Weber, David J. 1940-

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Weber, David J. 1940-


Born December 20, 1940, in Buffalo, NY; son of Theodore C. (an appliance dealer) and Frances J. Weber; married Carol S. Bryant (a teacher), June 16, 1962; children: Scott David, Amy Carol. Education: State University of New York College at Fredonia, B.S., 1962; University of New Mexico, M.A., 1964, Ph.D., 1967.


Home—Dallas, TX. Office—Department of History, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275. E-mail—[email protected].


San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, assistant professor, 1967-70, associate professor, 1970-73, professor of history, 1973-76; Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, professor of history, beginning 1976, chairman of department, beginning 1979, professor of history, 1986—; Clements Center for Southwest Studies, founding director, 1995—. Fulbright lecturer, University of Costa Rica, 1970. Danforth associate, 1973—. Member of board of editors, Southern Methodist University Press, beginning 1983. Member of advisory board, Texas Humanities Center, 1980-83; member of National Council of Advisors, Institute of the American West, beginning 1983.


American Antiquarian Society, PEN, American Historical Association, Conference on Latin American History, Organization of American Historians, Society of American Historians, Western History Association, Mexican Academy of History, Texas Institute of Letters.


The Taos Trappers: The Fur Trade in the Far Southwest, 1540-1846 was named best book on Southwest history by Border States Regional Library Association, 1970-71; Outstanding Educator of America award, 1973; National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, 1974-75; Foreigners in Their Native Land: Historical Roots of the Mexican Americans was selected as one of the outstanding academic books on the history of North America by Choice, 1974-75; American Philosophical Society grant, summer, 1975; Huntington Library fellow, summer, 1975; American Council of Learned Societies fellow, spring, 1980; New York Times Notable Book, Caroline Bancroft History Prize, Denver Public Library, Outstanding Nonfiction Book Prize, National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, Premio España y América, Spanish Ministry of Culture, Carr P. Collins Award for best nonfiction book, Texas Institute of Letters, Western History Association Caughey Prize for outstanding book on the American West, all 1992, Western Heritage Award, History Book Club, 1993, all for The Spanish Frontier in North American; named membership in the Real Orden de Isabel la Católica, King Juan Carlos of Spain, 2002; named Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca, Mexico, 2005; John Edwin Fagg Prize for best publication in the history of Spain, Portugal, or Latin America to appear in 2005, American Historical Association, Choice Outstanding Academic Title, both 2006, both for Bárbaros; inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2007; Herbert E. Bolton Award in Spanish Borderlands History, Western Historical Quarterly, for article "The Failure of a Frontier Institution"; The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846: The American Southwest under Mexico received awards from Westerners International, Organization of American Historians, Border States Regional Library Association, Sons of the Texas Republic, and Texas Institute of Letters.


(Editor and translator) The Extranjeros: Selected Documents from the Mexican Side of the Santa Fe Trail, 1825-1828, Stagecoach Press (Portsmouth, RI), 1967.

(Editor) Albert Pike, Prose Sketches and Poems Written in the Western Country (with Additional Stories), Calvin Horn, 1967, new edition by Albert Pike, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1987.

(Editor) David H. Coyner, The Lost Trappers, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1970, new edition, with introduction and new afterword by David J. Weber, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 1995.

The Taos Trappers: The Fur Trade in the Far Southwest, 1540-1846, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 1971.

Foreigners in Their Native Land: Historical Roots of the Mexican Americans, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1973, new edition, with a new foreword by Arnoldo De Leon and new afterword by David J. Weber, 2003.

(Editor) El Mexico Perdido: Ensayos sobre el antiguo norte de Mexico, 1540-1821, Secretaria de Education Publica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1976.

(Editor) Northern Mexico on the Eve of the United States Invasion: Rare Imprints Concerning California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, 1821-1846, Arno (New York, NY), 1976.

(Editor, with Duane L. Smith) Fortunes Are for the Few: Letters of a Forty-niner by Charles William Churchill, San Diego Historical Society (San Diego, CA), 1977.

(Editor) New Spain's Far Northern Frontier: Essays on Spain in the American Southwest, 1540-1821, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1979.

The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846: The American Southwest under Mexico, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1982, Spanish edition with translation by Agustin Barcena, Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1988.

(Editor and translator, with Conchita Hassell Winn) Troubles in Texas, 1832: A Tejano Viewpoint from San Antonio, Wind River Press (Bothell, WA), 1983.

