Oberly, James W. 1954- (James Warren Oberly)

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Oberly, James W. 1954- (James Warren Oberly)

PERSONAL:

Born March 5, 1954, in Chicago, IL; son of James (an attorney) and Lucille (an attorney) Oberly; married Louise (a librarian), January 12, 1980; children: Nicholas, William, and Peter. Education: Columbia University, B.A., 1975; University of Rochester, M.A., 1977, Ph.D., 1982. Religion: Unitarian-Universalist.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of History, University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire, 713 Hibbard Hall, Eau Claire, WI 54701. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Academician. Ulster County Community College, Stone Ridge, NY, professor, 1979-81; College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, professor, 1981-83; University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire, professor of history, 1983—.

MEMBER:

American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Minnesota Historical Society, Wisconsin Historical Society.

WRITINGS:

Sixty Million Acres: American Veterans and the Public Lands before the Civil War, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 1990.

(Compiler, with Louise A. Merriam) United States History: A Bibliography of the New Writings on American History, Manchester University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

A Nation of Statesmen: The Political Culture of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans, 1815-1972, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

James W. Oberly is an American academician and historian. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Oberly completed his higher education degrees in New York at Columbia University and the University of Rochester. In 1979 he began a teaching career, lecturing at the university level in history.

Oberly's first book, Sixty Million Acres: American Veterans and the Public Lands before the Civil War, was published by Kent State University Press in 1990. The book examines federal land policy in the United States in its period of westward expansion in the period before the American Civil War. The government used land grants as an incentive and a means to increase the number of men volunteering for military service during the Mexican American War in the mid-1800s. Oberly also explains what the veterans did with these land grants after their war service period ended and how the land- grant warrant for veterans worked in the land boom period of 1850. Oberly uses samples of veteran land warrants and archival records to recreate this segment in U.S. history. Library Journal contributor Stephen H. Peters thought that the conclusions in Sixty Million Acres were "well conceived and supported." Peters also found that it "fills a gap in the literature of land policy." Peters concluded by recommending that libraries add the book to their collections, calling Sixty Million Acres "essential" for Western historical collections.

Five years later, Oberly published his second book, United States History: A Bibliography of the New Writings on American History, through Manchester University Press. Compiled with Louise A. Merriam, the book gives an outline of the abundance of scholarship published on American history. The book is organized into seven distinct chronological segments of history, ranging from Native American life before contact with European explorers to the Cold War and its immediate aftermath. Each chronological division is further subdivided into ten segments to better assist readers in categorizing the books. These include anthologies and general histories; biographies; family-centric and demography; guides to sources; class, gender, and society accounts; religion, beliefs and ideas; race issues and identity; work and business account; location, space, movement and place; and the state and the public realm.

Oberly published his third book with the University of Oklahoma Press in 2005. A Nation of Statesmen: The Political Culture of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans, 1815-1972 is a modern history of the Stockbridge-Munsee Indians, more popularly known through film lore as the Mohicans. The Mohicans lived in New York's Hudson River Valley in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the early eighteenth century, many adopting Christianity and other British traditions, such as learning the English language and literacy, in the process. By the early nineteenth century the group, combined with the Munsee, moved to a 46,000-acre reserve in Wisconsin. Oberly is able to retell the story of the Mohicans without the reinterpretation of film chronicles due to a large amount of firsthand sources from the tribe. Due to the high literacy rate, a number of memoirs and diaries exist in English. Oberly mixes these accounts with government documents and legal records to expand on the life and history of the Mohicans.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, December, 1991, Frederick J. Blue, review of Sixty Million Acres: American Veterans and the Public Lands before the Civil War, p. 1613.

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March, 1993, William E. Pemberton, review of Sixty Million Acres, p. 223.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 2005, T. Maxwell-Long, review of A Nation of Statesmen: The Political Culture of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans, 1815-1972, p. 356.

Journal of American History, March, 2007, Stephen Warren, review of A Nation of Statesmen, p. 1254.

Journal of Southern History, August, 1992, Daniel Feller, review of Sixty Million Acres, p. 534.

Journal of the Early Republic, summer, 1991, Timothy R. Mahoney, review of Sixty Million Acres.

Journal of the West, April, 1993, Robert Tracy McKenzie, review of Sixty Million Acres, p. 108.

Library Journal, December, 1990, Stephen H. Peters, review of Sixty Million Acres, p. 138.

Pacific Historical Review, May, 1992, John Opie, review of Sixty Million Acres, p. 287.

Western Historical Quarterly, November, 1991, Susan E. Gray, review of Sixty Million Acres, p. 475; winter, 2006, David R.M. Beck, review of A Nation of Statesmen.

ONLINE

University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire Web site,http://www.uwec.edu/ (December 13, 2007), author profile.