Guest Blog: Find the Lost Children

Today’s post originally appeared at “From the Square,” the blog of New York University Press, the publisher of Jim Marten’s forthcoming Children and Youth during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, an anthology of original essays. You can read cropped-fromsqfinalthe blog at Marten is professor and department chair.

Legacies of the Great War

One of the responsibilities of History Department is to share their research and the research of others with our students and the larger Marquette and Milwaukee communities. In this post, Julius Ruff introduces a major lecture series for Fall 2014 (sponsored by the department, with major help from other academic units) that will commemorate the centenary of the First World War. All are welcome to attend! Jim Marten, Editor

Legacies of the Great War

WWI Poster

Find out more about the series at our website.

The year 2014 marks the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War, a conflict known as “the Great War” to those who fought in it. In many ways the latter appellation is a more apt characterization of the war which the historian of Germany, Fritz Stern, called “the first calamity of the twentieth century, the calamity from which all the other calamities sprang.” The war decimated a generation of young men, but it also carried away the established social and political order of 1914 and, in its imperfect peace settlement, paved the way for a Communist revolution in Russia, the rise of fascist dictatorships in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, a second world war, and ultimately a Cold War which, recent events in Ukraine suggest, did not end completely with the break-up of the Soviet Union. Beyond Europe, the Middle East continues to be shaken by conflicts whose roots we may trace to the actions of European statesmen during and after the First World War and in Africa and Asia the war in many ways paved the way for the eventual end of western imperial control.

The History Department, with assistance from the Law School, the Gender and Sexuality Resources Center, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, is observing the war’s centennial with a symposium, “Legacies of Great War,” that will bring several key scholars to campus to reflect on the war. Each visiting scholar will deliver a major address and participate in a panel discussion with scholars from Marquette and the Milwaukee area.

The symposium opens on September 8, 2014, at 4:00-5:30 PM in Raynor Library’s Beaumier Suite BC, with Professor Julius Ruff of Marquette delivering a lecture on “The Enduring Legacy of the Great War,” which will provide an overview of the war’s consequences.

Professor Leonard V. Smith, the Frederick B. Artz Professor of History at Oberlin College, will deliver the second major program in the symposium as the History Department’s Rev. Henry Casper, S.J., Lecturer. He is the author of Between Mutiny and Obedience: The Case of the Fifth French Infantry Division during World War I (1994), The Embattled Self: French Soldiers’ Testimony of the Great War (2007), and the forthcoming Sovereignty at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919: The “Laboratory over a Vast Cemetery.” He is also the co-author of France and the Great War, 1914-1918. Professor Smith will speak at 4:00-5:30 PM on September 15, in AMU 227 on “The War after the War: Drawing Boundaries at the Paris Peace Conference,” in which he will look particularly at the issues raised in drawing the borders of Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine. On September 16, Professor Smith will join our own Timothy McMahon and Philip Naylor, as well as Richard Friman from Political Science in a panel discussion of the war’s geo-political effects. Held from 9:30-10:45 in AMU 227, the panel will constitute both a meeting of Julius Ruff’s World War I course but also an opportunity for members of the University community to join in discussion of the war’s consequences.

Professor Irene Guenther of the University of Houston will be our third speaker. An historian of Germany, Dr. Guenther is the author of Nazi Chic? Fashioning Women in the Third Reich (2004) and is co-curator of a major art exhibition on the war, “Postcards from the Trenches,” which opened on August 19 in Washington at the Pepco Edison Gallery. She will speak on Oct. 1, at 4:00-5:30 PM, in Raynor Library Beaumier BC Suite on “The Great War in Art.” She will join Marquette’s Sarah Gendron (Foreign Languages), Leah Flack (English), and Peter Staudenmaier (History) in a panel discussion on Oct. 2 at 9:30-10:45 in Beaumier A on “The Cultural Impact of the Great War.” The panel will again be a part of the World War I class, but members of the University community are invited to attend.

