Herbert H. Rowen

Herbert Harvey Rowen (22 October 1916 in Brooklyn, New York 31 March 1999 in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania), was a noted American historian of Early Modern Europe and "arguably the most important English-speaking historian of the Dutch Republic since John Lothrop Motley."[1]

Early life and education

The son of Joseph M. Rowen, a teacher, and his wife, Sarah Gordon Rowen, Herbert Rowen was educated entirely in New York City, from his first year in grade school through his doctorate. He earned his [B.S.S.] degree in 1936 at City College of New York. In 1938, he became assistant to the manager of Converters Paper Company in Newark, New Jersey and, two years later, on 28 June 1940, he married Mildred Ringel (died January 1999), with whom he later had three children. Rowen remained with Converters Paper until 1942, when he joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps and spent three years in England and France.

On his return to New York from military service in 1946, Rowen followed his growing interests in languages and took a position as an editorial research assistant with the American College Dictionary at Random House. On completing that job, he thought of going on to graduate work in French, but was advised by a former teacher to use his linguistic skills to study history. Following that advice, he entered Columbia University and completed his M.A. degree in history in 1948 with a thesis on "Annexation of the Congo by Belgium; a parliamentary study". finding this too controversial a subject to carry on to doctoral research, he shifted his area of study to Early Modern Europe and became the first of many graduate students of a new Columbia University faculty member, Garrett Mattingly. Under his tutelage, Rowen completed his doctoral dissertation on "Pomponne and De Witt (1669-1671); a study of French policy on the eve of the Dutch War" and was awarded his Ph.D. at Columbia in 1951.

Academic career

While still a graduate student in 1950, Brandeis University appointed Rowen an instructor in history. He taught there until 1953, when the University of Iowa appointed him assistant professor. After four years there, Elmira College appointed him associate professor in 1957. While attached to Elmira College, Rowen served as visaiting associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1959-60, just before the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee appointed him a full professor in 1960. Rowen remained in Milwaukee until 1964, when Rutgers University appointed him professor of history. After having had this wide variety of teaching assignments, Rowen settled down at Rutgers for twenty-three years, remaining on the faculty there until his retirement in 1987.

Published works


  1. Craig Harline, "In Memoriam: Herbert H. Rowen," AHA Perspectives, November 1999.
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