Kate Douglas Torrey: Alan Trachtenberg (d. 8/18/2020)

UNC Press joins the many scholars and students of American Studies and American history in noting with sadness the loss of Alan Trachtenberg, Yale’s Neil Gray Jr. Professor of English and professor of American Studies emeritus. He was one of the pre-eminent scholars to establish the field of American Studies, a leading voice in demonstrating new ways of understanding the intersection of history and culture, and an authoritative interpreter of photography as an important cultural and historical source.

When I arrived at the Press in the summer of 1989, my predecessor as Editor-in-Chief, Iris Tillman Hill, had persuaded Trachtenberg to edit a new series for the Press, and together they had signed up several promising manuscripts to launch the series. Over the next 20+ years, Cultural Studies of the United States quickly earned a reputation as an important and influential publisher of work in that emerging field, thanks to Trachtenberg’s hands-on approach to reading, identifying, and encouraging, the work of young scholars.

Trachtenberg had a nearly limitless curiosity, a quick mind, and an enormous appetite for work. Along with many scholars of U.S. social history, labor history, and political economy, we will miss him. We are all in his debt.

Kate Douglas Torrey
UNC Press Editor-in-Chief, 1989-92; Director 1992-2012