Our final speaker will be Professor Martha Hanna of the University of Colorado-Boulder. She is the author of The Mobilization of Intellect: French Scholars and Writers during the Great War (1996) and the winner of the J. Russell Major Prize of the American Historical Association, Your Death Would be Mine: Paul and Marie Pireaud in the Great War (2006). She will present a lecture entitled “Their Hearts Remained at Home: Marriage and the Great War in Britain, France, and Canada” at 4:00-5:30 PM on Oct. 22 in Eckstein Hall. On Oct. 23, Dr. Hanna will join with Kristen Foster and Carla Hay for a panel discussion of “Gender and the Great War” at 9:30-10:45 AM in AMU 157. Members of the University community are invited to join the World War I class.

The final event in our symposium will be a panel discussion on the subject of ”Veterans of the Great War in Historic Context” bringing together John Boly (English), Alissa Condon (History), and Dr. William Lorber, a psychologist at the Zablocki Center who has worked with veterans suffering with PTSD. The panel will meet on Nov. 18 at 9:30-10:45 in Beaumier A and, once again, members of the University community are invited to attend.

is a long-time member of the History Department, where he teaches courses on the histories of France, crime and punishment, and the First World War. He is the author of Violence in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 (2001) and Crime, Justice and Public Order in Old Regime France: The Senechaussees of Libourne and Bazas,1696-1789 (1984) and co-author of the textbook Discovering the Western Past: A Look at the Evidence, which has gone through many editions.

Looking to the Past: Sensenbrenner Hall

By James Marten


A postcard of the “Historic Core”: Sensenbrrenner (far left), Johnston Hall, Jesu, and Marquette Hall.

Our first blog of the new academic year features our friend and colleague, J. Gordon Hylton, a professor in the MU Law School. When the new law school opened in 2010, Gordon wrote a pair of posts about the early days of the Law School when Sensenbrenner, not Eckstein Hall, was the “new” law school. The history department’s move to Sensenbrenner early this summer joined our history with the histories of the law school and the building, and I hope you enjoy these nostalgic accounts of our new home. Subsequent postings to Historians@Work during the 2014-2015 academic year will feature thoughts on hunting for treasure in Japan, exploring medieval Rome, and the centenaries of the First World War and the Panama Canal, among many other things.

Remembering Year 2 in Sensenbrenner Hall

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

The Dedication of Sensenbrenner Hall

Friday, August 27th, 2010


Prof. J. Gordon Hylton

J. Gordon Hylton is a graduate of Oberlin College, the University of Virginia Law School, and the PhD program in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University. Professor Hylton is the author or co-author of five books, which include Property Law and the Public Interest (1998; 2nd ed., 2003; 3rd ed., 2007); Professional Values and Individual Autonomy: The United States Supreme Court and Lawyer Advertising (1998); Sports Law and Regulation (1999); A Concise Introduction to Property Law (2011); and The Wisconsin Law of Wills and Trusts (2013).  He co-chaired the committee that created the Marquette Sports Law program in 1996 and 1997, and from 1997 to 1999, he was the Director of the National Sports Law Institute. His current research interests focus on the history of the legal profession and legal education, the history of civil rights, and the legal history of American sports. In 2011, he was designated “easily the best historian of sports law” the by the Sports Law Blog.

Thoughts on Moving, Change, and Asking “Why”

Carla Hay, our British historian and the senior member of Marquette’s department, found time during the move to Sensenbrenner Hall to reflect on the last time the history department changed buildings, from Grandmora Hall (located on the south side of Wisconsin at 13th street, where Cudahy Hall now sits) to Coughlin Hall, built in 1977. Although most members of the department came after the move, we have all been entertained with stories of the decrepit former home of history and the other humanities department.

We are now engaged in a great move, but not for the first time in the memory of at least some members of the History Department.  I don’t recall that the move from Grandmora to Coughlin was as personally challenging (traumatic) as the move from Coughlin to Sensenbrenner—but maybe that reflects the changes in my own acquisitiveness since the late 1970s, when the move to Coughlin occurred—I now have lots more to

Grandmora Hall.

Grandmora Hall.

move.   While some colleagues nostalgically remember Grandmora, my memory is of a dilapidated building with serious infrastructure issues (heating being foremost), [editor’s note: I have also heard stories of rats and the absence of telephones in individual offices.] so I welcomed the move to the new home of the Humanities where, unlike Grandmora, which had no interior halls connecting the four humanities (history, English, theology, and philosophy) there would be shared space and, supposedly an opportunity for community, although that proved less robust than hoped.

