Rabb, Theodore K. 1937-
Rabb, Theodore K. 1937-
Born March 5, 1937, in Teplice-Sanov, Czechoslovakia; immigrated to United States, 1956, naturalized citizen, 1978; son of Oskar Kwasnik (an author) and Rose Rabinowicz; married Tamar Miriam Janowsky, June 7, 1959; children: Susannah Lynette, Jonathan Richard, Jeremy David. Education: Queen's College, Oxford, B.A., 1958, M.A., 1962; Princeton University, M.A. 1960, Ph.D., 1961. Hobbies and other interests: Chess, music.
Stanford University, Stanford, CA, instructor in history, 1961-62; Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, instructor in history, 1962-63; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, assistant professor, 1963-67; Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, associate professor, 1967-76, professor of history, 1976-2007, professor emeritus, 2007—. Visiting associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, 1969, and State University of New York at Binghamton, 1972-73. Member of Behavioral Science Assembly, National Research Council, 1972—; Standing Bilateral Committee on Quantitative Research in History (USA-USSR), chairman, 1976—. National Endowment for the Humanities, consultant, 1976—; member of the boards of Hebrew University, Humanities West, and Save Venice, Inc.; consultant.
International Commission for the History of Parliamentary and Representative Institutions, American Historical Association (chairman of committee on quantitative research in history, 1975-77), American Association for the Humanities (director and secretary-treasurer, 1977—), Social Science History Association (treasurer, 1978—), Conference on British Studies, Renaissance Society of America, Society for the History of Discoveries, Royal Historical Society (fellow), Historical Association (England), Hakluyt Society (England), National Council for History Education (chairman).
Fellowships from Folger Shakespeare Library, 1960, Social Science Research Council, 1965, American Philosophical Society, 1966, American Council of Learned Societies, 1969 and 1976, and Guggenheim Foundation, 1970.
Enterprise and Empire: Merchant and Gentry Investment in the Expansion of England, 1575-1630, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1967.
(With M. Chambers, D. Herlihy, and R. Grew) The Western Experience, Knopf (New York, NY), 1974.
The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1975.
Origins of the Modern West: Essays and Sources in Renaissance and Early Modern European History (companion book to PBS series), McGraw (New York, NY), 1993.
Renaissance Lives: Portraits of an Age (companion book to PBS series), Pantheon (New York, NY), 1993.
Jacobean Gentleman: Sir Edwin Sandys, 1561-1629, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1998.
(With Ezra N. Suleiman) The Making and Unmaking of Democracy: Lessons from History and World Politics, Routledge (New York, NY), 2003.
The Last Days of the Renaissance and the March to Modernity, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2006.
The Thirty Years' War: Problems of Motive, Extent, and Effect, Heath (Boston, MA), 1964, revised and enlarged edition, 1972.
(With Jerrold E. Seigel) Action and Conviction in Early Modern Europe: Essays in Memory of E.H. Harbison, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1969.
(With Robert I. Rotberg) The Family in History: Interdisciplinary Essays, Harper (New York, NY), 1973.
(With Robert I. Rotberg) Marriage and Fertility: Studies in Interdisciplinary History, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1980.
(With Robert I. Rotberg) Climate and History: Studies in Interdisciplinary History, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1981.
(With Robert I. Rotberg) Industrialization and Urbanization: Studies in Interdisciplinary History, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1981.
(With Robert I. Rotberg) The New History: The 1980s and Beyond: Studies in Interdisciplinary History, Princeton University Press (Princeton University Press, 1982.
(With Robert I. Rotberg) Population and Economy: Population and History from the Traditional to the Modern World, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1986.
(With Robert I. Rotberg) Art and History: Images and Their Meaning, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1988.
(With Robert I. Rotberg) The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1989.
