Dodd, William Edward

Dodd, William Edward, 1869–1940, American historian and diplomat, b. Clayton, N.C. He was professor of history at Randolph-Macon College (1900–1908) and at the Univ. of Chicago (1908–33). From June, 1933, to Dec., 1937, he was ambassador to Germany. Dodd, an admirer of the German culture he knew in his pleasant student days at Leipzig, returned as U.S. envoy with high hopes of improving German-American relations. The Nazis, however, recently come to power, soon alienated him, and he became an outspoken critic of Hitlerism. His historical writings reflect with vigor his passionate devotion to democracy, and he inspired a whole school of historians, who carried on his Jeffersonian and Wilsonian ideals. His works include biographies of Nathaniel Macon (1903, repr. 1970) and Jefferson Davis (1907, repr. 1966), Statesmen of the Old South (1911), and The Old South: Struggles for Democracy (1937). He also edited, with Ray Stannard Baker, The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson (6 vol., 1924–27).

See Ambassador Dodd's Diary, 1933–1938 (ed. by his son, W. E. Dodd, Jr., and his daughter, M. Dodd, 1941). See biography by R. Dallek (1968, repr. 2012); E. Larson, In the Garden of Beasts (2011).

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