Theodore K. Rabb

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Theodore Rabb
Born(1937-03-05)5 March 1937
Died7 January 2019(2019-01-07) (aged 81)
Alma materQueen's College, Oxford
Known for16th- and 17th-century European history
TitleProfessor of History at Princeton University
Spouse(s)Tamar Janowsky
Childrenthree (Susannah, Jonathan and Jeremy)

Theodore K. Rabb (March 5, 1937–January 7, 2019) was an American historian specializing in the early modern period of European history. He was a Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Princeton University. He was one of the leading scholars in the field of 16th- and 17th-century Europe, focusing on varying topics such as climate history and food history.[1]


Rabb was born on March 5, 1937, in Teplice-Sanov, Czechoslovakia. He was raised in London. He studied at The Queen's College, Oxford (B.A., 1958; M.A., 1962) and at Princeton University (M.A., 1960; Ph.D., 1961). His Ph.D. advisers were Elmore Harris Harbison and Frank Craven. Rabb was a professor of history at Stanford University, Northwestern University, and Harvard University before becoming an Associate Professor at Princeton University in 1967.[1]


He was a member of the Princeton faculty since 1967, teaching in both the History Department and in Humanistic Studies, an interdisciplinary program. He also directed Princeton’s Community College programs.

In 1970, he co-founded the Journal of Interdisciplinary History with Robert I. Rotberg. He was also an advisor for the 1993 television series Renaissance.[2] He has chaired the National Council for History Education and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.[3]

Personal Life & Death[edit]



  • The Thirty Years' War: Problems of Motive, Extent, and Effect (Boston, 1964)
  • Enterprise and Empire: Merchant and Gentry Investment in the Expansion of England, 1575-1630 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967)
  • The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975)
  • Renaissance Lives: Portraits of an Age (New York: Pantheon Books, 1993)
  • Jacobean Gentleman: Sir Edwin Sandys, 1561-1629 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998)
  • Emergence of International Business 1200-1800, Volume III: Enterprise and Empire (New York: Taylor & Francis, 1999)
  • The Last Days of the Renaissance & the March to Modernity (New York: Basic Books, 2006)

As editor[edit]

With Robert I. Rotberg[edit]
  • The Family in History: Interdisciplinary Essays (New York: Harper & Row, 1973)
  • Marriage and Fertility: Studies in Interdisciplinary History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980)
  • Climate and History: Studies in Interdisciplinary History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981)
  • Industrialization and Urbanization: Studies in Interdisciplinary History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981)
  • The New History, the 1980s and Beyond: Studies in Interdisciplinary History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982)
  • Hunger and History: The Impact of Changing Food Production and Consumption Patterns on Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985)
  • Population and Economy: Population and History from the Traditional to the Modern World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986)
  • Art and History: Images and Their Meaning (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988)
  • The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989)
with Ezra Suleiman[edit]
  • The Making and Unmaking of Democracy: Lessons from History and World Politics (New York: Routledge, 2002)

Journal articles[edit]

In the Journal of Interdisciplinary History[edit]

  • 'The Historian and the Climatologist', 10 (1980): 831-837
  • 'Coherence, Synthesis, and Quality in History', 12 (1981): 315-332
  • 'The Development of Quantification in Historical Research', 13 (1983): 591-601
  • 'The Interdisciplinary Nature of American History', 16 (1985): 103-106
  • 'The Evidence of Art: Images and Meaning in History', 17 (1986): 1-6
  • 'History and Religion: Interpretation and Illumination', 23 (1993): 445-451
  • 'The Historian and Art: A New Maturity', 33 (2002): 87-93
  • 'How Italian Was the Renaissance?', 33 (2003): 569-575
  • 'Opera, Musicology, and History', 36 (2006): 321-330
Review articles[edit]
  • 'The Historian and the Art Historian', 4 (1973): 107-117
  • 'The Historian and the Art Historian Revisited', 14 (1984): 647-655
  • 'The Historian and the Art Historian, III: Recent Work on the Seventeenth Century', 20 (1990): 437-444
  • 'Historians and Art Historians: A Lowering of Sights?', 27 (1996): 87-94

In Past & Present[edit]

  • 'Religion and the Rise of Modern Science', 31 (1965): 111-126
  • 'Science, Religion and Society in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries', 33 (1966): 148
  • 'Free Trade and the Gentry in the Parliament of 1604', 40 (1968): 165-173
  • 'The Advent of Printing and the Problem of the Renaissance: A Comment', 52 (1971): 135-140
  • 'The Role of the Commons', 92 (1981): 55-78

Other journals[edit]

  • 'The Effects of the Thirty Years' War on the German Economy', The Journal of Modern History, 34 (1962): 40-51
  • 'The Editions of Sir Edwin Sandys's "Relation of the State of Religion"', The Huntington Library Quarterly, 26 (1963): 323-336
  • 'Sir Edwin Sandys and the Parliament of 1604', The American Historical Review, 69 (1964): 646-670
  • 'Investment in English Overseas Enterprise, 1575-1630', The Economic History Review, 19 (1966): 70-81
  • 'On Nominalism and Idealism, Historical and Statistical: A Response to Roger Schofield', The Historical Journal, 15 (1972): 788-793
  • 'The Expansion of Europe and the Spirit of Capitalism', The Historical Journal, 17 (1974): 675-689
  • 'Court Festivals of the European Renaissance: Art, Politics and Performance', English Historical Review, 118 (2003): 1384-1385
  • 'Observations - Why Michelangelo Matters: His spiritual World has Vanished, But the Master's Quest for Perfection is Rightly Irresistible', Commentary, 122 (2006): 56
  • 'Those Who Do Not Learn History...', Chronicle of Higher Education, 53 (2007)
Review articles[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Historian Theodore Rabb, champion of the humanities, dies at 81". Princeton University.
  2. ^ "Theodore K. Rabb". Yale Books. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Theodore Rabb". The Department of History. Princeton University. Retrieved 13 April 2014.

External links[edit]