Hugh D. Graham, 65, taught history at UMBC, Hopkins

March 30, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Hugh Davis Graham, a former University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Johns Hopkins University history professor who wrote on the civil rights movement, died Tuesday of complications of esophageal cancer at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 65 and lived in Columbia and North Baltimore until 1991.

After teaching U.S. political history at Hopkins for four years, he began in 1971 a 20-year association with UMBC, where he taught and held academic posts. In 1991, the year he left Maryland, his book The Civil Rights Era was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in history.

"He was an outstanding historian of 20th-century American public policy - the relationship between governmental power and popular behavior," said James C. Mohr, a University of Oregon professor of history and former UMBC faculty member.

"He was very much respected among scholars. He worked closely with his students and cared about them. He wanted them to have the feeling of doing history themselves by exposing them to original sources."

"He was tough-minded," said Robert K. Webb, a retired UMBC colleague who lives in Washington. "He was greatly respected and was demanding of his students. He made a big contribution to UMBC as a scholar, teacher and administrator."

Mr. Graham was born in Little Rock, Ark., and raised in Nashville, Tenn. He earned a bachelor's degree at Yale University and a master's degree and doctorate from Stanford University.

He was a lieutenant in the Marine Corps who served in the Far East and a training officer and regional director for the Peace Corps in the 1960s.

In 1967, he was named director of the Institute of Southern History at Hopkins, where he taught until 1971. At UMBC, he was an associate professor and chairman of the social sciences division. In 1972 he was named that division's dean, a post he held for five years.

From 1980 to 1981 he was president of the UMBC faculty senate, and from 1982 to 1985 he was dean of graduate studies and research. He taught at the Catonsville school until 1991, when he became a professor of political science and history at Vanderbilt University, where he remained until his death. He was also an adjunct professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

While in Baltimore, he sang in the Baltimore Symphony Chorus and was a trustee of Boys Latin School. He played in local volleyball leagues. An avid gardener, he grew vegetables at his homes in Columbia and Homeland.

Services are private.

His is survived by his wife of 24 years, the former Janet Gorman; a son, Holter Ford Graham of Baltimore, an actor who has appeared in Hairspray, Cry Baby and Fly Away Home; two brothers, Fred Graham of Washington, a former CBS correspondent who is now anchor on Court TV, and Otis L. Graham of Wilmington, N.C., also a historian. A son, Hugh Patterson Graham, died in 1977. A marriage to Ann Clary Gordon ended in divorce.

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