Coauthor of Consultant's Handbook, prepared for National Board of Consultants, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1981; general editor of Heath's "Civilization and Society" series; contributor to works by others, including Challenges before the Humanities in Community Colleges, edited by Donald D. Schmeltekopf and Anne D. Rassweiler, 1980, and The Age of Milton: Backgrounds to Seventeenth-Century Literature, edited by C.A. Patrides and Raymond B. Waddington, Manchester University Press (Manchester, England), 1980; contributor to periodicals, including Times Literary Supplement, New York Review of Books, Commentary, Washington Post, and American Historical Review; member of boards of editors of Computer Studies in the Humanities and Verbal Behavior, 1968-74, Computers and the Humanities, 1969-73, and Climatic Change, 1980—; coeditor of the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 1970—; editor of Community College Humanist, 1978-80, and Mid-Career Fellowship Program Bulletin, 1980—.
Theodore K. Rabb is known for his scholarship on early modern Europe as well as for his many volumes of interdisciplinary history on topics ranging from the family to climate change.
Rabb's Origins of the Modern West: Essays and Sources in Renaissance and Early Modern European History is one component of a college course designed by Rabb and his colleagues. The film component consisted of segments aired on public television and narrated by Ian Richardson. Each looks at the Renaissance from a particular point of view. "The Scientist" begins with magicians and alchemists and goes on to include philosophers such as Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, and others. "The Dissenter" studies Luther, Wyclif, and Hus. The royals and English Civil War are included in "The Prince," and "The Artist" examines the greats of the period, including Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and others. An examination of the evolution of warfare is central to "The Warrior," and includes information about the advances in combat protection beginning with armor, the first use of gunpowder, and how wars were funded by taxation.
Albert Rabil, Jr., reviewed the volume in Renaissance Quarterly, commenting that Rabb's book "is essential to the coherence of the course. His introductions to the seven chapters and his conclusion provide a narrative that, in each case, illuminates the larger historical context."
Rabil also reviewed Renaissance Lives: Portraits of an Age, a companion book to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series. The volume consists of fifteen biographies, beginning with Petrarch (died 1374) to Milton (died 1674). The five categories used in Origins of the Modern West are used here, with the addition of four more that are found in the book but not the television series. They include "Student, Merchant, Believer, and Explorer." Telecourses and teachers' guides are components of both courses.
Jacobean Gentleman: Sir Edwin Sandys, 1561-1629 is a study completed by Rabb over forty years. Sandys was a member of all of the parliaments of James I, and he took a leadership role. Earlier studies have treated the parliamentary periods individually, whereas Rabb's narrative takes a broad look at Sandys's influence over time. English Historical Review contributor C.S.L. Davies wrote: "Unsurprisingly, given the controversies which whirl around Sandys's activities, Rabb writes a defensively detailed narrative which can sometimes overwhelm the reader. He has made an important contribution to the study of Jacobean politics."
Rabb begins by documenting Sandys's family history and concludes by noting his leadership of the Virginia Company and the part he played in the colonization of the New World. Because of an absence of sufficient information about his personal life, Rabb instead focuses on his public life, but Sandys was the son of a radical Protestant leader who became Archbishop of York. Sandys was well educated and well traveled, was married several times, had thirteen children, and was mentored by William Cecil. In 1609, with Francis Bacon, he drew up the second Jamestown colony charter. He was a member of the East India Company and a founder of the Bermuda Company. It was the failure of the Virginia Company, due to allegations of mismanagement and opposition from his own brother, that led to Sandys's downfall and indictment on four charges. The Jamestown colony survived, however, primarily because Sandys was responsible for its growing population.
Arthur F. Kinney Wrote in Renaissance Quarterly that Rabb "sketches for us a portrait of a gentleman who, largely through his firm leadership in Commons, was vital to the rise of the gentry under James. On the one hand, this is meant to show the developing power of the gentry and of Commons; on the other, it is meant to demonstrate the mistaken views of current revisionist historians." "It is a testimony to Rabb's persistence, as well as his abilities, that the present work succeeds in capturing the essence of a figure whom others have found elusive," wrote Stanford Lehmberg in History: A Review of New Books.
