Pforzheimer University Professor Oscar Handlin will succeed Archibald Cox '34 as the Loeb University Professor when Cox steps down this June.
The 72-year-old Cox, who has exceeded Harvard's mandatory retirement age, will teach at Boston University Law School next year.
Handlin will relinquish his position as both Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the University Library to Associate Dean of the Faculty for Undergraduate Education Sidney Verba '53, Harvard announced last month.
The move is a "step over. I don't know that it's down or up," Handlin said, adding that he was unaware that he would assume his new post when he resigned from the Pforzheimer chair.
"It was fortuitous that this one became vacant," he said.
"I have great admiration for [Handlin]," Cox said, adding "It's very nice to be followed by such a distinguished historian." Cox has been Loeb University Professor since 1976.
Handlin, who has been teaching at Harvard since 1939, was tenured in 1955 and became Winthrop Professor of History in 1962. He was named Warren Professor of American History in 1965, and finally Pforzheimer University Professor in 1972.
The partners in the firm of Cart M. Loeb, Rhoades and Company established the Loeb University Professorship in 1955 in honor of Carl M. Loeb, the founder of the international merchant banking firm.
University professorships are considered the most prestigious academic positions in the Faculty.
Holding a University chair allows the professor to teach in any field he desires.
Handlin teaches four undergraduate courses, two of them offered this year. History 1956. "Twentieth-Century Social History, Europe, and America, 1900-1939," and History 1957. "Twentieth-Century Social History Europe and America, 1939-1965."