Heritage Chair History
This Sub-Page is provided as a permanent record of our efforts in support of the Chair of Naval Heritage at the Academy. It should be known that the Class honors the Chair-holder on his/her departure with a commemorative Chair engraved with inscriptions as below.
I. Williamson (Wick) Murray 2007-2008
The first occupant of the Chair was Professor Williamson (Wick) Murray whose biography is presented in the paragraphs below.
Dr. Williamson Murray (Wick Murray) is Professor Emeritus (History) at Ohio State University (Retired) and Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). He also served on the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century / Hart-Rudman Commission as a Study Group Member.
• B.A. Yale University, (1963)
• M.A. Yale University, (1971)
• Ph.D. Yale University, (1975)
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE - HIGHLIGHTS
• Charles Lindbergh Professor, Air and Space Museum, 1997-1998
• Horner Professor of Military Theory, Marine Corps University, 1995-1997
• Centennial Visiting Professor, London School of Economics, 1994-1995
• Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University, 1995
• Secretary of the Navy Fellow, Naval War College, 1991-1992
• Professor of History, Ohio State University, 1977-1995
• Maintenance Officer, 314th TAL Wing, South East Asia, 1968-1969
HONORS AND AFFILIATIONS
• Long Committee on Professional Military Education, 1989-1990
• Second Andrew D. White Prize in European History, Yale University, 1963
From the Naval War College Review, Spring 2001 (http://www.nwc.navy.mil/press/Review/2001/Spring/MurW-bio.htm): "Dr. Murray received his Ph.D. (after service in the U.S. Air Force) in military-diplomatic history at Yale University. He has taught at Yale, at the Air, Army, and Naval War Colleges, the U.S. Military Academy, Marine Corps University, the London School of Economics, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and Ohio State University, of which he is a professor emeritus. He is currently a consultant at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Arlington, Virginia. His numerous books include Air War, 1914-1945 (1999) and a number of works in collaboration with Allan Millett, including, most recently, A War to Be Won: Fighting World War II (1999)."
Williamson Murray was credited on a game in 1991. His/Her career probably spans more years than those displayed since these dates are based on the credits documented in MobyGames (which are incomplete). Williamson Murray has been credited with the roles Box & Content. Williamson Murray has been credited on games developed by the following companies: LucasArts. This does not imply employment by these companies.
Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe (1991)
PRESENTATION TO PROFESSOR MURRAY ON HIS DEPARTURE
Whereas: The United States Naval Academy Class of 1957 has funded the “Class of 1957 Chair in Naval Heritage” as its 50th anniversary gift to the Academy, and
Whereas: The Class presented the Superintendent of the Naval Academy with a suitably engraved Naval Academy “Captain’s Chair” to symbolize this gift, and
Whereas: After an extensive search to find the most highly qualified history professional professor, Dr. Williamson “Wick” Murray was selected from among a distinguished group, and
Whereas: Dr. Murray began teaching at the Academy in the winter semester of 2006, and
Whereas: During his four semesters of teaching he has inspired his midshipmen students and contributed to their understanding of the importance of naval heritage through a number of unique and innovative means including –
• Instituting a “History Club” – an informal gathering in the evenings for any midshipmen or faculty interested in discussing matters of historical interest,
• Bringing a series of renowned persons to the academy to address not only his classes, but any members of the Brigade and faculty on topics of historical and current significance,
• Leading tours of nearby battlefield locations to instill in midshipmen and invited members of the Class of 1957 a better appreciation of the importance of leadership in combat.
Now therefore: Be it resolved that the class presents the inaugural Chair in Naval Heritage “Captain’s Chair” to Professor Williamson “Wick” Murray as an expression of our gratitude to him for his outstanding performance as first incumbent of the “Class of 1957 Chair in Naval Heritage,” to recognize the significant positive impact he has had on the Naval Academy, and the honor he has brought to the class through his work.
Given under our hands this 7th Day of May 2008 at Annapolis, Maryland
David S. Cooper
William H. Peerenboom
Paul O. Behrends
Thomas M. Sims
II. Gilbert Andrew Hugh Gordon 2008-2009
The second occupant was Doctor Gilbert Andrew Hugh Gordon. His biography is presented in the below paragraphs.
Name in Full: Gilbert Andrew Hugh GORDON
Department & Address: Defence Studies Department, Joint Services Command & Staff College (JSCSC), Faringdon Road, Watchfield, Swindon, Wilts SN6 8TS, U.K.
Title of Present Post: Reader in Defence Studies, King’s College London.
Date of Birth: 23 July 1951
King's College London, Ph D. War Studies, 1983
University of Wales, Aberystwyth, BScEcon (Hons), International Politics (2:1), 1977.
Desk Officer for Employment & Industrial Relations, Conservative Research Department, Conservative Central Office. January 1983 - July ‘84
Research Consultant, Cabinet Office Historical Section, July 1984 - October ’96.
