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AHR (American Historical Review) RECENT DEATHS (Obituary)

 

   Carroll Quigley, who taught at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service for thirty-five years, died of a heart attack on January 3, 1977 in Washington, D.C. at the age of 66. A dynamic teacher, whose course on "Development of Civilization" was highly regarded by his students, Dr. Quigley was one of Georgetown's most respected professors. A dedicated educator, he received the student-voted Faculty Award for distinguished teaching for four consecutive years before his death, and was cited by SFS alumni from 1941to 1969 as the most influential in their undergraduate careers.

 

   Born in Boston, Massachusetts on November 9, 1910, Professor Quigley attended Boston Latin School, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, where he also obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. He taught at Princeton and at Harvard before coming to Georgetown. At the School of Foreign Service, Dr. Quigley's Dev. Civ. was a basic, required course that rarely had less than 300 students. He was a forceful and dramatic lecturer, with intellectual vigor and wide-ranging knowledge, who placed great stress on the analytical method in his approach to the study of history. This was well-illustrated in his book, The Evolution of Civilizations (1961), which was translated into Spanish and Portuguese. In this study, he sought to provide fresh insights and perspectives, in the tradition of Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee, on how and why civilizations rise and fall. Dr. Quigley was convinced that the historical processes of civilization were susceptible to scientific formulations and could be logically ascertained. Although dogmatic at times in asserting his own personal opinions in the classroom, he told his students, "Don't believe a word from anyone, including me. Go and seek out the truth yourselves."

 

   Dr. Quigley will be remembered not only for his work on comparative civilizations but for his challenging, monumental book of some 1350 pages, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World of Our Time (1966). Twenty years went into the writing of this work. Tragedy and Hope was more than an account of contemporary history in the twentieth century; it was an attempt to adopt a multidisciplinary approach in order to understand the past, especially using political science, economics, social history, cultural anthropology, psychology, and sociology. Largely a personal, interpretive account of the twentieth century, the book sought, as Dr. Quigley put it, "to look at the real situations which lie beneath the conceptual and verbal symbols." Though flawed by his own biases and prejudices, Professor Quigley's magnum opus is a lively, richly detailed, and informative work that amply demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of his historical analytical techniques.

 

   A member of long-standing in the American Historical Association, Dr. Quigley also belonged to the American Anthropological Association, the American Economic Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a person of insatiable curiosity and keenness of mind, who stood apart from the more narrow, specialized scholar. Professor Quigley was a frequent lecturer at the Brookings Institutions, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and the State Department Foreign Service Institute. He was a staff member of the House Committee that organized the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of History and Technology.

   Shortly after his retirement, Professor Quigley delivered a series of three lectures at Georgetown University on "Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth, 976-1976." As a summation of his philosophy and approaches to history, it was a fitting climax to his teaching career. Peter Krogh, the Dean of the School of Foreign Service, aptly stated, "The School and Carroll were not only compatible, they were downright inseparable. And that is the way they should remain." A fund for the purpose of endowing a chair in Dr. Quigley's name has been launched, with contributions being raised among his former students. His loss is one which is heavily felt at Georgetown University.

 

Jules Davids

Georgetown University

 

Scan of Jules Davids' typewritten pages

 


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