John E. Fagg (1916-98)

AHA Staff, May 1999

John E. Fagg, noted historian of Latin America and Spain, died Saturday, October 3, 1998, at his home, Westminster Manor, in Austin, Texas.

Fagg was born in San Saba, Texas, on November 21, 1916. He received the BA degree from the University of Texas in 1938, the MA from the University of Chicago in 1939, and the PhD from the University of Chicago in 1942.

He was professor of history in the Washington Square College of New York University (NYU) from 1946–81. During that period, he served as chair of the department of history from 1961–69 and director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies from 1961–65 and from 1977–79.

During his tenure at NYU, Fagg served on committees at the university and in professional organizations such as the AHA and the Pan-American Institute of Geography and History. He was assistant dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 1950–55. From 1955–69, he served on the National Woodrow Wilson Selection Committee and the Fulbright-Hayes Selection Committee.

Fagg was an assistant professor in the Army Air Forces Pre-Flight School from 1942–43, and he served as a special consultant to the Department of Defense from 1946–58. He also served as a consultant Crowell-Collier Publishing Company from 1957–67. During 1976–77, he was a visiting professor of history at the University of Virginia.

After his retirement to Austin, Texas, Fagg traveled extensively and lectured to groups such as the Pan American Round Table, Learning Adventures for Mature Persons, and the International Good Neighbor Council.

Author of numerous scholarly articles in the areas of modern Latin America, 19th-century Spain, and World War II, Fagg is best known for his book Latin America: A General History, first published by Macmillan in 1963 with several later revised editions and a Spanish version published by Taurus in Madrid in 1970. Fagg's other books include Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic (1965); Pan Americanism (1982); and major contributions to The Army Air Forces in World War II (1983).