Honorary Fellow at Exeter University, pursuing own research, November ’96 - August ‘97 .
Senior Lecturer (Civil Service ranking), JSCSC, Bracknell, August 1997 – August ‘00.
Lecturer (KCL), JSCSC, August 2000 – September ’01.
Since joining the Defence Studies Department ten years ago, I have taught, and continue to teach, across the spectrum of courses, the three main levels of which are explained below:
The JSCSC is structured around three mainstream levels of Command & Staff Courses:
1. The ‘Intermediate’ single-service level, with students at the slightly unequal ranks of Lieutenant RN, junior Major, and Flight Lieutenant.
2. The joint ‘Advanced’ level, for Lt Commanders, Majors and Squadron Leaders.
3. The joint ‘Higher’ level, for RN Captains/Commodores and their equivalents.
At the Intermediate level, I lecture to all three Services’ Courses, but routinely teach the eight-week Intermediate Command & Staff Course (Maritime). The ICSC(M)'s purpose is "To equip officers with the background knowledge skills and attitudes required for the full range of junior staff and command appointments and to evaluate their potential for further staff training." Roughly half the course is academic-led education. A key feature is an Elective sub-course on subjects of the tutors' own devising. My Elective, which I teach two or three times a year, is a study of British Seapower during the half-century following the Naval Defence Act of 1889.
The core of JSCSC business is the tri-service Advanced Command & Staff Course (ACSC). This is an intensive eleven-month course, with around 360 students, a quarter of them foreign, covering the whole gamut of 'defence studies' subjects. Its mission is "to prepare selected officers for high-grade appointments, up to and including the rank of Captain RN, Colonel and Group Captain, by developing their command, analytical and communications skills, and by providing a broad understanding and knowledge of joint, single-service and combined operations, and of defence as a whole." Aside from teaching, I am the ACSC's Subject Matter Expert on Command & Leadership.
The jewel in the JSCSC's crown is the Higher Command & Staff Course. This is an annual three-month course for officers of great experience, typically in their mid-40s, and destined for high rank. Its desired end-state is "to have developed a mind that is able to analyze complex issues of a joint and combined nature from first principles in order to make timely decisions at the higher level of influence and command." There are just three internal (Defence Studies Dept) historians assigned to the HCSC (one for each element): I am both the original Maritime Historian and the Academic Lead, and have thus been closely involved in this Course and its development since 1998. The most demanding part of the HCSC is the intensive ten-day ‘Staff Ride’, which is a battlefield tour in which we historians set the scene at each ‘stand’ and then students lead the ‘modern pull through’ discussions, based on supervised research papers. This has to be stage-managed into coherent packages without curbing the students’ own conclusions.
My first book, British Seapower & Procurement: A Reappraisal of Rearmament, illustrates the broad base of the pyramid: ostensibly about procurement, it explores the full web of contextual factors within which the Admiralty’s procurement policies were set and within which the Navy’s leaders should be judged. I sought to demystify Britain’s preparations for war in the 1930s, and, in particular, to dispose of (then) enduring mythologies about the constraints on rearmament.
My second book, The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command explores the underlying influences behind the Grand Fleet’s performance in 1916. It won the inaugural Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature (1996), and the Longman History Today Book-of-the-Year Prize (1997). Paperback editions came out in 2000 and 2005. I stopped collecting reviews after a while, but one may be cited here: “Already the book is being read, and praised, by the Admirals at whom it is in part directed. It remains to be seen if the senior officers of that much larger and more institutional service, the US Navy, will be willing to take it to heart. It may be an uncomfortable read for them and perhaps also for some historians. This is not quite the way we have been brought up to do it; academics steam in company, and think of their promotion prospects before they haul out of line without orders.” (Professor Nicholas Rodger, International Journal of Maritime History, Vol.IX, No.2, Dec 1997). The book has a unique paragraph in the bibliography of British Maritime Doctrine, and is recommended reading at the US Naval War College, Rhode Island. The Royal Australian Navy’s published Reading List (March 2006) rates it as “essential reading and highly recommended.”
