Robin W. Winks

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Robin W. Winks, "the Randolph W. Townsend, Jr. Professor of History at Yale University, died on April 7 [2003] at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

"A beloved husband, father, teacher, colleague and historian, Professor Winks was also an enthusiastic supporter of and adviser to the National Park Service and a regular detective novel reviewer for the Boston Globe and The New Republic. His scholarly work explored the history of the British Empire, comparative American history, conservation history and the theory and development of espionage. He chaired the History Department at Yale from 1996 to 1999...

"Born in Indiana on December 5, 1930, he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Colorado in 1952. As a Fulbright Scholar in New Zealand he earned a master's degree in Maori studies from Victoria University...

"Among his many distinctions, Professor Winks was a Fellow of the Explorers Club, the Society of American Historians, the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Commonwealth Society, and a member of both the Athenaeum and Special Forces Clubs. He was a Fulbright Scholar, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Smith-Mundt Fellow, a Stimson Grant winner, and was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In 1989 Professor Winks won the Donner Medal from the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States...

"A partial list of his scholarly books includes "Canada and the United States" (1960); "The Age of Imperialism" (1969); "The Historian as Detective: Essays on Evidence" (1969); "A History of Western Civilization," with Brinton, Christopher and Wolf (1984). "Cloak and Gown: Scholars in America's Secret War" (1987); "Frederick Billings: A Life" (1991); and "Laurance S. Rockefeller, Catalyst for Conservation" (1997). He wrote the 16-part television series, "Between the Wars," for the BBC, and was adviser to several other documentary programs...

"He served as chair of the National Parks System Advisory Board, and in 1988 won the Department of the Interior's Conservationist of the Year Award. In 1999, the National Parks Conservation Association awarded him its first gold medal for contributions to public education on behalf of the national parks and proceeded to establish the prize as an annual honor known as the Robin W. Winks Award.

"Beyond his teaching and research, Professor Winks was actively involved in the mentoring and nurturing of the student body. From 1977 to 1981 he served as Master of Berkeley College, overseeing one of 12 residential communities within the undergraduate portion of the university. The Master coordinates the intellectual and cultural life in the college, working closely with others to insure the well-being of all students. He ran a popular wine-appreciation society (with Fareed Zakaria, then a student), when the legal drinking age in Connecticut was 18." [1]

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  1. In Memoriam: Robin Winks, Yale University, accessed September 8, 2009.