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Historian Richard W. Leopold dead at 94

Nov. 29, 2006 at 9:35 PM   |   Comments

EVANSTON, Ill., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Richard W. Leopold, mentor to former Sen. George McGovern, journalist Georgie Anne Geyer and others, has died of natural causes in Evanston, Ill. He was 94.

The historian, aprofessor at Northwestern University and author of numerous articles and books on history, died last Thursday, Northwestern announced Tuesday.

Born Jan. 6, 1912, on the Upper West Wide of Manhattan, Leopold graduated cum laude in 1929 from Philips Exeter Academy before attending Princeton University and graduating with highest honors and Phi Beta Kappa in 1933. He conducted his graduate studies at Harvard, earning a master's degree in 1934 and a Ph.D. in 1938.

As a naval officer during World War II, Leopold organized a unique system for materials relating to ongoing Naval operations at the Office of Naval Records and Library in Washington. He joined the faculty at Northwestern University in 1948. He served as the William Smith Mason professor of history at the university from 1963 to 1980. During the Vietnam War, Leopold led the successful effort to save the ROTC program at Northwestern.

Rep. James Kolbe, R-Ariz., wrote in a letter he learned American diplomatic history "at the feet of one of the greatest scholars in the United States -- Dick Leopold."

Leopold's book, "The Growth of American Foreign Policy: A History" published in 1962, was used as a seminal treatise in the country's diplomatic history for more than 10 years after publication.

A biography of Leopold will be released by Northwestern University Press next year.

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