Hollister, C(harles) Warren 1930-1997

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HOLLISTER, C(harles) Warren 1930-1997

PERSONAL: Born November 2, 1930, in Los Angeles, CA; died September 14, 1997, in Santa Barbara, CA; son of Nathan and Carrie (Cushman) Hollister; married Edith Elizabeth Muller, April 12, 1952; children: Charles Warren, Jr. (deceased), Lawrence Gregory, Robert Cushman. Education: Harvard University, A.B., 1951; University of California, Los Angeles, M.A., 1957, Ph.D., 1958.

CAREER: University of California, Santa Barbara, instructor, 1958-60, assistant professor, 1960-63, associate professor, 1963-64, professor of history, 1964-97, chairman of department, 1967-70, became professor emeritus. Visiting assistant professor, Stanford University, 1962-63; visiting fellow, Merton College, Oxford, 1965-66, and Australian National University, 1978, 1993. Visiting lecturer, Oxford University, 1965, Cambridge University, 1966, University of Ghent, 1966, University of the Netherlands, 1966, University of Leyden, 1966, University of Utrecht, 1966, University of Bologna, 1967, University of Melbourne, 1978 and 1993, University of Sidney, 1978, University of Auckland, 1978 and 1993, University College, Dublin, 1986, University of Toronto, 1988, and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1995. Military service: U.S. Air Force, 1951-53; became second lieutenant.

MEMBER: International Wizard of Oz Club (member of board of directors, 1978-86), North American Conference on British Studies (vice president, 1983-85; president, 1985-87), American Historical Association (member of executive council, Pacific Coast branch, 1968-71; vice president for teaching, 1974-76; chairman of program committee, 1984), Royal Historical Society (fellow), Mediaeval Academy of America (fellow), Medieval Academy of Ireland (fellow), Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies (president, 1968-70), Medieval Association of the Pacific (member of executive council, 1971-73), Charles Homer Haskins Society (cofounder and president, 1982-97).

AWARDS, HONORS: Haynes Foundation fellowship, 1959; Social Science Research Council grant-in-aid, 1961; American Council of Learned Societies grant-in-aid, 1962-63, 1963-64; Triennial Book Prize, North American Conference on British Studies, 1963, for Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions on the Eve of the Norman Conquest; Guggenheim fellow, 1965-66; Fulbright research fellow, 1965-66; E. Harris Harbison Award for Distinguished Teaching, Danforth Foundation, 1966; Walter D. Love Memorial Prize, North American Conference on British Studies, 1980; Alumni teacher of the year, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1983.


Anglo-Saxon Military Institutions on the Eve of the Norman Conquest, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1962.

Medieval Europe: A Short History, Wiley (New York, NY), 1964, 5th edition, Knopf (New York, NY), 1982.

The Military Organization of Norman England, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1965.

A History of England, Volume I: The Making of England, 55 B.C.-1399, Heath, 1966, 8th edition, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2001.

Roots of the Western Tradition: A Short History of the Ancient World, Wiley (New York, NY), 1966, 4th edition, 1982.

(With John L. Stipp and Alan Dirrum) The Rise and Development of Western Civilization, two volumes, Wiley (New York, NY), 1967, 2nd edition, 1972.

(Editor) Landmarks of the Western Heritage, two volumes, Wiley (New York, NY), 1967, 2nd edition, 1973.

(Editor) The Impact of the Norman Conquest, Wiley (New York, NY), 1969.

(Editor) The Twelfth-Century Renaissance, Wiley (New York, NY), 1969.

(With Judith Pike) The Moons of Meer (juvenile fantasy), Walck, 1969.

(With others) River through Time: The Course of Western Civilization (also see below), Wiley (New York, NY), 1974.

Odysseus to Columbus: A Synopsis of Classical and Medieval History (contains slightly revised version of first fifteen chapters of River through Time), Wiley (New York, NY), 1974.

(Editor, with others) Medieval Europe: A Short Sourcebook, Knopf (New York, NY), 1982.

Monarchy, Magnates, and Institutions in the Anglo-Norman World, Hambledon Press, 1986.

(Editor) Anglo-Norman Political Culture and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance: Proceedings of the Borchard Conference on Anglo-Norman History, 1995, Boydell Press (Rochester, NY), 1997.

(With J. Sears McGee and Gale Stokes) The West Transformed: A History of Western Civilization, Harcourt College Publishers (Fort Worth, TX), 2000.

Henry I, edited and completed by Amanda Clark Frost, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2001.

