Hofstra, Warren R. 1947-
Hofstra, Warren R. 1947-
Born May 12, 1947. Education: Washington University, St. Louis, B.A., 1969; Boston University, M.A., 1974; University of Virginia, Ph.D., 1985.
Home—Winchester, Virginia. E-mail—[email protected]
Historian, educator, writer, and editor. Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA, history professor, 1978—.
A Separate Place: The Formation of Clarke County, Virginia, Clarke County Sesquicentennial Committee (White Post, VA), 1986, reprinted, Madison House (Madison, WI), 1999.
(Editor) George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, Madison House (Madison, WI), 1998.
(Editor, with Kenneth E. Koons) After the Backcountry: Rural Life in the Great Valley of Virginia, 1800-1900, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 2000.
(Editor, with Kevin R. Hardwick) Virginia Reconsidered: New Histories of the Old Dominion, University of Virginia Press (Charlottesville, VA), 2003.
The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2004.
(Editor) Cultures in Conflict: The Seven Years' War in North America, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (Lanham, MD), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals.
Warren R. Hofstra is a historian whose fields of expertise include the American frontier, Virginia history and culture, the Cold War, and vernacular architecture. Hofstra has also written and edited several books focusing on his areas of expertise. In A Separate Place: The Formation of Clarke County, Virginia, Hofstra examines the origins of Clarke County, focusing on how it came to be and why. He traces the county's origins back more than 250 years to the first people who settled the Shenandoah Valley on through the early 1830s, when people from a portion of old Frederick County decided to establish a separate county. According to the author, these residents were acting in concert with contemporary forces that had both a statewide and national significance.
Placing Clarke County's formation within the context of Virginia and U.S. politics, the author also details the stories of the people who established the county as a separate place. According to the author, these people were Tidewater Virginians, called "Tuckahoes," who moved westward into the valley. They had a profound effect on the region that can still be seen in the differences between the residents of Clarke County versus the Frederick County residents of today. Frederick County was settled primarily by Scots-Irish and Germanic peoples, called "Cohees," moved into the region from Pennsylvania. "A Separate Place is firmly grounded in primary sources—especially local newspapers—and in secondary sources written before 1986," noted Daniel B. Thorp in the Journal of Southern History. Further, Thorp stated: "It provides an accessible, well-written account of social and economic developments in the Lower Shenandoah Valley between 1740 and 1840 and of the relationship between land, economics, and culture."
As editor of George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, Hofstra presents a series of historical essays that explores the role that geography and the diverse inhabitants of the burgeoning area played in forming Washington's outlook on life, including his temperament and politics. Written by Washington scholars, the essays provide a multifaceted analysis of the environmental factors that influenced Washington, from the environment of a barbarous and uncouth people to his time among the Indians of the region and his role in the Virginia militia. "Taken together, these essays situate Washington as the product and leading representative of a specific class and culture," wrote Paul K. Longmore in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History. "By yielding a more complex and surely more accurate interpretation, they demonstrate that explication of historical context through a variety of analytical methods can free figures such as Washington from marble monuments and make them subjects of historical analysis."
Hofstra is the editor, with Kenneth E. Koons, of After the Backcountry: Rural Life in the Great Valley of Virginia, 1800-1900. The book includes nineteen essays from a conference held in 1995. The essays examine the development of the Great Valley after the frontier movement had gone through the valley and pushed further west. The authors focus on issues such as social, economic, and cultural processes as they examine peoples' livelihoods and how they interacted with each other to build and transmit culture. Hofstra and Koons also explore the residents' values and the mentalities that ruled their lives. Writing in Southern Culture, John C. Inscoe referred to After the Backcountry as "a significant contribution to Appalachian scholarship as well as to that of the antebellum rural South," adding: "An impressively produced volume, enhanced by numerous maps, charts, and illustrations, After the Backcountry adds much to our understanding of how post-frontier society and culture emerged within one of the South's most interesting peripheries." Journal of Southern History contributor Kevin R. Hardwick commented that "this volume makes a considerable and very useful contribution" to the history of the region.
Virginia Reconsidered: New Histories of the Old Dominion, edited by Hofstra and Kevin R. Hardwick, consists of fourteen essays published between 1972 and 2000. The essays look at issues such as the American paradox of slavery and freedom, Virginian Suffrage campaigns, and the teaching of eugenics at the University of Virginia. "Virginia Reconsidered is a worthwhile book that makes modern scholarship in Virginia history accessible to university students," wrote James R. Sweeney in the Journal of Southern History.
In his 2004 book The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley, the author provides a geographical history of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, which became a key corridor for America's westward expansion via the Cumberland Gap. Known as "New Virginia" at the time, this area west of the Blue Ridge Mountains differed from areas in Virginia, and in the South in general, by primarily focusing on farming using free labor rather than plantations worked by slaves. Tracing the evolution of Shenandoah Valley over the eighteenth century, the author examines the early landscape history of the valley in its regional global context as he discusses the area's social, economic, political, and intellectual development as it affected both the region and the entire north Atlantic region of the United States
In the book, the author discusses the region during the time European private farming settlements entered the region in the 1730s. As the Seven Years' War started between France and England, the region experienced a stimulated economy due to the town of Winchester, which was a center for housing troops in the region. Eventually, the area became a town-and-country district known for its wheat production, which further stimulated the region's economy. "In charting these changes, Hofstra demonstrates what was unique about the valley but also how its pattern of evolution was replicated as Americans moved westward during the nineteenth century," wrote Gregory D. Massey in a review on the University of North Carolina, Greensboro Library Web site.
