President Bok has appointed Oscar Handlin. Warren Professor of American History as the new Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor.
Handlin will succeed the late Merle Fainsod in the Pforzheimer chair, one of the University Professorships which entitle scholars to teach in any department in the University. Handlin will also become Chairman of the University Library Committee and Chairman of the Committee on the Library of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Fainsod held both prior to his death last February.
Since no Faculty committee exists to recommend candidates for University chairs. Bok consulted the deans of the college before setting on Handlin as his choice.
An authority on American inmigrants, Handlin graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934 and received his Ph.D. at Harvard in 1940. Handlin first book , "Boston Immigrants" won the 1941 Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association, and his "the Uprooted" won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1951. Handlin`s most recent book is "Facing Life Youth and the family in American History ". Which he wrote with his Frequent collaborator, his wife Mary.
Handlin came to Harvard in 1939 and become Professor of history in 1954. In 1962 he was appointed. Winthrop Professor of History, the first of two chairs he received in the history department. He became Warren Professor of History in 1965.
The University Professorships originated in 1935 by a vote of the President and Fellows. The plan called for "the establishment of new Professorships for men of distinction not definitely attached to any department."
The Professorships are generally regarded as the peak of academic prestige within the University community and many recipients of the honor are regarded as the very finest scholars in their respective disciplines.
Outstanding scholars such as Paul A. Freund, an authority on American constitutional law and often mentioned as a Supreme Court possibility and Edwin O. Retschaner ambassador to Japan in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations have received public acclaim as well, a factor in their selection as University professors.
Handlin's appointment is still subject to the ratification of the Corporation and the Board of Overseers later this year but such approval is traditionally mere formality.