Schaeper, Kathleen

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SCHAEPER, Kathleen

PERSONAL: Married Thomas J. Schaeper (an author and professor of history).

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Berghahn Books, 150 Broadway, Ste. 812, New York, NY 10038.

CAREER: Educator and author. St. Bonaventure summer program, Oxford University, England, codirector; Allegany-Limestone Central School, Allegany, NY, social studies teacher.


(With husband, Thomas J. Schaeper) Cowboys intoGentlemen: Rhodes Scholars, Oxford, and the Creation of an American Elite, Berghahn Books (New York, NY), 1998.

SIDELIGHTS: Kathleen Schaeper and her husband, educator Thomas J. Schaeper, wrote Cowboys into Gentlemen: Rhodes Scholars, Oxford, and the Creation of an American Elite. The couple developed the idea for the book while codirecting a summer program at Oxford University, this became their first to address a general audience.

A British colonialist and the founder of Rhodesia, Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) established the Rhodes scholarship program in 1903, and since 1976, women—as well as men—have been invited to apply for it. Of the thousands of applications received each year, only thirty-two college graduates from the United States are chosen. Others are selected from colleges in Britain and Germany. Rhodes scholars have included President Bill Clinton, U.S. Supreme Court justices Byron White and David Souter, politicians Bill Bradley and J. William Fulbright, public policy analysts Robert Reich and George Stephanopoulos, writer Robert Penn Warren, and entertainer Kris Kristofferson. While the Schaepers found that many Rhodes scholars have excelled in politics, the arts, and business, they also found that many have not. The authors discovered, in fact, that Rhodes scholars are faced with a special set of pressures, and more than three dozen recipients of the award have committed suicide.

The Schaepers drew on published documents, including biographies, along with hundreds of interviews to determine how important the Oxford experience was to Rhodes scholars, their opinions of Oxford and England in general, and how they felt the experience impacted their lives. There were no black American Rhodes scholars between 1907, when Harlem Renaissance leader Alain Locke was selected, and 1963, when novelist John Edgar Wideman and J. Stanley Sanders were chosen. No admission exclusions had been incorporated into the selection criteria by the Rhodes administrators, in spite of Rhodes' own beliefs; the Schaepers' research indicates that the omission was due to racial insensitivity on the part of members of the American selection board. Richard King concluded in the Times Literary Supplement that with the exception of a few notables, like Clinton, "none of the figures who have made a difference in twentieth-century America has profited from, or been damaged by, the years at Oxford."



Booklist, October 15, 1998, Brian McCombie, review of Cowboys into Gentlemen: Rhodes Scholars, Oxford, and the Creation of an American Elite, p. 378.

Library Journal, July, 1998, Terry A. Christner, review of Cowboys into Gentlemen, p. 107.

Times Literary Supplement, June 25, 1999, Richard King, review of Cowboys into Gentlemen, p. 36.*

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Schaeper, Kathleen

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