Coffman, Edward M. 1929–
Coffman, Edward M. 1929–
PERSONAL: Born January 27, 1929, in Hopkinsville, KY; son of Howard B. (a salesman) and Mada (Wright) Coffman; married Anne Rouse, June 30, 1955; children: Anne, Lucia, Edward M., Jr. Education: University of Kentucky, A.B.J., 1951, M.A., 1955, Ph.D., 1959. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Protestant.
ADDRESSES: Office—Department of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.
CAREER: Memphis State University, Memphis, TN, instructor, 1957–58, assistant professor of history, 1959–60; G.C. Marshall Research Association, Arlington, VA, research associate, 1960–61; University of Wisconsin—Madison, assistant professor, 1961–66, associate professor, 1966–68, professor of history, beginning 1968, currently professor emeritus. Visiting Eisenhower Professor, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 1969–70. Member of advisory committee, U.S. Army Historical Program; member, National Historical Publications and Research Commission, 1972–76. Military service: U.S. Army, 1951–53; became lieutenant.
MEMBER: Organization of American Historians, American Military Institute, Southern Historical Society.
AWARDS, HONORS: Guggenheim fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 1973–74.
The Hilt of the Sword: The Career of Peyton C. March, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1966.
The Regulars: The American Army, 1898–1941, Belknap Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Contributor to Cantigny at Seventy-five: A Professional Discussion: Proceedings of a Professional Discussion Held at the First Division Museum at Cantigny, Wheaton, Illinois, May 28-29, 1993, edited by Steven Weingartner, Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation (Chicago, IL), 1994.
SIDELIGHTS: Edward M. Coffman has had a long career as a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, primarily publishing books on military topics from the late-nineteenth century. For example, he wrote an extensive, two-volume social and military history of the Army in the United States. The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784–1898 looks at the early years of the army's existence.
In The Regulars: The American Army, 1898–1941, Coffman outlines how the U.S. Army was transformed into a standing, specialized unit because of the demands of the Spanish-American War and the emergence of the United States as a world power. The army became more professional in terms of organization, education, technology, and deployment worldwide. Coffman also explores darker aspects of the army, such as racism and segregation within the ranks. He does not just look at those who served, but also the effect the army has on their families as well. Richard D. Chegar, writing in Armor, acknowledged Coffman's extensive research and noted how many issues from the army in the early twentieth century have remained problematic. Chegar wrote: "He layers his subject from so many angles and perspectives that he truly creates three-dimensional history."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Armor, January-February, 2005, Richard D. Chegar, review of The Regulars: The American Army, 1898–1941, p. 52.
Journal of Southern History, May, 2005, Matthew Moten, review of The Regulars, p. 478.