Note: Last updated in March 2014
If the modern study of history had a passport, likely it would be German, or at least as German as Leopold von Ranke. Perhaps it comes as no surprise, then, that the first holder of PhD in History to teach at Indiana University arrived on campus in in 1886, a Virginian by the name of Richard Dabney, recently returned from study in Heidelberg. IU President David Jordan had invited Woodrow Wilson to teach at Indiana, but Prof. Wilson instead took a position at Princeton before suggesting Dabney. Unfortunately, Dabney soon fell out with President Jordan and accepted an appointment at the University of Virginia. His replacement can claim the title of founder of history at IU - James Woodburn. Himself a graduate of Indiana University (class of 1873), a native of Bloomington, and holder of a PhD in History granted in 1890 from Johns Hopkins University, his arrival to teach at IU was the start of a long and prolific career.
In a picture dated ca. 1890 of then graduate student Woodburn at Johns Hopkins [second from left], one can read an aphorism of the time that still remains for many today: History is past Politics and Politics present History. There are many historians (and one assumes political scientists) that may disagree with this statement, but perhaps this picture can stand in part as evidence for Woodburn's foundation of the joint Department of History and Political Science, over which he presided from 1895 until 1924, nearly thirty years.
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