My Contributions to recent publications include:
• Chapter: ‘Operational Command at Sea’ in J.Reeve & D.Stevens (eds.) The Face of Naval Battle (2003) (A&U, 2003)
• Chapter: ‘The Largest Armada the World has Ever Seen’ in J.Penrose (ed.), The D Day Companion (Osprey 2004)
• Chapter: ‘The Transition to War: the Hunt for Goeben & Breslau, 1914’, in I.Speller (ed.), The Royal Navy and Maritime Power in the Twentieth Century (Frank Cass, 2005)
• Chapter: ‘Military Transformation in Long Periods of Peace’, in W.Murray & R.Sinnreich, The Past as Prologue: the importance of history to the military profession. (CUP, 2006)
• Chapter: ‘1914-1918, the Proof of the Pudding’, in G.Till (ed.) The Development of British Naval Thinking: Essays in Memory of Bryan Ranft (Routledge, 2006)
• Article: ‘Nelson is Not Sufficient’, commissioned by the RN’s professional journal, the Naval Review (published in November 2005 issue (Vol.93, Number 4)):
• Tripartite articles: October 2006: RUSI Journal & RUSI website: an air/sea/land record-straightener (in association with Dr Christina Goulter and Prof Gary Sheffield) regarding the recent media spat over the respective air and naval roles in the deterrence of Operation SEALION. My 2,600-word article on RUSI website will be printed in the February 2007 issue of the Naval Review.
Main Work in Progress:
Master of the Narrow Seas: a major biography of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, naval commander of both the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 and the Normandy landings in 1944. Ramsay fits my academic interests on several other levels of research-led teaching. His position by, say, 1944, at the centre of a web of senior Allied commanders is directly relevant both to my ACSC ‘subject matter expertise’ in Command & Leadership, and to my evolving work on the HCSC Staff Ride, which studies both Dunkirk and Normandy. He is a vital link in understanding how the ‘Allied Command Club’ in the European Theatre worked.
Further Work Projected:
The Whale and the Elephant (working title): Britain’s war against (mainly) Germany in the global seascape of maritime strategy.
I have given recent conference papers, as follows:
At the Society of Military History (SMH) Conference hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on 1-4 May 2003: a paper on ‘Operational Art in the Mediterranean, 1940-43’.
At the ‘Past Futures’ twin Conferences, hosted in the UK (3-4 July 2003) at Sandhurst by the Strategic & Combat Studies Institute and in the US (9-10 September) at Quantico by the Marine Corps University, a paper on ‘Military Transformations in Long Periods of Peace: the Victorian Royal Navy’.
At the SMH Conference hosted by the University of Maryland, Bethesda, 20-23 May 2004, I gave a paper on ‘History Theory, Doctrine and Naval Command’.
At the Annapolis Naval History Symposium on ‘Expeditionary Warfare’ on 7-8 April 2005, I gave a paper on the Victorians’ experience of maritime power projection.
I was invited by German Armed Forces’ Militärgeschichliche Forschungsamt and the Otto-von-Bismarck-Foundation to give a keynote paper at their Battle of Jutland 90th Anniversary Conference at the end of May 2006, but was unable to attend due to teaching commitments.
Six events, formal and informal, deserve mention as indicators of esteem:
1. & 2. I was guest of honour of The Royal Navy Club of 1765 & 1785, at its Queen’s Birthday Dinners in 1998 and 2004. One of the most exclusive military clubs in the world, this comprises RN officers qualified for major warship command (a shrinking group).
3. In August 2002 Com.UK Task Group flew me out to Bahrain as his guest, and thence out to USS George Washington in the Indian Ocean. I was onboard for two days and gave a historical talk to the Battle Group flag-officer, RAdm Joe Sestak, and his staff (inc. Capt. Gerry Roncolato).
4. In October 2005 I was guest of honour of the Royal College of Defence Studies for their 200th anniversary Trafalgar Night Dinner on the gundeck of HMS Victory.
5. In 2001 I was the Royal Australian Navy’s ‘Synnot’ Visiting Lecturer for 2001. This scheme is in memory of Admiral Sir Anthony Synnot, RAN, and is extended to an overseas academic each year. In July 2001 I spent two weeks in Canberra and Sydney, gave a keynote paper at the King-Hall Naval History Conference and delivered six other scheduled and unscheduled addresses/lectures. I was invited to give a paper at their 2006 Sea Power Conference – ‘Challenges Old and New’ – in early February. My Conference paper was entitled ‘The Best Laid Staff Plans…’
6. I took part in a panel (‘Back to the Future: Sir John Fisher’s Naval Revolution and the Future of the US Fleet’) at the US Naval Institute’s 2006 Joint Warfare Conference, 5th October 2006, in Virginia Beach. There was talk of repeating the panel in April 2007 in Annapolis.
I regularly lecture on ‘Crisis Escalation and Command Dilemmas’ to the CO Desigs Course at the RN’s Maritime Warfare Centre. I have been visiting speaker on many occasions, often onboard ship, sometimes at sea – including a week in Illustrious, for her visit to Malta in 2005, to ensure that the ship’s company understood the strong historical links between the island and the ship. I was in the select loop for the recent redrafts both of Fighting Instructions and of British Maritime Doctrine (BR 1806).
I am a former Lieutenant Commander, Royal Naval Reserve.
3rd January 2007
III. Ronald Spector 2009-2010
The third occupant was Professor Ronald Spector. He completed his appointment in the Summer of 2010. His biography, somewhat more concise than the earlier occupants, is contained in the paragraphs below.
