I attended sessions honoring three men at this year’s Southern.
On Friday afternoon was a session celebrating John Boles’ thirty years of editorial service to the Journal of Southern History. Ten former students and colleagues offered brief remarks and memories about Boles the individual and the editor. It was encouraging to hear about Boles’ collegiality and professionalism. I would agree with one assessment in particular: Boles helped make the JSH the premier history journal in the profession.
On Saturday night, I heard most of the session honoring Eugene Genovese and Bertram Wyatt-Brown, both of whom passed away last fall. I was struck by how differently the two men were presented (fiery Genovese and grandfatherly Bert) and by how much they continue to influence the profession. As several of us Twitterstorians discussed, it’s hard to pick out similarly towering figures in the profession today, because of specialization and other reasons.