village of Chaplin near Storrs. In July, a memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Church in Brooklyn. Details will be posted at http://harbaugh.org/WHH/.
From the Daily Progress:
University of Virginia professor emeritus William H. Harbaugh, an avid scholar of Theodore Roosevelt who was instrumental in the restoration of the former president’s Albemarle County retreat, died Thursday. He was 85.
He is remembered by family, friends and colleagues as a thoughtful man whose deeply held liberal convictions and interest in history were forged during his service in World War II, where as a captain in the 62nd AAA Gun Battalion he helped liberate several Nazi slave-labor camps.
“I think the war got him very interested in history and what war was all about and what led to it and how it affected America,” said Alex Sedgwick, a best friend and past dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
Harbaugh applied for admission to the master’s history program at Columbia University the day after he returned from the war. Despite an undistinguished undergraduate record - he attended the University of Alabama on a baseball scholarship before entering the U.S. Army - the history department chair granted him admission after he showed up in uniform with a Croix de Guerre strapped to his chest. The award recognizes bravery in the face of the enemy.
Harbaugh went on to earn his PhD at Northwestern University in 1954 and spent the next 14 years teaching at the University of Connecticut and Bucknell University before settling at UVa.
An opponent of the Vietnam War, Harbaugh participated in teach-ins across Virginia with Sedgwick.
Despite his strong convictions, Harbaugh was always careful to separate the politics from the person, friend and fellow history professor Bill Abbott said.
“He was remarkably open minded, fair minded and tolerant of all points of view,” he said.
Harbaugh idolized Roosevelt because of his dedication to conservation, his trust-busting and his role in founding the Progressive, or “Bull Moose,” Party after losing the Republican primary in 1912.
Harbaugh’s 1961 work, “Power and Responsibility: The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt,” won acclaim after its publication and is still in print today.
“It has been said by people who are his peers that that is the best single-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt,” said Paula Beazley, president of the Edith and Theodore Roosevelt Pine Knot Foundation. The foundation overseas Pine Knot, Roosevelt’s retreat near Keene.
Harbaugh taught at UVa for more than 20 years before retiring in 1990 as a Langbourne M. Williams professor of American history.
He was especially proud earlier this year when the Theodore Roosevelt Association awarded him the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Service Medal, which will be posthumously presented in October, Beazley said.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Virginia Wayne Talbot; his three children, Emelyn Hartridge Harbaugh, William Talbot Harbaugh and Henry Richmond Harbaugh; one granddaughter; and four step-grandchildren.
A memorial will be held this fall at Pine Knot. His children have established a memorial Web site at harbaugh.org/whh.
Contact John Yellig at (434) 978-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story can be found at: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~harbaugh/WHH/