SMU mourns the loss of Professor Jeremy duQuesnay Adams

Clements Department of History

SMU mourns the loss of Professor Jeremy duQuesnay Adams

Jeremy duQuesnay AdamsDistinguished SMU Professor of History Jeremy duQuesnay Adams, beloved by generations of students, honored by colleagues worldwide and the inspiration for a character in the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, died May 2, 2016 at the age of 82.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday, May 6, at 11:00 a.m. in Perkins Chapel.

More than 40 years ago, Adams and his wife, Bonnie Wheeler of SMU’s Department of English, came to SMU, where they invented SMU’s interdisciplinary Medieval Studies Program with colleagues across the University and the Dallas area. Through the years, Adams’ courses on medieval history played a central role in the expansion and growing reputation of this program, which now offers a popular undergraduate minor and major and a master’s degree. Adams also taught at and directed SMU study-abroad programs in France and Spain and, most frequently, in the SMU-in-Oxford program in England.

In 1999, Adams led a project for his course on “Millennialism Through the Ages” that resulted in a student-created University time capsule. The capsule, filled with 300 items representing life at SMU and in the world at large during the turn of the millennium, remains buried on campus to this day and is scheduled to be opened in the year 3000.

“[W]ho can resist the theatrical and passionate lectures by Jeremy Adams?” wrote alumna Claire Aldridge Heck ’84 in a testimonial during SMU’s Year of the Faculty in 2014. She loved his classes so much that “I took my children to the south of England and climbed around ancient sites just hoping to inspire them as he had inspired me.”

As former colleague Irina Dumitrescu says, “Jeremy duQuesnay Adams was one of the truest intellectuals I’ve ever known. The past was a living place for him: he spoke of Charlemagne or any given Pippin as though he had just lunched with them earlier in the week. His conversation was peppered with quotations in Latin, French, and half a dozen other languages, but he did it warmly, giving you the feeling you probably understood exactly what he was talking about. He taught and inspired generations of students, and his colleagues, too. He was a gentleman in the very best sense of the word: elegant, good-humoured, wickedly funny in the most dignified possible way.”

In 2012, Adams was honored with the first Centennial Professorship established in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The gift that endowed the professorship came from many friends and former students, especially Adams’ former students Stephen and Kathryn Hedges Arata. Their generosity reflected the lasting impact Adams has made with generations of SMU students. “Jeremy Adams created a sense of academic curiosity and desire for learning that I possess to this day,” Kathryn Arata said when the Adams Centennial Professorship was announced. “Now that Stephen and I are in a position to pay back (actually pay forward) the gifts he gave us, we wanted to do something that would be close to Jeremy’s heart. He is passionate about his subject, and we have given this endowment to ensure that his passion will continue to light the fires of academic curiosity in students for years to come.”

Adams lectured and wrote widely on early medieval European thought and society. He loved the Latin language and the vital complexity of the human past. He was a frequent participant in the national Great Courses program and was often featured in films for the History Channel. He was a member of various professional societies, the Signet Society (Cambridge, Massachusetts), and the Elizabethan Club (New Haven, Connecticut).

In 2005, a group of Adams’ colleagues and former students in medieval history created Medieval Paradigms, a two-volume festschrift to honor Adams. The two books contain more than 25 essays by as many contributors, each exploring different facets of medieval life and culture.

Its editor, Stephanie Hayes-Healy, then of Trinity College Dublin, wrote, “Jeremy belongs to a generation of trail-blazing academics who pushed historical scholarship into a three-dimensional world, a world complete with the complexities of human existence, and with a consciousness of the artificial nature of imposed boundaries, especially those among separate academic disciplines. Historians of his generation, armed with respect for but a healthy mode of criticism of those who came before them, went to work on reconstructing the past as much as possible with the newly broadened choice of analytical tools and structures at their disposal. Jeremy’s creative insight as a scholar and a teacher served him well over the years, and have served his students as well.” This serious honor was preceded by a playful pseudo-academic set of essays produced in 1974, when Adams was leaving Yale for SMU. Lamentationes Ieremiae (Lamentations of Jeremy, the Latin name of the book of Lamentations in the Bible), edited by distinguished scholars James J. O’Donnell and Stuart Jenks, can be found on the Georgetown University website.

