Emory History Department Newsletter-May 2007

Dr. William Beik
William Beik
Upon the Occasion of his Retirement

by Thomas S. Burns

William Beik, henceforth Bill, received his PhD from Harvard University in 1969, and came to Emory from Northern Illinois University as an Associate Professor of History in 1990. Among his many honors and awards are: grants from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Bill’s first book, Absolutism and Society in Seventeenth-Century France had already won the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association for best book in early modern European History prior to his arrival on our campus.  Once at Emory his career shifted into high gear with the publication of his second major book, again by Cambridge University Press, entitled Urban Protest in Seventeenth-Century France: the Culture of Retribution. Always the Cambridge Press-man, Bill has long been editor of their monograph series, “New Approaches to European History”, now with 26 volumes in print and an expanding chronological scope. A third book, numerous scholarly articles and an unsurpassed capacity to review books, round out his publications, but all these many pages of Beik in print do not suffice to convey how much he will be missed by the Department of History.

Bill Beik is a quiet man of utmost rigor, equaled only by his integrity and concern for his students and colleagues.  any of our very best scholarly efforts carry with them a debt to his careful reading of our manuscripts and precisely given advice. In an age when those most shrill command so much attention, Bill has gained our admiration and deepest respect for his integrity, blindness as to rank, and to his ubiquitous sensitivity as a member of our community of scholars.

Farewell, and Best WishesHis friends and colleagues wish him great happiness and fulfillment in his retirement.


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