About Bertram Wyatt-Brown

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Bertram Wyatt-Brown

What They're Famous For

One of the most distinguished historians of the American South, Wyatt-Brown is the Richard J. Milbauer Emeritus Professor of History, University of Florida. Under the guidance of C. Vann Woodward, he earned his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in 1963. Before arriving at the University of Florida, he taught at Colorado State University, the University of Colorado, University of Wisconsin (as a visiting assistant professor), and Case Western Reserve University. Wyatt-Brown mentored many Ph.D.'s in his long career. He chaired 6 students to their doctorates at CWRU and 29 at the University of Florida. In addition, he served on 110 graduate students' committees at various institutions during his career. In October 2005 his former students and the University of Florida put on a retirement symposium "Honoring a Master," in honor of his career as a distinguished educator, historian, and critic.

Just before retiring, he served as the Douglas Southall Freeman Professor at the University of Richmond and as the James Pinckney Harrison Professor at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of nine books, 93 essays, and nearly 150 book reviews. Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (1982, 1983) is a classic the best known of his work. It was a finalist for the American Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. Among his works are Hearts of Darkness:Wellsprings of a Southern Literary Tradition; The Shaping of Southern Culture:Honor, Grace, and War; Neither Priest Nor Poet:A Search for Vocation in Shapers of Southern History; Ted, Sylvia, and St.Botolph's A Cambridge Recollection in Southern Review; Sewanee--How to Make A Yankee Southern in American Places. A fellow of the National Humanities Center, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment of Humanities, and the Shelby Cullom Davis Center, Princeton, he has served as President of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (1994), St. George Tucker Society (1998-99), and Southern Historical Association (2000-01). He is currently writing Honor and America's Wars: From the Revolution to Iraq. Wyatt-Brown has appeared in a number of television documentaries, and serves as series editor of the Louisiana State Press' Southern Biography Series.

Personal Anecdote

How to Lose Your First Job Teaching History: A Cautionary Tale

In August 1962, my wife Anne and I headed from Maryland for the Far West in a newly painted bottle-green Volkswagen Beetle. It had been an ugly tan color until the ministrations of Earl Schreib's paint shop at $29.95 brightened its appearance. We passed through Tennessee (to visit in my mother in Sewanee), Arkansas (where "white" and "colored" rest rooms confronted us at every rest stop), the vast spaces of Oklahoma, and eventually our destination. Just married on June 30, we were heading from Baltimore to Fort Collins, Colorado, seat of Colorado State University. It was known locally--or at least so we younger instructors liked to laugh--as the Harvard of Larimer County.

It was my first teaching job in the field of Jacksonian and Southern history. David Donald, newly arrived at Johns Hopkins, advised me by phone to seize the appointment. He assured me that he knew personally how dynamic a faculty was being constructed there. My own advisor, C. Vann Woodward, was out of reach for consultation. Lily Lavarello, the departmental secretary, told me that Dr. Woodward was in Houston, with only a "c/o Postmaster" address and no known phone number. He had already left for Yale the year before his sabbatical. For his last student at Hopkins, however, he did return in January 1963 to preside over my final dissertation exam. Thus, in lieu of any other advice, Donald's seemed wise. The position would include tenure at some point, but all new faculty contracts at CSU were limited to only one year with expected renewals thereafter. For both Anne and me, it seemed at the time quite adventuresome, even thrilling, to leave the familiar East Coast for the unknown desert West.

Sheltered under the Rockies, Fort Collins, we quickly discovered, was at that time a typically American small town. Apart from CSU, its economic life depended upon the sale and processing of sugar beets, wheat, and other agricultural products. Conservative, devoutly Protestant, and wary of undergraduate inclinations, the town fathers required that to buy anything more potent than 3.2 beer you had.


Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History Emeritus
University of Florida


1949-1953 University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, English Literature, B.A. (optime merens), 1953.
1955-1957 King's College, Cambridge University, Historical Tripos, II & III, B.A. (Hon.), 1957; M.A. (matric.), 1961.
1957-1962 The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. Ph.D., 1963. Dissertation: “Partners in Piety: Arthur and Lewis Tappan, Evangelical Abolitionists.” Supervisor: C. Vann Woodward.


1962-1964 Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, Assistant Professor.
1964-1966 University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, Assistant Professor.
1966-1983 Case Western Reserve University, Assistant, Associate (1968), tenure (1969), Professor (1974).
1969-1970 University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, Visiting Associate Professor.
1983-2004 Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History, University of Florida.
2002 Douglas Southall Freeman Professor, University of Richmond
2004 James Pinckney Harrison Professor, the College of William and Mary
2005-07 Current appointment: Visiting Scholar, Johns Hopkins University


