C. VANN WOODWARD, Biography - Writers


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Name: Comer Vann Woodward                                                             
Born: November 13, 1908                                                               
Died: December 17, 1999                                                               
Comer Vann Woodward (November 13, 1908 - December 17, 1999) was a pre-eminent         
American historian focusing primarily on the American South and race relations.       
He was considered, along with Richard Hofstadter and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., to     
be one of the most influential historians of the postwar era, 1940s-1970s, both       
among scholars and the general public. He was long an advocate of Beardianism,       
stressing the influence of unseen economic motivations in politics. He was a         
master of irony and counterpoint.                                                     
C. Vann Woodward was born in Vanndale, a town named after his mother's family,       
in Cross County, Arkansas. Woodward attended high school in Morrilton, Arkansas.     
He attended Henderson-Brown College a small Methodist school in Arkadelphia,         
Arkansas, for two years. In 1930 he transferred to Emory University, where his       
uncle was Dean of students and professor of sociology. After graduating he           
taught English composition for two years at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. There he         
met Will W. Alexander, head of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, and J.     
Saunders Redding an historian at Atlanta University.                                 
Woodward took graduate courses in sociology at Columbia University in 1931 where     
he met, and was influenced by, Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance             
movement. In 1932 he worked for the defense of Angelo Herndon, a young Communist     
Party member who had been accused of subversive activities. He traveled to the       
Soviet Union and Germany in 1932.                                                     
He did graduate work in history and sociology at the University of North             
In World War II, he served on the historical staff of the Navy, writing battle       
reports, including The Battle of Leyte Gulf (1946).