James Harvey Robinson (June 29, 1863 in Bloomington, Illinois - February 16, 1936 in New York City) was an American historian, who co-founded New History, which greatly broadened the scope of historical scholarship in relation to the social sciences.
Robinson was born Illinois, the son of a bank president. After traveling to Europe in 1882 and returning to work in his father's bank, Robinson entered Harvard University in 1884, earning his M.A. in 1888 before returning to Europe. After further study at the University of Strasbourg and the University of Freiburg, he received his Ph.D. at Freiburg in 1890, and began teaching European history at the University of Pennsylvania in 1891, moving to Columbia University in 1895–1919, becoming a full professor in 1895.
Following a series of faculty departures from Columbia in disputes about academic freedom, including that of his friend Charles A. Beard, Robinson resigned from Columbia in May 1919 to become one of the founders of the New School for Social Research and serve as its first director.
Robinson died in New York City.
Robinson's An Introduction to the History of Western Europe (1902, followed by several editions) was "The first textbook on European history which was reliable in scholarship, lively in tone, and penetrating in its interpretations. It revolutionized the teaching of European history and put a whole generation of history students and history teachers in debt to the author." (Harry Elmer Barnes)..
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