Yale Scholar to Deliver Veryl L. Riddle Distinguished History Lecture


Photo of the Show Me Center

Faragher’s topic will be “A New Look at Violence in the American West.” The event is free and open to the public and will be held in the Show Me Center.


April 23, 2007 –The Sixth Annual Veryl L. Riddle Distinguished History Lecture for 2007 will be delivered at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 26, by Dr. John Mack Faragher of Yale University.

Faragher’s topic will be “A New Look at Violence in the American West.” The event is free and open to the public and will be held in the Show Me Center.

Faragher is the The Arthur Unobskey Professor of American History and director of the Howard R. Lamar Center at Yale University. 

He is currently recognized as the leading scholar of the American West. In 2000, he published The American West: A New Interpretive History, now the most widely acclaimed textbook on the history of the West. His textbook, Out of Many: A History of the American People, has gone through several editions and is now one of the most widely used textbooks on American college campuses. For several years, it was the American history textbook used at Southeast.

In addition to his highly successful textbooks, Faragher is the author of an award-winning biography: Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer, accepted as “the most reliable biography” of the man and the legend. He also has authored Women and Men on the Overland Trail, (1979); Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie, (1986); The Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary America , (1996); The American Heritage Encyclopedia of American History, (1998); Re-Reading Frederick Jackson Turner: The Significance of the Frontier in American History, and Other Essays, (1994); and most recently, A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians From Their American Homeland, (2005).

Faragher was born in Phoenix, Ariz., and raised in southern California, where he attended the University of California-Riverside, earning his bachelor of arts degree in 1967. For a number of years, Faragher was a social worker before moving to graduate work in history at Yale University, leading to a doctoral degree in 1977.

From 1977 to 1993, Faragher served as a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., one of the most prestigious women’s colleges in the United States. In 1993, he returned to Yale where he currently teaches courses in the history of the American West and directs the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders. The Lamar Center seeks to further the advanced historical study of North American frontiers and borders, as well as the comparative study of the frontier experience throughout the world. 

Faragher’s presentation is the Sixth Veryl L. Riddle Distinguished History Lecture on the campus at Southeast. The Riddle Lecture is made possible by an endowment from Mr. and Mrs. Veryl Riddle. Mr. Riddle is a prominent St. Louis attorney who was born and raised on a farm in Dunklin County, graduated from Campbell High School in 1939, and attended Southeast Missouri State University.

He served in World War II from 1942 to 1945. Following the war, he received his law degree from Washington University and returned to Dunklin County where he practiced law for 17 years. From 1967 to 1969, Mr. Riddle served as U.S. attorney in St. Louis, later joining the Bryan Cave Law firm, then a small firm, now one of the largest legal firms in the nation.

In 2006, Mr. Riddle received an Award of Merit from the American College of Trial Lawyers, only the fifth Missouri fellow to ever receive this award. The award highlighted Riddle’s efforts on behalf of federal grand jury reform. He spent several years working to make key changes in the instructions that judges give to grand juries, changes that are now in place.