General editor, "Major Issues in World History," Wiley, 1968—. Contributor of articles to professional journals, including Baum Bugle, Speculum, English Historical Review, Journal of British Studies, and American Historical Review. Associate editor, Viator; member of editorial boards of American Historical Review and Journal of Medieval History.

SIDELIGHTS: C. Warren Hollister spent most of his academic career as a professor of medieval history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1962 he accepted a commission to write a biography on England's Henry I, the youngest son of William the Conqueror, a project that became Hollister's lifelong endeavor. After his first draft, along with all his notes and research, were destroyed in a house fire in 1990, he rewrote the book and got as far as the last two chapters before he died unexpectedly in 1997. His student, Amanda Clark Frost, used the outline Hollister left behind to finish the book.

In Henry I Hollister argues that the king who ruled England and Normandy for over thirty years in the twelfth century was one of the most effective leaders in England's early history due to his ability to maintain peace and consolidate the country's power in the process. Prior scholars have generally agreed that Henry I was a ruthless tyrant who dispensed with his enemies violently and without regret—a man so hated that his own daughter tried to assassinate him with a crossbow. Hollister provides evidence to suggest that Henry's preferred form of punishment was exile, not death, and that he kept the kingdom intact by using his army to successfully defeat those who attacked him, rather than by trying to conquer other lands. Hollister also sheds light on Henry's disagreements with the Catholic Church, notably the Archbishop of Canterbury, which conflicts were eventually ironed out and paved the way for Henry to establish two more dioceses in England, thereby strengthening the Church's power. Even Henry's legendary sexual exploits are explained as the king's way of ensuring his legacy. Hollister further details Henry's advances in law and administration, which enabled him to govern more effectively by establishing more formal education and an organized court that centralized and strengthened the government. These are significant achievements, Hollister maintains, in an era known for its lawlessness and treachery.

Critics were divided in their assessment of Henry I. Fred A. Cazel, Jr., of History: Review of New Books, called the volume "a work of outstanding scholarship" that "is a joy to read." Similarly, Nigel Tappin in a review for Library Journal praised the authors' "good narrative flow" and heralded the book as the definitive source on its subject. A writer for Publishers Weekly noted that the details of such a large cast of characters requires "a scorecard to keep track of the players," and George Garnett of the Times Literary Supplement wrote that "the book reads like a medieval work, cobbled together from a disparate collection of sources, with joints which are too obvious." In creating a work of scholarship so at odds with the prevailing notions of Henry, Hollister's "case for Mr Anglo-Norman Nice Guy is argued unremittingly, chapter after chapter, as if the wrong done to his reputation by historians biased in favor of brutal methods cried aloud for redress," wrote Eric Christiansen in the Spectator, who nevertheless concluded that Hollister writes "with a confidence that can exasperate, and insights which enlighten."

Aside from history, Hollister's other passions were music and the book The Wizard of Oz. He was purported to have amassed one of the largest collections of rare first editions of The Wizard of Oz in the world, a collection that took precedence over his Henry I manuscript when his house went up in flames and was thus spared a similar charred fate. In addition to the time it took for his work to come to fruition, wrote Christiansen, Hollister will be remembered for "his clear and sometimes humorous style" and the respect he won "by not bowing the knee to received opinion when it failed to meet his own standard of verification."



Abels, Richard P., and Bernard S. Bachrach, editors, The Normans and Their Adversaries at War: Essays in Memory of C. Warren Hollister, Boydell Press (Rochester, NY), 2001.


Albion, summer, 1998, review of Anglo-Norman Political Culture and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, p. 257.

American Historical Review, February 2002, Frank Barlow, review of Henry I, p. 265.

Choice, June, 1965; July, 1965; February, 1967; July, 1969; January, 2002, S. Morillo, review of Henry I, p. 951.

Contemporary Review, July, 2001, review of Henry I, p. 61.

English Historical Review, February, 1999, Christopher Allmand, review of Anglo-Norman Political Culture and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance, p. 146.

History: Review of New Books, fall, 2001, Fred A. Cazel, Jr., review of Henry I, p. 20.

Library Journal, July, 2001, Nigel Tappin, review of Henry I, p. 102.

New York Review of Books, November 17, 1966.

Publishers Weekly, May 14, 2001, review of Henry I, p. 61.

Spectator, August 4, 2001, Eric Christiansen, review of Henry I, p. 35.

Times Literary Supplement, April 22, 1965; February 27, 1987; April 19, 2002, George Garnett, "A Wicked Businessman," p. 27.*

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