Arthur Power Dudden (1921–2009)
Barbara Bennett Peterson, October 2010
50-Year Member of the AHA; former executive director of the American Studies Association
Arthur Power Dudden, 1921–2009, was the national founding president of the Fulbright Association in 1976, Fulbright executive director 1980–84, and a respected professor of history and American studies at Bryn Mawr College. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 26, 1921, to Arthur Clifford and Kathleen (Bray) Dudden. He grew up in Detroit, graduated from Wayne State University with a BA in 1942, and served in World War II in the Mediterranean with the U.S. Navy. Following his discharge in 1945, he attended the University of Michigan and obtained a MA in 1947 and a PhD in history in 1950. Thus credentialed, he accepted a teaching position at the City College of New York for the summer and a full-time faculty position at Bryn Mawr in 1950. He became a full professor in 1965. He married Adrianne Churchill Onderdonk on June 5, 1965, and they had one child, Alexis Dudden Eastwood. Dudden also had two daughters from a previous marriage, Kathleen Dudden Rowlands and Candace L. Dudden Schweitzer.
He had a long and distinguished academic career and was devoted to his students, many of whom went on to notable careers of their own in academia. At Bryn Mawr he was the Fairbank Professor of Humanities 1989–92, the Katharine E. McBride Professor of History 1992–95 and 1998–99, and served as educational coordinator of Special Programs in American Civilization during 1956. He was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania 1953–54, and a visiting associate professor at Princeton University 1958–59, Haverford College 1962–63, and Trinity College for the summer 1965. He was an adjunct professor at Lehigh University 1993–95.
He published widely and selected subjects for publication that appealed to or were needed by his students. His authored works included the Teachers’ Manual to the American Republic, volumes I and II (1959, 1960, 1970); Understanding the American Republic, volumes I and II (1961, 1970); The Assault of Laughter (1962); The United States of America: A Syllabus of American Studies, two volumes (1963); Joseph Fels and the Single Tax Movement (1971); Pardon Us Mr. President! (1975); The Fulbright Experience, 1946–86 (1987); American Humor (1987); and The American Pacific (1992). Dudden’s edited works included Woodrow Wilson and the World of Today (1957) and The Logbook of Captain Clerk (1995). He was the compiler of the International Directory of Specialists in American Studies (1975) and contributed entry articles to a number of encyclopedias.
He was chosen a Senior Fulbright Scholar to Denmark in 1959–60 and to western Europe in 1992. He was the president of the Fellows in American Studies 1960–61. Dudden was treasurer in 1968 and then executive director of the American Studies Association (ASA) 1969–72, enlarging this organization to attract more minority and women scholars. He led the first national ASA convention in Washington, D.C., in 1971 and organized five worldwide ASA conferences during the bicentennial. In 1991 he was honored with the national Bode-Pearson Award for splendid lifetime achievement in service to the field of American studies. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania beginning in 1993. He was a longtime member of the American Historical Association.
Arthur Power Dudden was an American historian of first rank who mobilized colleagues for great endeavors and causes such as the Fulbright Scholars’ worldwide gatherings and formed an international association under his leadership during America’s bicentennial. I was privileged to have worked with him when I was the founding president of the Hawai’i Chapter of the Fulbright Association, 1984–90, and the chair of the 13th national meeting of the Fulbright Association, “The Pacific Region: Change and Challenge,” held in Honolulu in 1990. In retirement, Arthur Dudden often visited Honolulu to spend time with one of his daughters and her family, and always made time for meetings and luncheons with local Hawai’i Fulbrighters. Dudden believed in Senator J. William Fulbright’s ideal of building cultural understanding through the international exchange of scholars. His collegiality extended worldwide, making Arthur Power Dudden truly an ambassador for both history and American studies and as welcome in the halls of power as in the classrooms.
—Barbara Bennett Peterson
University of Hawai'i (emeritus)