David J. Weber, historian of the Borderlands, the American West, and Latin America and vice-president of the American Historical Association’s Professional Division, died on Friday, August 20, after a long struggle with multiple myeloma.
Weber was Robert and Nancy Dedman professor of history and founding director of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He received his BS from the State University of New York at Fredonia and his MA and PhD from the University of New Mexico. In recognition of his work, he received the Real Orden de Isabel la Católica–the Spanish equivalent of a knighthood–from Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, and the Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca, (the Order of the Aztec Eagle), the highest award the Mexican government bestows on foreign nationals. His book Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment (Yale University Press) received the AHA’s John Edwin Fagg prize in 2006. He was the recipient of numerous other recognitions for his scholarship and teaching.
A dedicated volunteer and good citizen of the profession, Weber served as vice-president of the AHA’s Professional Division (beginning in 2008), and represented the division on the Task Force on Disability and the LGBTQ Historians Task Force. He was active in several other associations and had been an ex officio member of the board of the National History Center, president of the Western History Association, a member of the executive board of the Organization of American Historians, and a member of the general committee of the Conference on Latin American History. He served on numerous editorial boards and prize committees.
A session dedicated to the impact of his work has been scheduled for the AHA annual meeting in Boston. Organized by the Conference on Latin American History’s Borderlands and Frontiers Studies Committee, the session is entitled “David J. Weber and the Borderlands: Past, Present, and Future.” A tribute will also be held at the Western Historical Association’s annual meeting in Lake Tahoe in October.
Though it sounds like a cliché, David can only be described as a truly nice man. His depth of knowledge, and dedication to scholarship, teaching, and the future of the profession will be sorely missed. Plans for a memorial are pending; per the family’s request, memorial contributions can be sent to the Clements Center for Southwest Studies or the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Obituaries have been posted on H-Texas and H-West.
Debbie Ann Doyle works with the Professional Division and staffs the Task Force on Disability and the LGBTQ Historians Task Force.