It was with great anticipation that the first weekend feasible I moved my decorative items to the brand new Coughlin Hall to personalize my new office.  I painted an old table and chair burnt orange to match the new color scheme of Coughlin and also bordered a print of Queen Elizabeth I in burnt orange.  I spent a Saturday afternoon hanging prints of British figures and scenes, inexpensively (cheaply) framed to decorate my new office and left that afternoon tired, but satisfied at the aesthetic effect of my labor.  When I returned the next Monday. I found most of my handiwork on the floor, many picture frames and glass shattered–just the first indication of a ventilation problem in Coughlin that caused vibrations so serious that offices had to be vacated over the years. I re-hung my pictures and once I got to relocate to an office overlooking the Quadrangle I came to really like History’s location in Coughlin Hall.

I wonder how our move from the Quad to the eastern fringes of the campus will affect the department’s engagement with students and colleagues in other departments, especially the humanities with whom we no longer share a building.  But as the transition from Grandmora to Coughlin represented a quantum improvement in the physical environment in which the History Department functioned, so also the move to Sensenbrenner provides exciting opportunities to engage our students and colleagues.   As a study space, Sensenbrenner provides an opportunity to engage students in a social way not possible, before. And the building also should prove a magnet for programming with other units of the University. So exciting times lie ahead.

On an even more personal note, as I packed my office, I came across a number of items—each of which required a decision whether to keep or toss. The most unexpected find was a promo pack of (four or six) cigarettes with an expiration date of 1989– these were frequently passed out on Wisconsin Avenue as “freebies” to hook students.  The hardest things to throw in the recycling bin were my journals and books—any books—because I truly love books.  A graduate student took my copies of the Journal of British Studies and Albion, but the American Historical  Review was dumpstered along with the Journal of Modern History.

Despite the trauma it inspires, de-accessioning (an interesting term) can be an opportunity to reflect on a life lived.  In my case, on the countless committees and professional associations—seemingly important and time consuming (big time) at the time but on so many different issues (gender equity issues in athletics, the MU women’s studies program, shared governance at MU) the process seemed to be two-steps forward and  one-step (or maybe three) back—and that can be depressing.  At the time I believed these efforts would have more consequence than in fact has proved to be the case.

So the move has been an opportunity, interspersed with trashing and packing, to reflect on my professional, and since they are intertwined, my personal life.  I do have a few regrets: I wish I could have pursued my interest in administration and regret I didn’t publish more, even though publications are also often ephemeral.  My greatest satisfaction:  having lived my entire life in an academic environment.  My mother and I lived with my grandmother during WWII while my father was in the service.  I apparently so frequently asked the question “Why?” that my grandmother contemplated throttling me if I asked “Why” one more time.  I still think “Why?” is the most important question. And I am so grateful that I have spent my life in an environment that encourages us to ask it.

*Courtesy Raynor Memorial Libraries digital collections.

Movin’ on Up—To the East Side (of Campus)

By James Marten, Professor and Department Chair

Although we’re not moving to a “deluxe apartment in the sky”—if you get that reference, you may be a baby boomer*–we are, indeed, settling into nicer and more comfortable accommodations in the completely refurbished Sensenbrenner Hall, the “old law school,” on the East edge of campus at 11th and Wisconsin.  If you were ever in the old law school—forget what you think it looks like.  The 1924 building was gutted; there are a few original features—stained glass windows, original tile on the stairs—but it’s mainly a nice mix of metal, wood, and glass throughout.  Many faculty offices have eleven-foot ceilings, and light bounces through the offices and hallways.  And our administrative assistant, Jolene Kreisler, has windows in her office for the first time!

Sensenbrenner Hall in 1923.

Sensenbrenner Hall in 1923.

The 1960s and 1970s additions to Sensenbrenner were torn down and replaced by a sleek, smaller addition containing elevators, stairs, restrooms, and wide hallways. The entire east side of the new building is glass, so we have a great view of downtown. The Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences occupy the first two levels; the main history office is on the third level, with faculty offices on the third and fourth levels. TAs occupy a mezzanine above the fourth level with, get this, a skylight that also provides light in a lounge area on the fourth level. We’ll provide pictures of the space after we get settled and hang some pictures, but feel free to stop by for tour.