RONALD SPECTOR (Ph.D, Yale) has been Professor of History and International Relations in the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University since 1990. He previously taught at the University of Alabama and at LSU. Besides his recent book, In the Ruins of Empire, he is the author of three other works. His best known books are Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan, which was a main selection of the Book of the Month Club and winner of the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Prize in Naval History and After Tet: The Bloodiest Year in Vietnam. His book, At War at Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century received the 2002 Distinguished Book Award of the Society for Military History. Spector has been a Fulbright Lecturer in India, Israel and Singapore and Visiting Professor at The National War College, the Army War College, Keio University in Tokyo and Princeton.
Spector entered the U.S. Marine Corps as an enlisted man in 1967 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. He served in Vietnam during 1968-69 and in various active duty assignments during the Grenada/Lebanon incidents in 1983-84. He also served on the adjunct faculty of The Marine Corps Command and Staff College. His other government experience includes service as a historian with the U.S. Army Center of Military History and the Naval Historical Center where he was the first civilian to serve as Director of Naval History and Curator for the Navy Department.
IV. John H. Schroeder 2010-2011
Navy Professor Schroeder assumed the Chair in the Fall of 2010 as the fourth occupant. His biography, while a bit terse, perhaps, is presented below.
UW System University Professor
B.A., Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon, 1965
M.A. and Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1967 & 1971.
19th Century U.S. History – Political, Diplomatic, Maritime & Naval.
19th century U.S. History – Political, Diplomatic, Maritime & Naval.
U.S. History Survey; Early American Republic; Era of Civil War and Reconstruction; U.S. Maritime History; History of the American Presidency.
Former UWM Chancellor; Current Member, Board of Curators, Wisconsin Historical Society.
Mr. Polk’s War: American Opposition and Dissent, 1846-1848. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973.
Shaping a Maritime Empire: The Commercial and Diplomatic Role of the American Navy, 1829-1861. Westport, CO.: Greenwood Press, 1985.
Matthew Calbraith Perry: Antebellum Sailor and Diplomat. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2001. (Winner of the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Prize for Naval History, 2002.
Commodore John Rodgers: Paragon of the Early American Navy. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2006.
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413
Department of History
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201
Tel (414) 229-4361 | Fax (414) 229-2435
Valedictory Remarks May 2011
I will be heading down the road this weekend and returning to Wisconsin. It has been a wonderful year for me and I want to thank the Class of 1957 for making this opportunity possible. I have enjoyed immensely teaching the midshipmen. They are a challenging and stimulating group. Having gotten to know some of them, I return to Wisconsin feeling very good about the future of the Navy's leadership. I also made very good use of the Nimitz Library. I was able to finish the research (and another rough draft) of my book on the U.S. Navy in the Pacific between 1815 and 1890.
I also want to thank you and your fellow Class of 1957 members for the way that I was welcomed and treated during the year. On various occasions, I was invited to games, ceremonies, dinners and golf games. I appreciated those invitations because they allowed me to get to know some members of the class. I return to Wisconsin impressed by the generousity the class has shown to the History Department and the Academy over many years.
Take care . . . and BEAT ARMY!
V. Craig L. Symonds 2011-2012
Our Chair was occupied for the 2011-12 academic year by Craig L. Symonds. Professor Symonds is a Professor Emeritus of American History at the Academy where he taught for 30 years and served as History Department Chair. The first person to win both the Academy's Excellence in Teaching Award and its Excellence in Research Award, he is the author of 12 books, including prize-winning biographies of Joseph E. Johnston, Patrick Cleburne, and Franklin Buchanan as well as The American Heritage History of the Battle of Gettysburg. Besides the Civil War at Sea, his two most recent books are Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles That Shaped American History, which won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Prize in 2006, and Lincoln and his Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, The U. S. Navy, and the Civil War, which won the Barondess Prize, the Laney Prize, the John Lyman Book Award and the Lincoln Prize for 2009.
Any who are familiar with Dr. Symonds’s books or have heard him speak will appreciate how fortunate we are to have secured his services. If the invitation should come to sit in on one of his lectures you’ll want to accept.
VI. James Bradford 2012-2013
Our Chair was occupied for the 2012-2013 academic year by James C. Bradford. His resume is posted below.
Michigan State University, B.A., 1967; M.A., 1968 University of Virginia, Ph.D., 1976
FIELDS OF SPECIALIZATION: Naval & Maritime History; American Revolution and
Early National Eras
1981-Present Texas A&M University, Associate Professor: Teach Maritime History and Sea Power, American Sea Power, Age of Jefferson, Colonial America, World War II, and U.S. to 1877
1995-1997 Air War College, Visiting Professor: Taught Strategy, Doctrine and Air Power, World War II, and U.S. Naval History
1973-1981 United States Naval Academy, Assistant Professor: Taught Naval History: Ancient to the Modern World, Colonial America, U.S. 1763-1840, Western Civilization.
