Wade, Richard C. 1922–2008

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Wade, Richard C. 1922–2008

(Richard Clement Wade)


See index for CA sketch: Born July 14, 1922, in Des Moines, IA; died July 18, 2008, in New York, NY. Historian, social scientist, educator, political consultant, and author. Wade is credited with transforming the research on a scattered collection of miscellaneous cities into a cohesive academic field that embraces history, politics, social science, geography, and all the other disciplines that are concerned with urban America. To Wade, the concept of "the city" could not be defined solely by geographical boundaries, historical chronologies, political movements, population changes, or other statistical diagnostics. He did believe, however, that social science techniques could be used to explore the concept of the city as a living, evolving entity and to examine its role in the panorama of the American experience. One of his earliest studies focused on the role of "urban spread" in the settlement and extension of the western frontier. This countered a prevailing view that westward expansion owed its impetus to farmers and pioneering adventurers. Wade introduced his alternative theory at several universities between 1948 and 1971, when he joined the Graduate Center of the City University of New York as a professor of history. He remained there until 1993, teaching urban history in the heart of America's largest urban metropolis. Wade was the founder of the Urban History Association. He was also a sought-after political consultant, advising Democratic candidates for public office from Robert F. Kennedy to George McGovern and Mario Cuomo. Wade wrote a handful of books, including The Urban Frontier: The Rise of Western Cities (1959), Slavery in the Cities: The South, 1820-1860 (1964), A History of the United States (1966), Chicago: The Growth of a Metropolis (1969), and The Cities (1973). He edited several others.



New York Times, July 25, 2008, p. C17.