Memorial Service to Be Held for
Former AHA Executive Secretary Paul Ward
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on December 10, 2005, at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Philadelphia, for Paul Langdon Ward, who died at the age of 94 in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania, on November 13, 2005, after suffering a heart attack. Paul Ward, a former missionary in China, was president of Sarah Lawrence College in the early 1960s, was the AHA’s executive secretary from 1965–1974.
Ward was born in 1911 in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on either February 4 or 5. His father, a medical missionary in the Middle East at the time, handled the delivery near midnight. His family celebrated his birthday on both days.
Most of Ward’s childhood was spent in Lebanon, where his father was on the medical faculty at the American University of Beirut. Paul Ward attended Deerfield Academy and graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College in 1933. Ward earned his PhD in history at Harvard University in 1940 (for his thesis entitled “The Medieval Attempt to Guarantee the Integrity of Royal Rights and Power as Illustrated in the Coronation Oaths of the Thirteenth Century”) and was elected to the Society of Fellows.
After teaching for a year at Russell Sage College, he was recruited to join the Office of Strategic Services (better known as the OSS). After World War II, he went to China as a missionary for the Episcopal Church, teaching history and helping in the administration of Huazhong University in what is now Wuhan. Ward taught history at Colby College after returning to the United States in 1950.
In 1953, Ward moved to Pittsburgh to teach in the history department at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He subsequently chaired the department. While there, Ward established techniques, curricula, and funding for ways of teaching history that could engage engineering students and others unlikely to pursue the study of history at the graduate level. Throughout his life, in many settings, he was passionate about improving teaching history and had several publications on the subject.
In 1960, Ward became president of Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. While there, he served on Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s Commission on the Higher Education of Women. In 1965, he was appointed executive secretary of the American Historical Association, leading that organization through a tumultuous period until his retirement in 1974.
Along with his wife, Catharine, Paul Ward was very active in the peace movement in general and with the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (EPF) in particular. He served on the Episcopal Church’s Joint Commission on Peace from 1983 to 1985. In 1988, he and his wife received the EPF’s John Nevin Sayre Award.
Ward’s publications include documentary editions (for example, William Lambarde’s Notes on the Procedures and Privileges of the House of Commons)and useful pamphlets on the historical method that he composed for the Service Center for Teachers and the AHA, such as A Style of History for Beginners and Studying History : An Introduction to Methods and Structure.
Paul Ward is survived by his wife, one daughter, three sons, five grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and one brother.
—Adapted from a family notice
© American Historical AssociationLast Updated: February 22, 2008 1:43 PM