"I came out of a generation that got touched by fire."
James Patrick Shenton (1925–2003)
Columbia College 1949, PhD 1954
James Shenton was a noted historian of nineteenth-and twentieth-century America, with special expertise in the Civil War and Reconstruction; radical movements, ethnicity, and immigration; and World War II. A popular and highly regarded teacher, both of history and in Columbia College's Contemporary Civilization program, Shenton also directed the history department's summer session for many years. He served as departmental consultant, departmental representative, and University senator, and in 1965 helped to found the Double Discovery Center, a tutoring and mentoring program for low-income teens. Shenton's published works include Robert John Walker: A Politician from Jackson to Lincoln (1960), An Historian's History of the United States (1967), American Cooking: The Melting Pot (1973) and Free Enterprise Forever: Scientific American in the 19th Century (1979). He edited many books as well, notably the eight-volume Perspectives in American History. In the 1960s Shenton taught a 76-hour survey course on public television, The Rise of the American Nation.