‘Washington’s Remarkable Generation’ Topic of Riddle Lecture March 3



Feb. 28, 2005 – “Washington’s Remarkable Generation” will be the topic of the Fifth Annual Veryl L. Riddle Distinguished History Lecture March 3 at Southeast Missouri State University.

Dr. Don Higginbotham, professor of American history at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, will present the lecture at 7:30 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium of Dempster Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Since 1988, Higginbotham has held the distinguished Dowd Professorship of American History at North Carolina.

He is one of the leading scholars of early American history, the American Revolutionary War, George Washington, the formation of the American way of war, and many of the individuals who created and established the United States of America.

Higginbotham is a product of southeast Missouri. His mother, Maude Myers, was born and raised in Bollinger County. She attended Southeast Missouri State College and the University of Missouri. She taught school at Grassy, Mo., and Central High School in Cape Girardeau, and served as principal of Bernie High School. For many years, she was an acclaimed history teacher in the Malden (Mo.) schools. Her brother, Vest Myers, was a long-time school Higginbotham administrator, including a number of years at Southeast Missouri State College. Myers Hall on the Southeast campus was named in his honor.

The Higginbotham family called Malden home from 1931 to 1979. There’s Don’s father, Dick Higginbotham was a well-known and respected banker.

After graduating from Malden High School, Higginbotham enrolled at Missouri Valley College at Marshall. His goal was to seek a career with the Boy Scouts, an organization for which he had a great dedication. But, following his second year at Missouri Valley, he enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis and was impressed by a young professor of history, Frank Vandiver, who encouraged him to move into history and graduate study.

He did so and later enrolled at the University of Nebraska to study under Dr. John Alden, a prominent historian of the American Revolution. When Alden left Nebraska to accept a teaching position at Duke University, Higginbotham went along, receiving his doctoral degree from that institution after having completed his doctoral dissertation on the Revolutionary War hero, Daniel Morgan.

Since earning his doctoral degree, Higginbotham has taught at Duke, William and Mary, Longwood College, Louisiana State University, the U.S. Military Academy and the University of North Carolina.

Higginbotham has a distinguished record of research and publications. They include the following books: Daniel Morgan: Revolutionary Rifleman; The War of American Independence: Military Attitudes, Policy and Practice, 1763-1789; The Atlas of the American Revolution; The Papers of James Iredell, 1767-1783, 2 volumes (editor); Reconsiderations on the Revolutionary War: Selected Essays (editor); George Washington and the American Military Tradition; Ward and Society in Early America: The Wider Dimensions of Conflict; George Washington Reconsidered; American Revolutions; and George Washington: Uniting a Nation. He also has authored more than 80 articles and review.

Interestingly, Higginbotham is a distant cousin of Veryl Riddle, for whom the Riddle Distinguished History Lecture is named.

Riddle was born and raised on a farm in Dunklin County, Missouri. He graduated from Campbell High School, enrolled at Southeast Missouri State College, and returned to Dunklin County to each in a one-room rural school. He served four years in World War II, attended law school at Washington University in St. Louis and returned to Malden, where he maintained a law practice from 1948 to 1967. From 1967 to 1969, he was U.S. Attorney in St. Louis, where he established an outstanding legal record.

In 1969, Riddle joined the Bryan Cave law firm and, from his position as head of the litigation department, helped to build the firm into one of the largest law firms in the nation. An attorney and legal scholar, Riddle has never forgotten his origins in southeast Missouri and has endowed the lecture series, which brings distinguished historians to the campus of Southeast Missouri State University.

For more information, call The Center for Regional History at Southeast Missouri State University at (573) 651-2555.