Hofstra's historical account of the region pays special attention to the valley's backcountry frontier culture. Hofstra brings together the broad cultural and geographic factors that are at the center of the valley's historic significance in the early European settlement of North America. "The complexity of the argument, the skillful intermixing of narrative and analysis, and the abundance of maps and illustrations make this required and pleasurable reading for anyone interested in the development of the early American frontier," wrote Albert H. Tillson, Jr., in the Journal of Southern History. Keir B. Sterling, writing on the History Cooperative Web site, noted: "Hofstra has ably woven together the many strands of the private and business lives of Shenandoah Valley residents during the formative colonial and early national eras. Students of early Virginia history will find this a comprehensive and well-written contribution to the literature."
As editor of Cultures in Conflict: The Seven Years' War in North America, Hofstra provides a collection of contemporary scholarship focusing on the broad pattern of events that framed the Seven Years' War (1754-1763) in North America. The essays also explore the intercultural dynamics of the war and its profound impact on subsequent events in North America, including the American Revolution and the struggle between European settlers and the Native Americans. In their analyses, the authors examine the viewpoints of the British and French imperial authorities and the numerous issues concerning the Native American nations in the Ohio Country (which encompassed modern-day Ohio, as well as parts of Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia). Other topics include the diplomatic and social world of the Iroquois tribes and how the British colonists reacted to the conflict. Another essay examines how the Seven Years' War turned American settlers into British patriots. The book includes maps and illustrations. A Reference & Research Book News contributor noted that the essayists present "fresh perspectives on intercultural tensions" associated with issues surrounding this war.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Agricultural History, fall, 2001, Steven G. Collins, review of After the Backcountry: Rural Life in the Great Valley of Virginia, 1800-1900, p. 526; winter, 2006, James Edward Scanlon, review of The Planting of New Virginia: Settlement and Landscape in the Shenandoah Valley, p. 129.
American Historical Review, April, 2005, Jack Temple Kirby, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 468.
Choice, September, 2001, S.C. Hyde, review of After the Backcountry, p. 185; January, 2005, H.M. Ward, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 916.
Geographical Review, April, 2006, James W. Wilson, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 320.
Journal of American & Comparative Cultures, fall, 2000, Marshall Fishwick, review of George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, p. 129.
Journal of American History, June, 2005, Marion Nelson Winship, review of The Planting of New Virginia p. 186.
Journal of American Studies, December, 1999, Kenneth Morgan, review of George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, p. 537.
Journal of Cultural Geography, spring-summer, 2006, George E. Clark, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 134.
Journal of Historical Geography, October, 2005, Dawn S. Bowen, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 824.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 1999, Paul K. Longmore, review of George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, p. 340; winter, 2007, Turk McCleskey, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 469.
Journal of Social History, winter, 2005, Gabrielle M. Lanier, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 574.
Journal of Southern History, August, 1999, Cline E. Hall, review of George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, p. 612; November, 2001, Daniel B. Thorp, review of A Separate Place: The Formation of Clarke County, Virginia, p. 849; November, 2002, Kevin R. Hardwick, review of After the Backcountry, p. 934; August, 2005, Albert H. Tillson, Jr., review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 666; May, 2007, James R. Sweeney, review of Virginia Reconsidered: New Histories of the Old Dominion, p. 500.
Journal of the Early Republic, fall, 1998, Matthew Rainbow Hale, review of George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, p. 543; summer, 2005, Carol Ebol, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 289.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 2004, Warren R. Hofstra, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 73; August, 2007, review of Cultures in Conflict: The Seven Years' War in North America.
Southeastern Geographer, May, 2005, Thomas Hallock, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 155.
Southern Cultures, winter, 2002, John C. Inscoe, review of After the Backcountry, p. 100.
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, summer, 1998, Albert H. Tillson, Jr., review of George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, p. 321; spring, 2001, Gabrielle M. Lanier, review of After the Backcountry, p. 223; winter, 2005, A. Glenn Crothers, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 80.
William and Mary Quarterly, January, 1999, J. Russell Snapp, review of George Washington and the Virginia Backcountry, p. 213; October, 2004, Thomas J. Humphery, review of The Planting of New Virginia, p. 759.
Handley Regional Library Web site,http://www.hrl.lib.state.va.us/ (March 24, 2008), brief profile of author.
History Cooperative,http://www.historycooperative.org/ (March 24, 2008), Keir B. Sterling, review of The Planting of New Virginia.
Shenandoah University,http://www.su.edu/ (March 24, 2008), faculty profile of author.