Dr. Ronald Hoffman, an eminent scholar of the American Revolution, passed away earlier this month. He was the longest-serving Director of the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, editor of the papers of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and a prolific author.
He looms especially large in all the research I’ve done and am doing, because he co-edited An Uncivil War: The Southern Backcountry During the American Revolution, one of fifteen volumes based on a series of conferences he convened under the aegis of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. An Uncivil War is indispensable to any study of the Revolutionary backcountry, and is perhaps the most valuable secondary source on that subject I’ve ever encountered.
On a personal note, I had the honor of eating lunch with Dr. Hoffman years ago as an M.A. student. He patiently listened to me talk about my (then very nebulous) research and was generous with his advice. He was a giant in the field, but he treated me like a colleague. The reminiscences I’ve read from other students and junior scholars over the past few days indicate that such kindness was typical of him.
The Omohundro Institute sponsors a postdoctoral fellowship in his name. For information on how to donate, along with details about a celebration of his life scheduled for next month at William and Mary, click here.