Professor Adams was born in New Orleans on Oct. 1, 1933. His father, Philip Rhys Adams, long Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, was from a family dedicated to the ministry before and after they crossed the Atlantic to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere. His mother, Marie Rose Françoise Constance le Mercier du Quesnay, Vicomtesse de Jumécourt, was the daughter of a French family long settled in Louisiana. Jeremy, their eldest child, was raised in New Orleans and in Columbus, Ohio. He was schooled at the Columbus Academy, and the Jesuit High School in New Orleans, attended Georgetown College and graduated from Harvard College (Adams House) in 1955.

His mentors were his cousin Edwin Reischauer (whose famous survey of East Asian History, fondly called ‘Rice Paddies,’ was as notable as his Sunday family dinners in Belmont of roast beef and rice); historian Crane Brinton; historian Myron Gilmore, son-in-law of Alfred North Whitehead; and historian Giles Constable. After retiring as Captain from his service in the U.S. Army Artillery, he taught at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. He subsequently returned to Harvard for graduate school and completed his Ph.D. in History in 1967. A tutor in Dunster House at Harvard, Adams then taught at Yale, where he also served as a resident fellow of Calhoun College. He came to Southern Methodist University from 1974 and dedicated his life to teaching SMU students both in Dallas and abroad.

One of Adams’ Harvard classmates and Yale colleagues was Erich Segal, who would later gain fame as a novelist and the author of Love Story. Segal was a credited screenwriter on the Beatles’ hit animated feature, Yellow Submarine. Adams’ long and lyrical full name – Jeremy Yvon duQuesnay Adams – as well as his classical erudition, inspired the author to base the character of the Beatles’ mentor on his old friend. As Adams recently summarized the Odyssey-based plot, “The heroes take a yellow submarine to rescue the people of Pepperland who have been imprisoned undersea by the Blue Meanies, an army of cruel, wicked creatures. The heroes are the Beatles, whose powerful music frees the people; they are led by Young Fred, the very old mayor of Pepperland, and assisted in many surprising ways by Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD [né Jeremy Y. duBoob]. ‘Ad hoc, ad loc, et quid pro quo / so little time, so much to know.’ Jeremy helps put the Blue Meanies to rout by pirouetting on one toe and singing, “All You Need is Love.”

Adams received numerous honors during his distinguished academic career. At Yale, he received the DeVane Medal of that university’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter and the national Danforth Foundation’s E. Harris Harbison Award for Gifted Teaching. At SMU, he was awarded the Perrine Prize from SMU’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter and was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor. He received several Outstanding Professor Awards, as well as the “M” Award, SMU’s highest award for distinguished service. He was the author or editor of seven books and numerous academic articles.

Professor Adams is survived by his wife Bonnie Wheeler of Dallas (with whom he renewed wedding vows this past Sunday, May 1); his daughter Constance Adams of Houston, Texas, and her daughters Mathilde and Valerie; by his son Charles Scott of Prince George, British Columbia, and his children and their families; by numerous beloved godchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins; and by his students.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Medieval Studies Program at SMU (PO Box 750402; Dallas 75275-0402).

May 5, 2016|News|

2015 SMU Stanton Sharp Lecture explores Texas’ hidden Civil War history, Wednesday, Oct. 14

2015 SMU Sharp Lecture, 'A War That Could Not End at Appomattox,' Gregory P. DownsWhen Texans study the history of the Civil War in grade school, they learn it ended when General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox on April 8, 1865, and that Texas played a relatively small role in the conflict.

Historian Greg Downs argues these lessons are wrong on both counts in his new book, After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War. He will challenge the traditional teachings during a lecture, Q&A and book signing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“Greg Downs wants to challenge the idea the Civil War reached a neat and tidy end in April of 1865,” says History Chair Andrew Graybill. “What Greg does well is extend the geographical scope to the West. A big focus of his book is Texas, which was one of the last Confederate states to surrender.”

