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Bouwsma, William J. 1923-2004

BOUWSMA, William J. 1923-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born November 22, 1923, in Ann Arbor, MI; died of complications from an aneurysm, March 2, 2004, in Berkeley, CA. Educator, historian, and author. Bouwsma was a professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, where he became well known as an authority on the Renaissance. After completing undergraduate studies at Harvard in 1943, he served in the Army Air Forces during World War II. He then returned to Harvard to complete his Ph.D. in 1950. While Bouwsma spent his first six years in academia teaching at the University of Illinois, when he joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1956 it was to become his permanent home as a scholar. Starting out as an associate professor of history, he became a full professor in 1969 and was named Sather Professor of History in 1971. Bouwsma was also chair of the history department from 1966 to 1967, and again from 1981 to 1983, and he was vice chancellor for academic affairs from 1967 to 1969. While serving as vice chancellor, Bouwsma played an important part in adding studies in religious and ethnic history to the UC Berkeley curriculum. A highly respected author, he published several important studies on the Renaissance, including Venice and the Defense of Republican Liberty: Renaissance Values in the Age of the Counter Reformation (1968), John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait, which won the Book of the Year Award from the Evangelical Publishers' Association, and his last publication, The Waning of the Renaissance, ca. 1500-1640 (2000). A former president of the Society for Italian Historical Studies and the American Historical Association, Bouwsma retired from teaching in 1991.



Chicago Tribune, March 16, 2004, Section 2, p. 12.

Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2004, p. B21.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 2004, p. B4.


UC Berkeley Press, (March 5, 2004).

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