Ralph Henry Gabriel - Wikiwand
For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Ralph Henry Gabriel.

Ralph Henry Gabriel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ralph Henry Gabriel
Born(1890-04-29)April 29, 1890
DiedApril 25, 1987(1987-04-25) (aged 96)
Mary Christine Davis (m. 1917)
Academic background
EducationBA., MA., PhD Yale University
Academic work
Sub-disciplineAmerican intellectual history
InstitutionsYale University
Doctoral studentsDavid M. Potter

Ralph Henry Gabriel (April 29, 1890 – April 25, 1987) was an American historian. He held the Sterling Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University and was the founding father of the American Studies Association.

Early life and education

Gabriel was born on April 29, 1890, in Reading, New York, to parents Cleveland and Alta Monroe Gabriel. He earned his Bachelor of Arts, Masters of Arts and Ph.D. at Yale University before serving in the U.S. Army Infantry during World War I.[1]


Gabriel joined the faculty of Yale in 1915.[2] Simultaneously, Gabriel was hired as a general editor of The Pageant of America, an eventual 15-volume series of pictorial history of the development of the United States.[3]

In 1931, he collaborated with Stanley Thomas Williams, an English professor, to teach a course entitled "American Thought and Civilization."[4][5] He claimed the course "stressed the systematic study of the history of the viewpoints of American writers, scholars, statesmen and reformers."[2] Afterwards, Gabriel served as chairman of the history department from 1931 to 1934.[1] Fellow professor William Robert Hutchison cited Gabriel as a mentor in the history department and called him a "perennial teacher and friend".[6] In 1938, Gabriel worked alongside Mabel B. Casner, a Connecticut schoolteacher, to publish The Rise of American Democracy.[7]

A few years later, in 1940, Gabriel published The course of American democratic thought through the Ronald Press Company.[8] Although writing as a historian, Gabriel used anthropology to examine how America's "climate of opinion" affected society.[9] He would go on to serve as director of Yale Studies for Returning Service Men from 1944 to 1946 and lecture at the United States School of Military Government.[1] He held the title of Larned Professor of American History from 1935 to 1948 before he was appointed to a Sterling Professor.[1] In 1941, Gabriel published a biography on Elias Boudinot through the University of Oklahoma Press.[10] In 1946, Gabriel founded a new department at Yale, entitled the American Studies Department, and later went on to be a founding father of the American Studies Association. However, Gabriel would end up resigning from the American Studies Department in protest during the Cold War.[11] Gabriel was upset that Yale accepted a $500,000 donation on the condition the department focus on "the fundamental principles of American freedom in the field of politics and economics in order to combat the meaning of foreign philosophies".[11] As he remained a professor at Yale, Gabriel achieved the rank of a professor emeritus in 1958 after he retired that June.[12]

In 1958, Gabriel served as a committee member on the US National Commission for UNESCO and was a US delegate at the UNESCO conference in Paris.[13] During his lengthy tenure at Yale, Gabriel also served as the editor of the Library of Congress Series in American Civilization.[14]

Awards and honors

In 1958, Gabriel was the recipient of an honorary degree from Williams College.[15]

In 1966, Gabriel was awarded a DeVane Medal from Yale's Phi Beta Kappa chapter.[16] In 1975, he was the recipient of the Wilbur Cross Medal for "distinguished achievements in scholarship, teaching, academic administration, and public service".[17]

Every year, the American Studies Association awards the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize to the best doctoral dissertation in American studies, ethnic studies, or women's studies.[14]

Personal life

Gabriel married Mary Christine Davis in 1917 and they had three children together.[1]

Selected publications

The following is a list of selected publications:[18]

  • Elias Boudinot, Cherokee & his America (1941)
  • The Rise of American Democracy (1951)
  • The course of American democratic thought: an intellectual history since 1815 (1956)
  • Traditional values in American life (1960)
  • American values: continuity and change (1974)


  1. ^ a b c d e "Gabriel, Ralph Henry, 1890–1987". snaccooperative.org. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Ralph Gabriel, 96, Dies; Taught at Yale for 43 Years". The New York Times. April 25, 1987. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  3. ^ "THE YALE BANNER AND POT POURRI". archive.org. 1926. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  4. ^ Vanderbilt, Kermit (1989). American Literature and the Academy: The Roots, Growth, and Maturity of a Profession. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 489. ISBN 0812212916. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  5. ^ John Carlos Rowe (2010). A Concise Companion to American Studies. John Wiley & Son. p. 23. ISBN 9781444319088. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  6. ^ "William Robert Hutchison". The Harvard Gazette. September 18, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  7. ^ Lepore, Jill (October 16, 2005). "People Power". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  8. ^ Brinton, Crane. "1940 REVIEWS". digitalcommons.law.yale.edu. p. 359. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  9. ^ E. H. Eby (July 1940). "Reviewed Work: The Course of American Democratic Thought: An Intellectual History Since 1815 by Ralph Henry Gabriel". The Pacific Northwest Quarterly. 31 (3): 361–363. JSTOR 41441156.
  10. ^ Miller, Perry (April 1, 1942). "Elias Boudinot, Cherokee, and his America. By Ralph Henry Gabriel. [The Civilization of the American Indian". The American Historical Review. 47 (3). doi:10.2307/1840031. JSTOR 1840031. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Lepore, Jill (2013). The Story of America: Essays on Origins. Princeton University Press. p. 11. ISBN 9780691159591. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  12. ^ "Historical News and Comments". The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 45 (3): 537. December 1958. JSTOR 1889354.
  13. ^ "Gabriel to speak at McAllister Conference". Winnipeg Manitoban. Winnipeg. October 1, 1965. p. 11.Free to read
  14. ^ a b "About the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize". theasa.net. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  15. ^ "Eight get honorary degrees at Williams Commencement". Pittsfield Berkshire Eagle. Massachusetts. June 9, 1958. p. 20.Free to read
  16. ^ "DeVane Medalists". pbk.yalecollege.yale.edu. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "List of Past Wilbur Cross Recipients Medalists by Year". gsas.yale.edu. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  18. ^ "Gabriel, Ralph Henry". worldcat.org. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Ralph Henry Gabriel
Listen to this article