John Paul Jones: A Biography
A Companion to American Military History, ed. Blackwell, forthcoming, 2009.
International Encyclopedia of Military History, 2 vols., ed. Routledge, 2006.
Atlas of American Military History, ed. Oxford University Press, 2003.
Quarterdeck and Bridge: Two Centuries of American Naval Leaders, ed.
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1997.
Conflict Between Cultures: The Military Dimension, ed. Texas A&M University
Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War & Its Aftermath, ed .Naval
Institute Press, 1993.
Admirals of the New Steel Navy: Makers of the American Naval Tradition,
1880-1930, ed. Naval Institute Press, 1990. Chinese language ed., 1998.
Captains of the Old Steam Navy: Makers of the American Naval Tradition,
1840-1880, ed. Naval Institute Press, 1986.
Professor Bradford's Report on 2012-2013 Activities
This has been a most enjoyable and beneficial experience for me and I believe for many of the midshipmen with whom I worked. Highlights of the year include:
Fall 2012: HH 104: American Naval History
HH 386C: World War II
Spring 2013: HH 104: American Naval History
HH 486B: The War of 1812
History Department Participation:
Attendance at HH104 “Charm School” (and leading two sessions) during which instructors discuss strategies for teaching the course, potential assignments, themes to be developed, etc. confirmed my belief that there exists a need for a textbook designed specifically for the course. I have subsequently outlined the concept for “America, Sea Power, and the World,” design a table of contents with “sidebars” on naval officers and technological developments for each of the twenty two chapters, engage authors (drawn from department instructors and Class of 1957 Chairholders), and submit a proposal to the Naval Institute Press.
Other activities include attending department “Works in Progress” sessions, reading book manuscripts for two colleagues, consulting with the Naval History Symposium Committee concerning session chairs, and discussing a variety of topics within the profession with colleagues.
One of the manuscripts that I read was by Jon Hendrickson, the Class of 1957 Fellow. It was his dissertation on naval power in the Mediterranean in the decades before World War I. I advised him to make some revisions to prepare it for submission to a publisher then asked him to submit it for publication in a series that I co-edit for the Naval Institute Press. Hendrickson did so, I wrote a formal evaluation for the press, suggested outside reviewers, and Hendrickson has been issued a contract for publication. Based on my assessment of his manuscript and conversations concerning history and teaching, I have written several letters of recommendation to support his job applications.
Naval Academy Service:
Member of the program committee for the “From Enemies to Allies: An International Conference on the War of 1812 and its Aftermath” hosted by the Academy, 12-15 June 2013 under the sponsorship of the Naval Academy, the Naval History and Heritage Command, and the Star Spangled 200 Commission of the State of Maryland. Gene Smith, my successor as the Class of 1957 Chair in Naval Heritage; Andrew Gordon, who held the chair, 2009-2011; and I each chaired a panel at the conference, plus each of them presented a paper.
Member of the group planning an interdisciplinary course on the War of 1812 for academic year 2013-2014.
“The War of 1812 in the Pacific” to the Guides and Staff at the Naval Academy Museum
“The War of 1812 at Sea” to the Ashby Ponds History Club
“Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands: Turning Point in the Pacific War” Garfield Association
Miscellaneous Professional Activities:
Reviewed three books for scholarly journals in which I was identified as a Naval Academy faculty member; evaluated manuscripts for two academic publishers, and chaired the Endowment Committee of the North American Society for Oceanic History which presented recommenda- tions that were adopted at the organization’s annual meeting-conference in May 2013.
Continued working with graduate students at Texas A&M University, my home institution, including administering PhD qualifying examinations to four students, evaluating one M.A. thesis and two PhD dissertations including an oral defense of each, and conducting dissertation proposal defense conferences with two PhD candidates.
VI(a) 2012-2013 Academic Year Fellowship in Naval History - Mr. Jon Hendrickson
Jon Hendrickson earned his BA in History with Honors from Williams College in 2004 and his MA in History from Ohio State University in 2007; he is scheduled to receive the PhD in Military History and Modern Europe from Ohio State in June 2012. His dissertation, “‘We Are Now a Mediterranean Power’: Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, Great Britain, and the Race for Mediterranean Dominance, 1904-1914,” deals with the rivalry among the regional maritime powers following the Royal Navy’s decision to deploy all Dreadnought-class battleships to Scapa Flow. By focusing on the almost wholly overlooked naval relationship between Austria-Hungary and Italy, Hendrickson argues that the outbreak of World War I in 1914 was a product neither of entangling alliances, arms races, nor rigid war plans, but rather a truly singular, unpredictable event that upset and reversed
recent international trends.