Richard H. Kern: Expeditionary Artist in the American Southwest, 1848-1853, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1985.

(Editor and translator) Donaciano Vigil, Arms, Indians, and the Mismanagement of New Mexico, Texas Western Press/University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, TX), 1986.

Myth and the History of the Hispanic Southwest: Essays, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1988.

(Editor) The Californios versus Jedediah Smith, 1826-1827: A New Cache of Documents, A.H. Clark (Spokane, WA), 1990.

(Editor and author of introduction) The Idea of Spanish Borderlands, Garland (New York, NY), 1991.

The Spanish Frontier in North America, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1992.

(Editor, with Jane M. Rausch) Where Cultures Meet: Frontiers in Latin American History, SR Books (Wilmington, DE), 1994.

(Editor, with Jane Lenz Elder) Trading in Santa Fe: John M. Kingsbury's Correspondence with James Josiah Webb, 1853-1861, Southern Methodist University Press/DeGolyer Library (Dallas, TX), 1996.

On the Edge of Empire: The Taos Hacienda of los Martinez, photographic essay by Anthony Richardson, narrative text by Skip Miller, Museum of New Mexico Press (Santa Fe, NM), 1996.

(Selection and introduction of readings) What Caused the Pueblo Revolt of 1680?, selections by Henry Warner Bowden, Bedford/St. Martin's (Boston, MA), 1999.

Spanish Bourbons and Wild Indians, Baylor University Press (Waco, TX), 2004.

Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2005.

(With others) Jamestown, Quebec, Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings, Smithsonian Books (Washington, DC), 2007.

Coeditor of "Histories of the American Frontier" series. Contributor to several volumes of The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, edited by LeRoy R. Hafen, 1966-72; contributor of over eighty articles and reviews to historical journals. Member of board of editorial consultants and book review editor of Journal of San Diego History, 1971-76; member of board of editorial consultants, New Mexico Historical Review, 1977—, Meyibo, 1977—, and California Historical Quarterly, 1980—; member of board of editors, Western Historical Quarterly, 1975-80, and Southwest Review, 1983—.


David J. Weber was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He earned his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York College at Fredonia, and then continued his education at the University of New Mexico, where he earned both his master's degree and his doctorate. A writer and educator, he has taught at a number of universities, both on the faculty and in a guest capacity, including San Diego State University and Southern Methodist University. His primary areas of research and academic interest include the history of the American frontier and the Southwest, with a particular focus on life in the nineteenth century. He is the author or editor of a number of books pertaining to the American Southwest, the United States' relations with Native Americans, and its relations with Mexico.

In The Spanish Frontier in North America, Weber notes that most Americans know very little about the colonial period in the American West and Southwest, specifically the region that was heavily populated by both Mexicans and Spanish between the early sixteenth century and the mid-nineteenth century. This book serves as a type of overview, going back to the arrival of Ponce de Leon and covering basic information regarding the history of the region, including the areas that later became some of the country's major cities to the west, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Antonio. With Hispanic Americans likely to become the largest minority group in the United States, this book is of particular interest. Weber frames much of the history of the area as an adventure story, complete with many of the figures and incidents that have fueled Hollywood movies on the region for years. But he also highlights the hardships of life in the area and illustrates the faults of Spain, in particular, as the ruling body for the colonial West at the time. Nicholas Lehmann, in a review for the Atlantic, noted that "this admirable book is of almost no use in enriching our understanding of present-day Hispanic America, which is made up of recent immigrants from former Spanish colonies where the mother country's culture took in a way that it didn't in the United States."

Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment addresses the question of the Spanish borderlands and the influence of Colonial Spain and later the Latin American nations. John M. Headley, in a review for Church History, commented that "with the most scrupulous, balanced judgment and the most exhaustive research Weber has produced a book that defies the usual cliché of being magisterial but proves to be rather a pivot, pilot, and pioneer in the immediate field of the Spanish colonial empire and a compass for the broader historiographical subject of the borderlands in the context of history's empires and of other political constructs." He looks at the general colonial mandates and how they functioned, including settling land, searching for wealth, and "civilizing" the native peoples encountered in the New World.



Atlantic, November 1, 1992, Nicholas Lemann, review of The Spanish Frontier in North America, p. 149.

Church History, June 1, 2007, John M. Headley, review of Barbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment, p. 439.

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Weber, David J. 1940-

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