Albert Bushnell Hart (1854–1943) was a classmate of Theodore Roosevelt’s at Harvard—Class of 1880. Hart was one of the outstanding members of the first generation of professionally trained historians in the United States, and became, as Samuel Eliot Morison said, “The Grand Old Man” of American history. He was the author and editor of many works, including the American Nation Series (1903–1918), the Harvard guides to history, Slavery and Abolition, etc. He was president of both the American Historical Association and the American Political Science Association. With Andrew C. McLaughlin he edited the Cyclopedia of American Government (3 vols., 1914). Always a loyal follower and friend of his classmate, the TR Cyclopedia was his last work, on which he labored, after retiring as a professor at Harvard, as his health declined. In Harvard College Class of 1880, Fiftieth Anniversary Report—1930, Hart spoke of the Roosevelt book. “...It will be a very interesting and agreeable service to the memory of our great classmate,” he wrote.
The Cyclopedia was commissioned and published by the then Roosevelt Memorial Association— subsequently renamed the Theodore Roosevelt Association. Hart was a Trustee of the RMA and worked with the organization’s publications committee for many years. To help the elderly scholar and complete the book, as well as to do much of the research and leg-work, the Association engaged Herbert Ronald Ferleger (1914–1973), a graduate student, teacher, and professional researcher. Ferleger graduated from
Temple in 1934, received an M.A. from Columbia in 1935, and completed his Ph.D. in political science at Columbia in 1942. He was a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institute, and worked for some years as a researcher at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace in New York City for the Roosevelt Memorial Association.
William Allen White, the honored “Sage of Emporia, Kansas,” one of the most respected newspaper men of this century, wrote a colorful and perceptive Foreword for the Cyclopedia. White, like Hart a Trustee of the RMA, had been an ardent follower of TR and a close friend, also like Hart.
John Allen Gable, who is editor of the new edition, has been the Executive Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Association since 1974. He is the Association’s third director since its founding in 1919. Gable graduated from Kenyon College in 1965, and received a Ph.D. in history from Brown University in 1972. He is the author of The Bull Moose Years: Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party (1978), and is the editor of the quarterly Theodore Roosevelt Association Journal, which he established in 1975.
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