- Bob Curry Remembers Harry
In a way, it’s easy for me to write about Harold Isaacs and the extraordinary life he led: all I have to do is to ask you to recall everything wonderful that you’ve ever read about other terrific persons and assume that I’ve just attributed them to Harold. He was extraordinary and our memories of him and his legacy will be with us for a very long time.
For me, personally, those memories began to accumulate decades ago when I decided to switch my research and teaching interests from Sub-Sahara Africa to Southeast Asia. Harold encouraged me to submit my work in the form of articles to our journal and to present papers at our annual meetings. Eventually he encouraged me to join our Executive Council and I did.
Although I was new to the Council, Harold encouraged me to work on an idea I had: it was to create a Teaching Committee as part of the Council’s structure. The idea was accepted and the Teaching Committee became part of the ATWS. I served as its first Chair and Harold and others encouraged me to establish a program that would select (competitively) graduate student academic essays that would receive awards and would be published in the JTWS. Professor Lily Mendoza followed me as Chair and the program continued to help to launch the careers of outstanding graduate students – and all of this was due primarily because of the encouragement shown to me by our colleague and [End Page 25] beloved friend Harold Isaacs.
On the academic side, our conversations helped me with the transition and over the years I was able to offer them in articles, book reviews and professional papers. But our conversations went beyond academic – they switched to baseball. As an old Yankee fan he constantly reminded me of the Yankees great successes. However, he was less interested in my boasts about the San Francisco Giants and their World Series triumphs in 2010, 2012 and 2014. My only regret was that my home base in California didn’t permit me to spend more time with Harold and many of my other ATWS friends and colleagues who I met through him.
My conversations with Harold were always interesting and I treasure the memories of them.