U.S. Intellectual History Blog

John Patrick Diggins: RIP

Updated: 1/30/2009

I received word that John Patrick “Jack” Diggins passed away yesterday (1/28). Our best wishes to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Here is The New York Timesobituary authored by William Grimes. I found this intriguing:

“He was the most philosophical-minded of the American historians,” said the political historian Paul Berman, a writer in residence at New York University. “He was always trying to get at the big questions, about heroism, virtue and the conflict between utopian aspirations and the disappointments of life. His work was a kind of ongoing meditation.”

I wouldn’t call Paul Berman a political historian (and neither would he, I suspect), but this is high-praise indeed. I hope that my obituary will be able to call me “philosophical-minded.”

Perhaps we should plan for a USIH panel in November on Diggins’ work and legacy? – TL