UMass Amherst History Department Appointments

History Professor Appointed Co-Chair of Annual Meeting of Organization of Amherican Historians

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts history professor Bruce Laurie has been appointed co-chair of the program committee for the Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians in the year 2000. The meeting will take place in St. Louis, Mo., March 30-April 2, 2000. The theme is "The United States and the Wider World: Assessing Global Influence."

"We are inviting papers that explore the impact of global forces on the U.S. as well as the impact of the U.S. on different peoples and nations," says Laurie. "An obvious example is the Great Famine that struck Western Europe in l845 and hit Ireland with special fury, killing over a million people and triggering a Diaspora of over a million more. We imagine a panel of papers that would assess the force of the famine on Ireland and Western Europe in general and the impact of Irish immigrants on U.S. and perhaps Canadian and Australian politics and culture."

The former head of the history department, Laurie specializes in American working-class and immigration history. He joined the UMass history department in 1971.

History Professor Elected Amherst Historical Society President

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts history professor Ron Story has been elected president of the Amherst Historical Society. The society, which has 300 members, operates the Amherst History Museum at the Strong House in downtown Amherst, and mounts numerous exhibits and programs in local history each year.

A U.S. social and military historian at UMass since 1972, Story says his primary goals for the society will be to maintain current program levels, to beautify the Strong House, and to build a permanent endowment. "We plan to commission drawings to dramatize how attractive and important a renovated and restored Strong House might be for the community," Story says.

Story also hopes to repeat last year’s series of public lectures by members of the UMass history department, which he calls a "marvelous example of town-gown cultural collaboration."