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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 18, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 18
Obituary: David Spring, Longtime Professor in History Department, Dies at 86

David Spring, professor of history at Johns Hopkins for four decades, died on Nov. 12 in Baltimore of complications following heart disease. He was 86.

Born on April 29, 1918, in Toronto, Canada, Spring graduated from the University of Toronto and received his doctorate from Harvard. He served during World War II in both the Canadian army and navy, in the latter as naval historian. After lecturing at the University of Toronto, he arrived in 1949 at Johns Hopkins, from which he retired in 1989 as professor emeritus.

Spring was the recipient of numerous awards in the course of a distinguished career, including fellowships from the Ford and Guggenheim foundations and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also was a fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Great Britain.

A scholar in modern British social history, Spring had a special interest in the English landed aristocracy. His publications include The English Landed Estate in the Nineteenth Century: Its Administration (1963) and European Landed Elites in the Nineteenth Century (1977). With Eileen Spring, his wife, he also wrote Ecology and Religion in History (1974), reflecting his longtime concern for environmental preservation. He was an early activist in the campaign to preserve the natural beauty of Assateague Island.

John Baldwin, professor emeritus of history and a long-standing colleague of Spring's, said, "What I admired most about David, in addition to his teaching and research, was his broad range of interests, from bird-watching to flute-playing, including an avid and perceptive reading of Jane Austen." Another friend and former colleague, Philip Curtin, professor emeritus of history, remembered Spring for his skills as a conversationalist and an urbane public speaker.

Spring is survived by his wife of 57 years, Eileen Spring. Plans for memorial events by the History Department will be announced.


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