> More on the Stanton Sharp Lectures and Symposium

During Reconstruction, 50,000 Union Army troops were deployed to Texas, which proved the most difficult of the former Confederate states to subdue. At any given time between 1866 and 1870, 40 to 50 percent of the Union troops stationed in the south were garrisoned in Texas.

“People in Texas were still being bought and sold after Appomattox,” Downs says. “Texans still thought slavery would stay. Army officers were imprisoned and murdered in Texas. In some ways, the Civil War was just beginning in Texas as it was ending elsewhere in the South.”

Written by Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s William P. Clements Department of History online: smu.edu/history

October 8, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News|

James K. Hopkins is inaugural recipient of SMU’s Second Century Faculty Career Achievement Award

Dedman Faculty James K Hopkins PortraitJames K. Hopkins, professor of history and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has been named the inaugural recipient of SMU’s Second Century Faculty Career Achievement Award, announced by the Office of the Provost Friday, April 17, 2015.

In his honor, the James K. Hopkins SMU Second Century Faculty Career Achievement Scholarship has been created and will be awarded to a student in SMU’s fall 2015 entering class.

In addition, he has received the 2015 SMU Faculty Club Mentor Supereminens Award, recognizing “exceptional mentoring of the University’s faculty and students.”

“Professor Hopkins’ achievements exemplify a career of outstanding accomplishment in scholarship, teaching and sustained commitment to the University,” the award citation reads. “[H]is academic merits are complemented by a career of service to furthering SMU’s engagement in world-changing issues.”

“I simply cannot imagine a more deserving recipient of this award than Jim Hopkins, who is nothing less than a University treasure,” says Andrew Graybill, professor and chair of the William P. Clements Department of History and co-director of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies. “Across a career spanning more than four decades, Jim has served his students, the SMU community and the world beyond our campus borders with extraordinary grace and commitment. It is so fitting that an incoming student will receive a scholarship in Jim’s name, so that his legacy will continue.”

Hopkins joined SMU in 1974 and for several years served as director of undergraduate studies in the Department of History. He also served as associate dean for general education in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He chaired the Clements Department of History from 2001 to 2007. As president of the Faculty Senate, he served as a member of SMU’s Board of Trustees. In 2011, during the 100th-anniversary year of the University’s founding, he chaired the SMU Centennial Academic Symposium, “The University and the City.”

An early advocate of education beyond the campus, Hopkins co-founded SMU’s Inter-Community Experience (ICE) Program combining learning with service. Deeply involved in study abroad, he was founding director of SMU-in-Oxford and also served as director of SMU-in-Britain.

In 2001 Hopkins became one of the first recipients of the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award and a member of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

Other University honors include the “M” Award, SMU’s most prestigious award for outstanding service; the Phi Beta Kappa Perrine Prize for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship; four Rotunda Outstanding Professor Awards; the United Methodist Church Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award; Faculty Volunteer of the Year Award for “exemplary leadership in the greater Dallas community”; and on four occasions the Willis M. Tate Award for contributions to student life. He received the Distinguished University Citizen Award in 2005 and is a five-time recipient of the HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Award, given by student staff members in SMU Residence Life and Student Housing. He has been a long-time adviser to the University’s President’s Scholars Program.

Hopkins teaches courses on modern Britain and European social and intellectual history, modern European history, women in European history, and service learning related to Dallas. From his course on the social history of atomic energy, he wrote and narrated a film used for an academic orientation, “The University and the Fate of the Earth.” The film received a Silver Award from the New York International Film and TV Festival. During the 1996-97 academic year, he served as the first Public Scholar with SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center  for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

Hopkins’ publications include two books examining the ideas of ordinary men and women in times of political crisis, A Woman to Deliver Her People: Joanna Southcott and English Millenarianism in an Age of Revolution and Into the Heart of the Fire: The British in the Spanish Civil War. The latter received a 1999 Godbey Authors’ Award as an outstanding book written by an SMU faculty member. For the SMU-in-Taos Cultural Institute, he developed a popular course on Los Alamos and the Manhattan nuclear bomb project.

Hopkins received his B.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Cambridge University. He earned his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. He will retire in May as professor emeritus of history.

