David Kyvig

The National History Center has just lost a dear friend and supporter. David Kyvig passed away on Monday, the victim of a heart attack. 

Photo: David Hawxhurst, courtesy of the Wilson Center.

Photo: David Hawxhurst, courtesy of the Wilson Center.

A distinguished American historian, David wrote the Bancroft prize-winning Explicit and Authentic Acts: Amending the U.S. Constitution, 1776-1995, along with various other works of political and constitutional history. For all his distinction as a scholar, he was a remarkably modest and gentle man whose generosity toward others and sense of moral purpose made him much beloved by all who knew him.

David Kyvig became treasurer of the National History Center and a member of its board of directors at a time when the center was experiencing a difficult transition a few years ago. His calm demeanor and firm commitment to the center’s mission helped ease the process and stabilize the center. David also initiated what became known within the center as the “Kyvig Project,” an on-going effort to provide guides on the center’s website to the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other DC-area research institutions for visiting scholars. Even though he and his wife, the Russian historian Christine Worobec, had moved to DC upon their retirement from Northern Illinois University, he never forgot how challenging it had been to navigate his way through the city and its resources when he first arrived as a doctoral student from the Midwest in the late 1960s.

David was a genuinely kind and decent man; he will be much missed at the National History Center.

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  1. Walter Nugent

    Several years ago, David was giving a paper at an OAH or some such meeting. He began, “I am a member of the world’s smallest philosophical school. Scandinavian optimism.”

    And he was both. We will miss him.

    1. Jim Kinney

      Dave and I met in early grade school and became best friends. We had many adventures in Boy Scouts and the Muskegon High School band. He went on to be a scholar and I a sales manager. I saw Dave at several high school reunions over the years. He’ll be missed. Where did those 50 years go?