Walter Havighurst

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Walter Edwin Havighurst (November 28, 1901 - February 3, 1994), critic, novelist, literary and social historian of the Midwest, professor of English at Miami University.


The son of Lawrence College professors Freeman Alfred Havighurst and Winifred Weter, born in Appleton, Wisconsin, he grew up in Fox River Valley. Havighurst attended Ohio Wesleyan University and earned a Bachelor of Arts, University of Denver (1924); attended King's College London, 1925-26 Bachelor of Sacred Theology Boston University (1928); Masters of Arts Columbia University (1928) and was awarded honorary degrees from Lawrence College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Marietta College, and Miami University.

Havighurst joined the faculty of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio in 1928 and served interim terms on the faculties of Connecticut College, the University of Colorado and the University of British Columbia. In 1968, Miami named him Regents Professor of English Emeritus. He retired as research professor emeritus in 1969.

He married Marion Boyd, a poet and writer, in 1930 and resided in Oxford, Ohio, she died in 1974. He remained in Oxford until the last few years of his life when he moved to Richmond, Indiana to live with relatives, where he died of heart disease.

He was from a distinguished academic family including his brother, Robert J. Havighurst, a noted professor at the University of Chicago.

Author of over thirty books, including Pier 17, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and Annie Oakley of the Wild West (Oakley's life was the inspiration for the earlier musical Annie Get Your Gun). His writing earned awards from the Friends of American Writers, the American Association for State and Local History and the Rockefeller Foundation. River Road to the West received the American History Prize of the Society of Midland Authors.

He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Delta Theta, the Society of American Historians, the Authors League and served as vice president of the Society of Midland Authors.

A major bequest from Havighurst created the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at Miami University upon his death.

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