For the Love of History

Historic photo of Young holding a bottle of tonic or elixir

James Harvey Young

James Harvey Young Papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library

“Colleagues recall the sparkle in Young’s eye when he lectured,” wrote Victoria Harden 66C 83PhD, a medical historian, in a tribute to James Harvey Young published by the American Historical Association in 2007.

Young would, no doubt, be particularly pleased by the legacy that bears his name: the J. Harvey Young Lecture, given each year by a prominent historian—often in Young’s own field of specialty, the history of American medicine.

A legendary figure in Emory’s Department of History, Young spent more than four decades here, becoming the Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Social History in 1980. After his retirement in 1984, family and friends endowed the annual lecture to honor Young’s contributions; he attended the talks for many years until his death in 2006.

More recently, his son, Harvey Young 65C, provided an additional $50,000 to build and expand the endowment to support faculty research and graduate fellowships.

Other endowments in the history department include the Betty Gage Holland Chair in Roman History, established in 2007 with a $2 million gift by the Jim Cox Jr. Foundation. The late Holland, an avid traveler and art lover, was the widow of the former head of Cox Enterprises. The chair is held by Judith Evans-Grubbs 78C, who gave the inaugural lecture in 2011.

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