April 22, 2015|Faculty in the News, For the Record, News|

SMU sponsors musical tribute to African American author-activist Margaret Walker Alexander on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Randy Klein and Aurelia Williams

Randy Klein, at piano, and Aurelia Williams

Members of the SMU community are invited to a free performance of “For My People: A New Musical Work” on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Clarence Muse Café Theater, 1309 Canton Street, Dallas.

Celebrating the centennial of the birth of acclaimed African American poet-scholar-activist Margaret Walker Alexander (1915-1998), the event will feature the opus’ author, Randy Klein, joined by Aurelia Williams and the Heart and Soul Singers performing in honor of SMU’s first sponsorship of the annual College Language Association (CLA) convention (April 8-11 in Dallas).

Margaret Walker Alexander

Margaret Walker Alexander

Co-sponsors of the musical tribute are SMU’s Department of English and Ethnic Studies Program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences along with the University’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, in partnership with the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the College Language Association and Dr. Maryemma Graham of the University of Kansas.

“This is not only CLA’s 75th convention and the centennial of Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander’s birth, but it’s also the centennial of SMU’s opening,” says CLA host committee chair Darryl Dickson-Carr, associate professor of English in SMU’s Dedman College.

“Walker Alexander was the direct inspiration for The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, as its founder, Curtis King, was her student and protégé,” Dickson-Carr says. “The CLA’s first visit to Texas in 50 years coincides with remarkable events in Dallas and SMU’s histories, and features the work of some of its best and most celebrated students.”

Dylan Smith

Dylan Smith

Synthia Green

Synthia Green

SMU will host a private reception for CLA members at Café 43 in the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. University leaders set to greet CLA guests include Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero, Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies James Quick and Department of English Chair Nina Schwartz.

A jazz trio led by Dylan Smith of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will provide entertainment, as will Meadows student Synthia Green.

SMU English Department graduate students will serve as CLA convention volunteers.

For more details about the CLA and related events, contact Dr. Dickson-Carr.

Written by Denise Gee

April 2, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News|

Three SMU history scholars receive 2013-14 book prizes

Three SMU history scholars recently won prestigious awards for books honed during their time at the University.

“These recognitions confirm that the Clements Department of History – through its graduate program and research institute ­– continues to lead the way in producing first-rate scholarship on Texas, the American Southwest, and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands,” says Andrew Graybill, associate professor and director of SMU’s William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies.

Raul CoronadoRaúl Coronado’s book A World Not to Come: A History of Latino Writing and Print Culture (Harvard University Press, 2013) won the Texas State Historical Association’s Kate Broocks Bates Award for Best Historical Research and second prize from the Texas Institute of Letters’ Ramirez Prize for Best Scholarly Book. Coronado completed his Ph.D. in modern thought and literature in 2004 at Stanford University. He was a William P. Clements Fellow in 2009-10 and is associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California-Berkeley.

Jason MellardJason Mellard’s Progressive Country: How the 1970s Transformed the Texan in Popular Culture (University of Texas Press, 2013) won the Texas State Historical Association’s 2013 Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for Best Book on Texas History. He completed his Ph.D. in American studies at the University of Texas-Austin in 2009 and was a 2010-11 Clements Fellow. He is currently the assistant director at the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Alicia DeweyPh.D. graduate Alicia Dewey won the Robert A. Calvert Book Prize for the best manuscript on the history of the American South, West or Southwest submitted in 2013 to Texas A&M University Press. Her book, Pesos and Dollars: Entrepreneurs in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1880-1940, is scheduled for publication in summer 2014. Dewey earned her Ph.D in history at SMU in 2007 and is currently an associate professor of history at Biola University in La Mirada, California.

Established in fall 1996, the Clements Center in SMU’s Dedman College is internationally known as an incubator for research and writing and an organizer of public programming, all related to the American Southwest.

The center annually provides post-doctoral fellowships for scholars studying the American Southwest and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, allowing them to focus on additional research and to further develop manuscripts, leading to publication by prestigious presses in cooperation with the Center.

Fellowships to emerging and senior scholars have resulted in 38 books published by 17 major university presses. Nine more Clements Center Fellows have publications forthcoming.

Written by Devean Owens ’14

> Read more from SMU News

April 14, 2014|For the Record, News|
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