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Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 124. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, III$
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P. J. Marshall

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263204

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263204.001.0001

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John Harold Plumb, 1911–2001

John Harold Plumb, 1911–2001

(p.267) (p.268) John Harold Plumb, 1911–2001
Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 124. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, III

David Cannadine

British Academy

Sir John Plumb was a commanding figure, both within academe and also far beyond. He was as much read in the United States as in the United Kingdom; he was a great enabler, patron, fixer and entrepreneur; he belonged to the smart social set both in Mayfair and Manhattan; a race horse was named after him in England and the stars and the stripes were once flown above the US Capitol in his honour; and he appeared, thinly disguised but inadequately depicted, in the fiction of Angus Wilson, William Cooper and C. P. Snow. Yet one important aspect of Plumb's career has been repeatedly ignored and overlooked: for while his life was an unusually long one, his productive period as a significant historian was surprisingly, almost indecently, brief.

Keywords:   historian, biography, obituary, race horse, fiction

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