Kevin Byrne


Professor Emeritus in History

Hard as it is for me to believe, I joined the History Department at Gustavus in 1971, which actually doesn't seem all that long ago.  A native of Connecticut, I completed my undergraduate education at Providence College, graduating magna cum laude with a major in Humanities.  But history was the subject I studied most deeply, and I determined to seek a teaching career in that field.  So I ventured off to Duke University for graduate school, focusing on twentieth-century U.S. history, especially the World War I era.  Eventually, I completed a dissertation on the federal administration of the railroads during the war, an emergency step taken by the government to bring order to a chaotic transportation situation.

Arriving at Gustavus, I began teaching the U.S. history survey courses as well as specialized course such as American Reform and American Social and Intellectual History.  But my focus returned to the 20th century and, in particular, my own lifetime.  I now offer courses in America and the Vietnam War, Recent U.S. History since 1945, New Deal America (which I hasten to add was before my lifetime), and a variety of other courses.  At one point I also taught Irish History, a course which enabled me to investigate the history of the land my father and all my grandparents came from.  Additionally, I have edited a book entitled Responsible Science: The Impact of Technology on Society (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986 and collaborated in the production of A Handbook of American Military History: From the Revolutionary War to the Present, second edition revised (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006).

While at Gustavus I have also been very much involved in the secondary education program.  For two years, moreover, I edited the Magazine of History for the Organization of American Historians, and currently I  serve as a consultant for the College Board's multi-year review of the AP course in U.S. history, as well as a member of the Advisory Board for a Teaching American History grant in our region.

I enjoy traveling, especially back to North Carolina and to Ireland, and following the ups and downs of the Duke Blue Devils (and the Gusties!) in the world of athletics.  And I also love to read mysteries which, when you think about it, is not that different from loving to unravel the past.


B.A. Providence College, M.A. and Ph.D Duke University

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HIS-140 American History since the Civil War 19 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/SP, 2008/SP, 2007/FA, 2007/SP, 2006/FA, 2003/SP, 2002/FA, 2002/SP, 2001/SP, 2000/FA, and 1999/SP
HIS-343 America and the Vietnam War, 1945–1975 10 2010/FA, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, 2007/FA, 2006/FA, 2003/SP, 2002/SP, 2001/SP, 2000/SP, and 1999/SP
HIS-244 Special Topic: JFK to Nixon 6 2010/SP, 2008/FA, 2007/FA, 2001/SP, and 2000/SP
HIS-200 History Seminar 5 2007/SP, 2006/FA, 2003/SP, 2002/FA, and 2001/FA
HIS-241 Recent United States History, 1945-1995 4 2010/FA and 2009/FA
HIS-342 The United States Since 1945 4 2002/FA, 2001/FA, 2000/FA, and 1999/FA
HIS-344 ST:New Deal America 2 2009/SP and 2008/SP
HIS-330 Ireland: Hist, Drama 1 2011/JN
POL-215 Political Parties and Elections 1 2010/FA
HIS-268 Career Exploration 1 2008/JN
HIS-269 Making Local History 1 2007/JN
HIS-396 Honors Tutorial I 1 2001/FA
HIS-373 Historical Biography 1 2001/JN
IDS-101 Art, Sport, and Society 1 2000/JN
HIS-242 America at War in 20th Century 1 1999/FA
Courses prior to Spring semester 1999 are not displayed.