Highly recommended as a uniquely promising scholar, Jon intends to use the Class of 57 Fellowship to further his research and transform his dissertation into a manuscript for publication.
Mr. Hendrickson submitted the below report on his year as our Research Fellow in Naval History to our Class Prez. It is published here in order that all might have a better idea as to what our Class Gift is producing.
Class of 1957 Postdoctoral Fellow In Naval History
Jon Hendrickson, 2012-13
My year as the Class of 1957 Postdoctoral Fellow was a great success on many levels. In the area of research, I prepared my dissertation, "'We are Now a Mediterranean Power': Naval Competition and Great Power Competition in the Mediterranean, 1905-1914," for publication, and it has just been accepted by the Naval Institute. They plan to publish it in the Spring of 2014, bringing that project to a close a hundred years after the events it described came to an end. The contacts I've made at the Naval Academy, in particular, the Class of 1957 Chair, James Bradford, have been instrumental in the success of this project. I have also conducted research on a pair of events that I encountered while writing my dissertation. The first, the court martial of Admiral Ernest Troubridge, forms the focal point of an article that I am currently in the process of rewriting. The basis of this rewrite came after the terrifically constructive criticism I received from the Department's Works in Progress forum. The help I received there set me on a very productive path. I also used the time granted by the fellowship to get my ducks in a row on another article -- that is, reviewing documents, looking into secondary literature, and other work -- on the role the Mediterranean played in the policies laid down by Theophile Delcasse, a French statesman that served as both the Foreign Minister and Naval Minister in the early 20th Century. And, most recently, James Bradford asked me to contribute a chapter to "America, Sea Power and the World," detailing how the US Navy reacted to the European naval races of the early 20th Century.
I also had the opportunity to teach two new classes. In the fall, I taught a group of fresh plebes the History of the US Navy, which was a terrific experience. In addition to the challenge of teaching a new class, which is always a challenge I enjoy, I got to watch a class of young people adapting to their new environment and learn how to fit themselves into the world of the Academy. It was an entertaining class, and I hope the plebes learned as much as I did. In the spring, I taught an upper division class on the First World War, which focused mostly on military history. In this class, I had the opportunity to, for the first time, teach history majors. This was another great experience for me, especially when one considers that the majority of my students were First Class Midshipmen, wrapping up their time at the Academy and preparing to enter the Fleet or the Marines. I was surprised by the lack of "senioritis," the disease that usually affects people in the last term of their college career. The class was pretty lively and interested in the subject, and any slowness was a result of my inexperience. I took the opportunity to try a new method of teaching a course, turning over a great deal of the class to students and allowing them and their research to drive the class, rather than writing a series of lectures. I learned a great deal from the class, and, if I have the opportunity to teach it again, those students will benefit from the hard work and lessons I learned from the Mids in that class.
Overall, my experience here at the Academy this year is not one I would trade for any other. Professionally, my research and teaching have improved dramatically since my arrival. Personally, I had a great time and made new friends in the faculty, and I look forward to seeing how the careers of the Mids I taught unfold. I had the opportunity to take in several sporting events -- particularly football games, but some boxing and basketball, too -- and see a little of life outside the classroom and Bancroft for Midshipmen. While only time will tell if I'll do the Class of 1957 proud by being the first Class Fellow in Naval History, I can safely say that I'll never forget the time their support gave me here in Annapolis.
VII. 2013-2014 Professor Gene Allen Smith
Born and raised in North Alabama, Gene grew up on a small farm that raised cattle, and grew corn and soybeans. With such a background it was no surprise that he wanted to be a veterinarian. Fortunately a college course in chemistry put him on the path to becoming a historian. Gene completed both his undergraduate (BA 1984) and graduate training (MA 1987, PhD 1991) in history at Auburn University (WAAAAR EAGLE!!! Inserted by WebMeister!!) in Auburn, Alabama. Studying early American history, he wrote a dissertation on the politics of the Jeffersonian gunboat program and then spent three years teaching at Montana State University-Billings. Since arriving at TCU during the fall of 1994, Gene has been teaching U.S. survey history and undergraduate and graduate level courses on early American history. He is currently serving as the Director of the Center for Texas Studies, and holds a joint appointment with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History as the Curator of History.