1952 Phi Beta Kappa (University of the South).
1953 Alexander Guerry Memorial Prize for English Literature (University of the South).
1953-1962 Danforth Foundation Fellow.
1956 Doncaster Prize for History Tripos, Part II (King's College, Cambridge).
1957-1959 John Martin Vincent Fellowship (The Johns Hopkins University).
1965 University of Colorado Faculty Grant for Summer Research.
1966-1967 American Philosophical Society, Penrose Fund.
1971 Charles Ramsdell Award, Southern Historical Association.
1972 Case Western Reserve University Faculty Grant.
1972-1973 American Philosophical Society Grant.
1974 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Grant.
1974 Associate Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
1974-1975 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow.
1976- Who's Who in America.
1977-1978 Fellow, Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton University.
1979-1980 Charles Rieley Armington Grant for Research on Values in Children (Case Western Reserve University).
1982-1983 Charles Rieley Armington Professorship (Western Reserve College of CWRU).
1982 Armington Research Grant.
1983 Finalist (1 of 6), American Book Award (now called National Book Award)
1983 Finalist (1 of 3), Pulitzer Prize for History.
1983 Ohio Academy of History Publications Award.
1983 Washington Post Book World, Year's Choice Books for 1982.
1983 Jefferson Davis Memorial Award.
1983 Honorable Mention, Northern Ohio Live Magazine.
1984 Phi Alpha Theta History Book Prize.
1985 Commonwealth Fund Lecturer, University College, London, January 31-February 1.
1985 Fellow, Society of American Historians.
1985 Doctor of Letters, University of the South, May, Sewanee, Tennessee.
1985 Member, Pulitzer Prize Jury for History.
1985-86 National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellow.
1986 Ralph Draughon Lecturer, Auburn University, 1-2 April, Auburn, Alabama.
1989 ABC/Clio Award, (Historical essay prize), Organization of American Historians.
1989-90 Fellow, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, September, 1989-June, 1990.
1989-90 Fellow, Earhart Foundation, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
1993-94 Norman Wilensky Graduate Teaching Award, Department of History, University of Florida.
1993 Lamar Lectures, Mercer University, Macon, Georgia, October.
1994 Walter Prescott Webb Lecture, University of Texas, Arlington.
1994-95 President, Society for the History of the Early American Republic.
1994-97 Member, the Executive Council, Southern Historical Association, November.
1995 Walter L. Fleming Lectures, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.
1996-97 TIP Teaching Award, University of Florida.
1998 Franklin Lectures in Science and Humanities, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.
1998-99 Henry Luce Foundation Fellow, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
1999 Franklin-Littleton Lecturer, Auburn University
1998-2000 President, St. George Tucker Society.
1999-2000 Vice-President, Southern Historical Association.
2000-2001 President, Southern Historical Association.
2002-2002 Douglas Southall Freeman Professor, University of Richmond
2003 Graduate Mentoring Award, University of Florida.


1. Lewis Tappan and the Evangelical War against Slavery (Cleveland: The Press of Case Western Reserve University, 1969).

2. The American People in the Antebellum South ed., (West Haven, Conn.: Pendulum Press, 1973).

3. Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982) (ACLS E-Books 2003). 4. Yankee Saints and Southern Sinners (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985).

5. Honor and Violence in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press Galaxy Abridged Edition, 1986).

6. The House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy and Imagination in a Southern Family (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

7. The Literary Percys: Family History, Gender and Legend (Lamar Memorial Lectures, Mercer University, 1993) (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994).

8. The Shaping of Southern Culture: Honor, Grace, and War, 1760s-1890s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001) (second edition, 2004).

9. Hearts of Darkness: Wellsprings of a Southern Literary Tradition (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003).

10. Virginia’s Civil War edited with Peter Wallenstein (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2004).


Lewis Tappan and the Evangelical War against Slavery (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press (1997). (Second reprint in paper, first is Atheneum, 1971).

Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (Oxford University Press, 1983), paper.

Yankee Saints and Southern Sinners (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990), paper.

The House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy and Imagination in a Southern Family (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997) paper.

Reprint of Chapter Sixteen of Lewis Tappan and the Evangelical War against Slavery: “Antislavery and the Evangelical Movement,” pp. 310-22 in Critical Issues in American Religious History, ed. Robert R. Mathisen (Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press). “The Psychology of Slavery,” MacMillan Encyclopedia of Slavery.




Sam Williamson, Sewanee: The Making of a University (Volume 1) edited by Bertram Wyatt-Brown (in press, Proctor’s Hall Press)

B. Wyatt-Brown, ed., Sewanee: Perspectives on Its History (Volume 2) (in press, Proctor’s Hall Press)

B. Wyatt-Brown, ed., Ted Hughes and His Art Remembered (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press), (in press).

Who Owns the Dead: The Hazards of Literary Biography and Memoir (in process, near completion)

Honor and America’s Wars: From the Revolution to Iraq (in process, near completion)

Sic Semper Tyrannis: Lincoln’s Assassination and Aftermath

Melancholy's Children: Modern Southern Writers and Alienation

Mule in the Road: An Historian’s Odyssey


Editorial Board, Reviews in American History, 1974-81 and 1997-
Editorial Board, 1978-1983, Ohio History, 1978-83.
Contributing Editor, Wilson Quarterly, 1994-.
Editorial Board, Journal of the Early Republic, 1987-93.
Editorial Board, Intellectual Biography Series, University Press of Virginia, 1988-93.
Editorial Board, Southern Classics Series, University of South Carolina Press, 1988-90.
Editor, Southern Biographical Series, Louisiana State University Press, 1994-.
Editorial Board, The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery, Macmillan, 1997.
Editorial Board, Journal of Southern History, 1997-1999.
Editorial Board, PSYART: Journal of the Psychoanalytic Application to the Arts, 1997-
Editorial Board, Maryland Historical Society Publications Board, 2005-

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