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Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor Emeritus Carl N. Degler dies at 93


Carl Degler, 93, was a Stanford professor emeritus of history. (Courtesy of Therese Baker-Degler/Stanford News)
Carl Degler, 93, was a Stanford professor emeritus of history.
(Courtesy of Therese Baker-Degler/Stanford News)

American historian Carl N. Degler, who joined Stanford in 1968 as a faculty member and retired in 1990, died of natural causes at the age of 93 on Dec. 27.

Degler was the Margaret Byrne Professor of America History, Emeritus, at Stanford.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for history for his book, “Neither Black nor White,” in 1972, which compared slavery and race relations in Brazil and the United States.

Degler wrote about the history of the American South, comparative race relations in Brazil and the United States, the role of women in American society and the influence of Darwinian ideas in American culture. He was one of two men among the founders of the National Organization for Women in 1966.

His other books included “Out of Our Past, At Odds: Women and the Family in America from the Revolution to the Present,” “The Other South: Southern Dissenters in the 19th Century” and “The Third American Revolution.”

During his career, he was elected as the president of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians and the Southern Historical Association.

Degler began his career as a professor in 1952 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY.

From 1942 to 1945 he served in the U.S. Army Air Force in India. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Upsala College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in American history from Columbia University, where he met his wife, Catherine Grady. They were married nearly 50 years until her death.

Degler is survived by his wife of 14 years, Therese Baker-Degler, an academic sociologist; two children, Paul Degler of Bethesda, Md. and Suzanne Degler of Palo Alto, and four grandchildren.

A memorial service is being planned for the campus community in the spring. Additional information about Degler’s career is available in the Stanford News.

Contact Katherine Carr at kcarr2 ‘at’

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Katherine Carr is a reporter for The Stanford Daily with a passion for science and public health. She comes to Stanford from Irvine, Calif., where she worked as a freelance writer for the Orange County Register. Carr is a prospective chemistry major and likes to write about science, politics and fashion. To contact her, please email kcarr2 'at' or follow her on Twitter @KatAnneCarr.