Emory Report
Sept. 11, 2006
Volume 59, Number 3



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Sept. 11 , 2006
Memorial service planned for professor Young Sept. 16

A memorial service for J. Harvey Young, Candler Professor Emeritus of American Social History, will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, in Cannon Chapel. Young died July 29. He was 90.

Young was a renowned national expert on health quackery, patent medicines and medical fraud. He also was a beloved teacher who shared his zeal for history with graduate and undergraduate students from 1941 until his retirement in 1984.

From the days of post-World War II America until the dawn of disco, Young consistently challenged his students with one assignment that never went out of style: write a paper on a topic they were passionate about.

Young meticulously recorded the author and topic of each paper—all 640 of them—and in 2002 his former students were invited back to campus for a “class reunion.”

Nearly 40 alumni came back—one of them from Tokyo—to attend the event, and many more wrote to Young with fond memories of him and his American social and intellectual history class.

From 1948 to 1977 Young’s assignment produced papers on everything from birth control, Black Muslims, comic books and Sputnik, to the Beat Generation, the impact of television (in 1948, no less), the rise of suburbia, the changing role of women, and the civil rights movement.

“It has been an amazing experience to hear back from my students and to know that their educations were useful and memorable to them,” Young said at the time.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Young earned his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Illinois in 1941 and was married for 60 years to Myrna Goode Young, a professor of classical languages and literature at Agnes Scott College who died in 2000.

Young’s family has established the “J. Harvey Young Fund for the Emory Archives” and will match all gifts up to $7,500. The fund will be used primarily to manage the papers that Young donated to the library prior to his passing, as well as to support and manage other collections. Gifts in Young’s memory, made payable to Emory University, J. Harvey Young Fund for the Emory Archives, can be sent to Emory University,
Alumni and Development Records, Plaza 1000, 1762 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322.