Hamm, Richard F. 1956-
HAMM, Richard F. 1956-
PERSONAL: Born November 19, 1956, in New York, NY; son of Francis R. (a contracts administrator) and Hilda D. (a homemaker and clerk; maiden name, Di Maria) Hamm; married Elaine Cascio (divorced July 19, 2002); married Anette Lippold, March 3, 2003. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Florida Atlantic University, B.A.; Ohio State University, M.A.; University of Virginia, Ph.D. Politics: "Democratic Progressive." Religion: "Agnostic."
CAREER: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, lecturer in history, 1987–88; University of New Hampshire, Durham, lecturer in history, 1988–90; State University of New York at Albany, began as assistant professor, professor of history, 1990–.
MEMBER: American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Law and Society, Southern Historical Association, Alcohol and Temperance History Group.
AWARDS, HONORS: Henry Adams Prize, Society for History in Federal Government, 1996.
Murder, Honor, and Law, University of Virginia Press (Charlottesville, VA), 2003.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Arthur Garfield Hays and American Civil Liberties, 1921–55; research on the National Woman's Party and jury service for women, 1920–40.
SIDELIGHTS: Richard F. Hamm told CA: "My writing interests are focused on the interaction of law and society in the American past. How ideas, individuals, and structures have combined to shape law and how law has determined the courses of government officials, reformers, and ordinary people have been the primary foci of my work. My work has grown organically, moving from one topic to another when I find something unexpected in my research.
"My investigation into the prohibition movement (Shaping the Eighteenth Amendment: Temperance Reform, Legal Culture, and the Polity, 1880–1920) was an effort to understand how social reformers (in this case religious motivated conservatives) attempted to change American society. I argued that their early successes in using the law predisposed them to a certain course of divided jurisdiction that helped to doom national prohibition. In my research on this work I ran across accounts of prohibitionists killed for their cause, and one of those cases prompted me to investigate murder trials.
"My look at four murder trials in Virginia (Murder, Honor, and Law) seeks to show how the press has 'constructed' images of crime and a region—in this case the South. It also reveals how, through the course of trials, the black letter law of murder was interpreted through values of the people in the society. Through this work I became much more interested in the media as both the recorder and shaper of events, which carries over to my next projects.
"My work on the National Women's Party seeks to show that legal change came not through sweeping, one-blow victories, but through slow, incremental changes brought about by changing attitudes in the larger public. It is a study of how the National Women's Party sought to educate the public—especially through press campaigns—about the need for women on juries.
"Similarly, my work on Arthur Garfield Hays could be called 'Apostle of Civil Liberties,' because I intend to detail how Hays, co-counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1928 until his death, sought through his actions, speeches, and writings to promote a greater range of civil liberties in the United States. He maintained an extensive speaking schedule, participated in many debates, and engaged in mock trials to further the cause. Hays also wrote extensively on the topic. From law reviews through popular magazines and especially through a series of books, Hays decried lapses in civil liberties and advocated greater freedoms. His work as a communicator showed Hays's faith in the democratic process, as it indicates that he hoped to sway public opinion and through that means change governmental policy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Journal of Church and State, autumn, 1997, M. Catherine Miller, review of Shaping the Eighteenth Amendment: Temperance Reform, Legal Culture, and the Polity, 1880–1920, pp. 816-817.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, fall, 1996, K. Austin Kerr, review of Shaping the Eighteenth Amendment, p. 346.