Gene's major publications include the following books: The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Nexus of Empire: Negotiating Loyalty and Identity in the Revolutionary Borderlands, 1760s-1820s (University Press of Florida, 2010); A British Eyewitness at the Battle of New Orleans: The Memoir of Royal Navy Admiral Robert Aitchison, 1808-1827 (Historic New Orleans Collection, 2004); Thomas ap Catesby Jones: Commodore of Manifest Destiny (Naval Institute Press, 2000); a revised and updated edition of Arsène Lacarrière Latour's, Historical Memoir of the War in West Florida and Louisiana, 1814-15: With an Atlas (The Historic New Orleans Collection and the University Press of Florida, 1999); Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821, with Frank L. Owsley, Jr., (University of Alabama Press, 1997); Iron and Heavy Guns: Duel Between the "Monitor" and "Merrimac", (McWhiney Foundation Press, 1996); and, "For the Purpose of Defense": The Politics of the Jeffersonian Gunboat Program (University of Delaware Press, 1995). He is presently working on a study of the Battle of New Orleans, as well as an American military history textbook. Additionally, Gene has received internal research awards from Montana State University-Billings and TCU, as well as fellowships from the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Virginia Historical Society, the U.S. Department of the Navy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Gene is an active member of several organizations, most notably the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic-currently acting as the organization's Treasurer-and the North American Society for Oceanic History. He is also the co-editor of the Naval Institute Press’s book series “New Perspective on Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology,” and editor of the University Press of Florida book series “Contested Boundaries.” Married to Tracy, they have one son and two dogs (Mini & Archie); Gene's hobbies include watching sports (since I am no longer able to participate), cooking (as I still like to eat), traveling, and gardening.
Professor Smith’s Report on 2013-2014 Activities
This academic year has been enjoyable and I truly benefitted from the experience, despite the hardships I encountered. The Class of 1957 was truly welcoming and made this an incredible experience for me. My frustration stems from the Department of Defense budget restrictions, the government shut down in October 2013, and a winter that resulted in too many canceled classes. Neither the Class of 1957 nor the History Department could do anything about these situations. Despite these setbacks, my highlights of the year include:
HH 104: American Naval History (18 Students)
HH 346: The American Revolution and the Early Republic, 1760-1820 (18 Students)
HH 104: American Naval History (18 students)
HH 462B: The War of 1812 (12 students)
Midshipmen as Students
I have spent the last twenty years teaching at an exclusive private university in Texas (TCU) where we have generally affluent and moderately bright students. In this environment, I can expect students to work hard to succeed, and push them with additional assignments when I find them slacking or not reading. I found that was not an option here at USNA; a midshipman suggested to me that once I provided them with the syllabus, they allocated their time and schedule based on the assignments for all of their classes. When I made an additional assignment, they were frustrated and the quality of their work lapsed. I also learned that I had to reduce the number of pages for the weekly reading assignments.
I did assign several out-of-class writing projects, e.g., term paper, short essays based on reading, etc., which has also become required in all history classes. I found that their writing, while technically sound, did lack creativity and did not have the base of research that I generally expect. Students too frequently think they can do all of their research online, even when I arranged a library/archives tour to show them the base of materials at their fingertips. If my students at TCU do not do the primary research necessary in a paper, their grade will be adversely affected; had I done the same here at USNA, many of the students most likely would have failed the course. Additionally, I gave essay exams, providing them a list of essay prompts before the test and again they did not provide quality answers. From what one midshipman mentioned to me, they balance their effort across classes and as a result sometimes put less effort into an individual class so they can improve in another class.
It is somewhat difficult to compare midshipmen with students at Texas Christian University. TCU is about 60% female, and my classes often have 60-70% women. Here at USNA, I had only four female students the entire year—three in my fall HH104, and one in my fall HH346. I am convinced that having women in class creates an environment of civility and usually drives male students to perform better. My Naval History was a plebe class taught to sections of 18 at the Academy, while my freshman survey American History classes at TCU often have as many as 40. The enrollments in my upper division courses were 18 during the fall and 12 during the spring, and included students from disciplines across the yard; my upper level TCU classes are approximately the same size. In these classes, the midshipmen performed a bit lower on exams, but did better on out-of-class writing assignments. Although they do not conduct deep research, they know how to write papers because they have done more research papers than TCU students. I also believe USNA history students received more feedback from their professors on those papers than TCU students receive. This attention is a result of the dedication of Academy faculty to working closely with every student while at TCU contact between undergraduate students and faculty members depends more on the student seeking out the instructor to discuss research materials and comments on papers returned.
One of the most revealing things, USNA history majors do not take as many advanced history courses as TCU history majors. Students who enroll in my TCU American Revolution class may have also taken classes in British, French, Spanish or Latin American history of the period. This breadth, created by the numbers of hours required by the major, give TCU students a stronger background in the subject field than midshipmen.
In conclusion, I find that the midshipmen are bright but are often weak in history, geography, and current events. They are willing to work, but often no harder than necessary given their other assignments. They also appreciate special attention, support, and encouragement. Finally, they will rise to new levels of expectation when presented with the challenge.
History Department Participation:
Attendance at HH104 “Charm School” (and leading one session) during which instructors discuss strategies for teaching the course, potential assignments, themes to be developed, etc. This proved beneficial to me and to the other rotational officers. Based on my wide reading in American history, I was often able to provide broader context for Naval History.