Click here for more information about the project and an artist’s rendition of the new and improved Sensenbrenner.

But in addition to the big move, it’s also accurate to say that the theme for the History Department in 2013-2014 is movement—upward, forward, and, sadly, away.  Here are some highlights.

Two of our colleagues, Alison Clark Efford and Michael Wert, were promoted to associate professor with tenure.


Five colleagues published books (click on the title to go to the publisher’s website):

Michael Donoghue, Borderland on the Isthmus: Race, Culture, and the Struggle for the Canal Zone

John Krugler, Creating Old World Wisconsin: The Struggle to Build an Outdoor History Museum of Ethnic Architecture

James Marten, America’s Corporal: James Tanner in War and Peace

Peter Staudenmaier, Between Occultism and Nazism: Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era

Michael Wert, Meiji Restoration Losers: Memory and Tokugawa Supporters in Modern Japan


Altogether, members of the history department gave thirty-seven papers or lectures in seven countries and at least eleven states and were awarded grants to pursue research in Rome (Lezlie Knox, with an National Endowment for the Humanities Grant), Germany (Peter Staudenmaier), Washington, DC (also Peter), Chicago (Laura Matthew, with an NEH grant), and Philadelphia (Alison Efford).

Honors poured down on the department:

Daniel Meissner became the twelfth member of the History Department since 1965 to receive the Award for Teaching Excellence. Current members of the department who have also earned the award are John Krugler, Phil Naylor, Julius Ruff, and Steve Avella. Click here to read a transcript of Dan’s remarks at the Pere Marquette Banquet, where the awards were announced.

Lezlie Knox and Michael Donoghue were both finalists for the Excellence in Faculty Advising award from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Laura Matthew received the year-long Way-Klingler Sabbatical Award, while Peter Staudenmaier received the Way-Klingler Young Scholar Award, which pays for a semester-sabbatical and provides research funding.  Laura’s book, Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala, received two major books awards: the Howard Cline Memorial Prize from the Conference on Latin American History and the Murdo MacLeod Prize from the Latin American and Caribbean Section of Southern Historical Association

Of course, as in most years, the journeys we historians undertake also included departures: three doctoral students completed their degrees: Jeffrey Ramsey (whose dissertation was directed by Thomas Jablonsky) and McKayla Sutton and Timothy Lay (whose dissertations were both directed by Tim McMahon).

Finally, we say goodbye to two junior colleagues: Andrew Kahrl is leaving after his fifth year at Marquette to take a joint appointment with the history department and the Carter G. Woodson Center at the University of Virginia, while Sarah Bond, who just finished her second year at MU, will join the classics faculty at the University of Iowa.  We wish them well and appreciate their work at MU during their time here.

Look for more news of the department and for pictures of our new digs in the annual newsletter, which should be sent out via email by mid-summer.

*Of course, this is a lyric from the theme song of the 1970s sit-com The Jeffersons.  Listen to the entire song here.

Can a Vietnamese Catholic Be a Communist?

Heather Marie Stur, associate professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, is a Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam, where she is spending the 2013-14 academic year as a visiting professor in the international relations department at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City.  She received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an M.A. in history from Marquette.


Vietnamese Roman Catholic nuns in a commemorative procession

In the fall of 1969, a reporter for the Saigon-based magazine Đối Diện, a monthly Catholic publication, interviewed Father Nguyễn Ngọc Lan about his position on the Vietnam War and prospects for peace. Father Lan was a known peace advocate, which had led some to label him communist-leaning. When the reporter asked him about the accuracy of the label, he replied that if desiring peace and caring for the poor made him a communist, so be it. The way Fr. Lan saw it, if a peace settlement led the warring halves of Vietnam to be united under a communist government, that would be better than to remain at war while a corrupt non-communist government continued to hold power in Saigon. What should we choose, the priest asked, if given the choice between war and peace? Continue reading ‘Can a Vietnamese Catholic Be a Communist?’

Let’s Put on a Show (re-published)

Recently Jim Marten was asked to write a blog for the “Higher Ed Beta” section of the on-line journal Inside Higher Education.  He recalls his own experiences in the relatively early days of “digital humanities”–before they were called such–as director of the Children in Urban American Project.  See link below:’s-put-show#sthash.iYvEME9d.bOmO5xYc.dpbs


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