The Last Days of the Renaissance and the March to Modernity is Rabb's study of the rise of Western civilization during the seventeenth century. In demonstrating cultural change, Rabb includes examples of sculpture and art. Library Journal reviewer David Keymer wrote that Rabb "is a master at simplifying complicated historical questions without getting bogged down in trivialities or technicalities." Booklist contributor Jay Freeman described the volume as "an engrossing and often provocative work."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Anthropologist, March, 1987, Shirley Lindenbaum, review of Hunger and History: The Impact of Changing Food Production and Consumption Patterns on Society, p. 239.
American Historical Review, February, 2000, John Cannon, review of Jacobean Gentleman: Sir Edwin Sandys, 1561-1629, p. 274.
Armed Forces & Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal, summer, 1990, Paul A.C. Koistinen, review of The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars.
Biography, fall, 2000, review of Jacobean Gentleman.
BioScience, February, 1983, review of Climate and History: Studies in Interdisciplinary History, p. 131.
Book Report, May 1, 1993, Robert Otte, review of Renaissance Lives: Portraits of an Age, p. 49.
Booklist, January 1, 1993, Brad Hooper, review of Renaissance Lives, p. 788; April 1, 2006, Jay Freeman, review of The Last Days of the Renaissance and the March to Modernity, p. 15.
Choice, December, 1998, review of Jacobean Gentleman, p. 747; October, 2003, review of The Making and Unmaking of Democracy: Lessons from History and World Politics, p. 414.
Clio, winter, 1995, Kieran Egan, review of Renaissance Lives, p. 222.
Economic Development & Cultural Change, April, 1988, Joel Mokyr, review of Hunger and History, p. 559.
English Historical Review, July, 1991, Michal Baxandall, review of Art and History: Images and Their Meaning, p. 763; February, 2000, C.S.L Davies, review of Jacobean Gentleman, p. 201.
History: Review of New Books, winter, 1999, Stanford Lehmberg, review of Jacobean Gentleman, p. 69.
History: The Journal of the Historical Association, February, 1988, Paul Slack, review of Population and Economy: Population and History from the Traditional to the Modern World, p. 94.
History Today, July, 1990, Pamela Tudor-Craig, review of Art and History, p. 49.
International History Review, August, 1990, review of The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars, p. 651.
Journal of American History, March, 2000, Richard Middleton, review of Jacobean Gentleman, p. 1753.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, January, 1990, Peter Burke, review of Art and History, p. 158.
Journal of Military History, October, 1990, Russell F. Weigley, review of The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars, p. 486.
Journal of Modern History, September, 2000, Paul D. Halliday, review of Jacobean Gentleman, p. 780.
Library Journal, January, 1993, Bennett D. Hill, review of Renaissance Lives, p. 142; April 1, 2006, David Keymer, review of The Last Days of the Renaissance and the March to Modernity, p. 109.
Publishers Weekly, December 7, 1992, review of Renaissance Lives, p. 48.
Renaissance Quarterly, spring, 1995, Albert Rabil, Jr., reviews of Origins of the Modern West: Essays and Sources in Renaissance and Early Modern European History and Renaissance Lives; winter, 1999, Arthur F. Kinney, review of Jacobean Gentleman, p. 1169; summer, 2007, David Rutherford, review of The Last Days of the Renaissance and the March to Modernity.
School Library Journal, November, 1993, Jackie Gropman, review of Renaissance Lives, p. 152.
Sixteenth Century Journal, winter, 1994, Elwood E. Mather, review of Renaissance Lives; fall, 1999, Rudolph Paul Almasy, review of Jacobean Gentleman; winter, 1999, Curtis Perry, review of Jacobean Gentleman.
Times Literary Supplement, January 6, 1989, David Carrier, review of Art and History, p. 17; December 4, 1998, Kevin Sharpe, review of Jacobean Gentleman, p. 25; December 15, 2000, Paul Johnson, review of The Renaissance, p. 28; January 12, 2007, review of The Last Days of the Renaissance and the March to Modernity, p. 25.
William and Mary Quarterly, October, 2001, David Edwards, review of Jacobean Gentleman, p. 983.