Other activities include attending department “Works in Progress” sessions, reading article manuscripts for two colleagues, serving on the student prize committee, and on the committee to select the 2014-15 Class of 1957 Distinguished Chair in Naval Heritage.
One of the great advantages of this position is that because it does not involve any serious administrative or committee duties, the Chair holder can work on their scholarship, and present a number of public addresses where I was introduced as the Class of 1957 chair holder. Among these public addresses were the following:
1. McMullen Keynote Address on Naval History: “Brown Water, Blue Water: The Naval Battle for New Orleans.” McMullen Naval History Symposium, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, September 19-21, 2013.
2. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” to the Capital Historical Society, Washington, D.C., May 21, 2014.
3. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” to the Friends of the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland, May 12, 2014.
4. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” for the First Saturday Program at Andersonville National Historic Site, Andersonville, Georgia, May 3, 2014.
5. Presentation, “British Destruction in the Chesapeake: The War of 1812,” to the Historical Society of Kent County, Chestertown, Maryland, April 25, 2014.
6. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” to the Historical Society of Kent County, Georgetown, Maryland, April 24, 2014.
7. VADM Ralph L. and Frances Shifley Lecture at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum: “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812.” Annapolis, Maryland, April 23, 2014.
8. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” at Sotterley Plantation, Solomon’s Island, Maryland, April 13, 2014.
9. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” at the University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, April 8, 2014.
10. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” at Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio, April 7, 2014.
11. Keynote Address, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” at the FSU History Graduate Student Conference, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, March 29, 2014.
12. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, March 27, 2014.
13. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” at Gunston Hall, Mason Neck, Virginia, March 9, 2014.
14. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812” at Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, February 18, 2014.
15. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides During the War of 1812” to the Department of History, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, November 25, 2013.
16. Chiles Florida History Lecture: “The Slaves’ Gamble” Choosing Sides During the War of 1812,” at Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, November 21, 2013.
17. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides During the War of 1812” to the Alexandria Historical Society, Alexandria, Virginia, October 23, 2013.
18. Presentation, “First Great American Victory: New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, and a New United States” to the Michigan War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission’s “Remember the Forgotten Conflict: Reflections of the War of 1812” Conference, Detroit, Michigan, October 14, 2013.
19. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides During the War of 1812” to the 17th National War of 1812 Symposium, Baltimore, Maryland, October 5, 2013.
20. Banner Lecture: “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides During the War of 1812” at the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia, September 4, 2013.
21. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides During the War of 1812” to the St. Michaels Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, Maryland, August 24, 2013.
22. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides During the War of 1812” to the Niagara Historical Society, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, August 15, 2013.
23. Presentation, “The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides During the War of 1812” to the USS Constitution and the War of 1812 National Endowment for the Humanities, Landmarks of American History and Culture Teacher Education Workshop, Boston, Massachusetts, August 7, 2013.
24. Presentation, The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812 to the Southern Maryland School District Social Studies Teachers, Solomon’s Island, Maryland, August 5, 2013.
25. Presentation, The Slaves’ Gamble: The British attack against St. Michaels, Maryland at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, Maryland, July 27, 2013.
In addition to these many public presentations, I secured a contract for my co-authored U.S. military history textbook with Oxford University Press, which will have a naval dimension unlike many military textbooks. In my proposal I included an acknowledgement to the Class of 1957 and to my position as Chairholder; I will repeat this claim when the book is published, most likely during the fall of 2016. I also completed several book chapters and a magazine article on the September 1814 British naval attack against Fort Bowyer on Mobile Bay.
I truly enjoyed working with those colleagues in the History Department whom I only knew by their reputation. I am very impressed with the scholarship and commitment of this group. The USNA History Department is a high-energy, dedicated, professional group of scholars and teachers who take their work seriously without taking themselves seriously. With remarkably few exceptions, there is a genuine sense of a shared mission within this department that is too often absent in departments elsewhere. I am honored to have been part of this academic family for the last ten months.
In addition, I enjoyed meeting and getting to know several members of the Class of 1957. I was able to attend two class luncheons, and attended a class tailgates during football season. Unfortunately, no class members were able to visit my classes during the year.
Miscellaneous Professional Activities:
Reviewed seven books for scholarly journals, published four on-line articles for the National Park Service, and evaluated three manuscripts for academic publishers. Additionally, I served as Vice President of the North American Society for Oceanic History and as Treasure of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
I continued working with graduate students at TCU, my home institution, including administering PhD qualifying examinations to one student, serving on the examination committee of one student, and reading dissertation chapters for one of my advisees and another student. Graduate students seem to find you wherever you go.
Finally, I want to thank the Class of 1957 for its generosity. The creation and funding of this Chair, and of the Post-doctorate Fellowship, have made, and will continue to make, a meaningful and substantial contribution to the Naval Academy’s academic excellence.
Gene Allen Smith