Stanley Lewis Engerman (March 14, 1936 – May 11, 2023) passed away in the company of his loving family. There will be a memorial service at Brighton Memorial Chapel in Rochester, New York, on Sunday, May 21st at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in his memory to the Stanley L. Engerman Endowed Fund for Economics at the University of Rochester, or to the American Cancer Society.
Engerman received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1962 after completing a BA and an MBA at NYU. His first professional position was at Yale. He moved to the University of Rochester in 1963, and remained there for the duration of his career, holding the John H. Munro chair from 1984 until his retirement. He was also a Research Associate at the NBER.
Engerman’s service to the profession was long and varied. Among his many contributions were his service on the editorial boards of The Business History Review, the Journal of Economic History, Economic Inquiry, the Journal of American History, the Journal of Family History, Explorations in Economic History, Historical Methods, Slavery and Abolition, the Cambridge History and Geography of Disease , the Dictionary of American Economic History, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History, and Southern Studies. He served as an Associate Editor of Explorations in Economic History for nearly four decades. His service to the Economic History Association was vast. He was a Trustee, served on program committees, the Alice Hanson Jones Book Prize Committee, held the office of Vice President, and was named President of the EHA in 1984. He was also Vice President and ultimately President (1992) of the Social Science History Association.
He held visiting positions at Oxford University, Australian National University, Harvard, the University of Minnesota, and Cambridge University, where he was Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions. He was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1985, and was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1985-86. He was elected Fellow of the Cliometric Society in 2010 and the Economic History Association in 2019. He was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980.
He was a prolific author, with more than a dozen books and over 100 scholarly articles to his credit. His early work was on the regional aspects of government tax and expenditure policy during business cycles. Then he turned his interests to the topic of slavery and its aftermath in the U.S. and the Caribbean, highlighted by the two volume Time on the Cross, for which he and Bob Fogel were awarded the 1975 Bancroft Prize in American History.
He and Fogel were graduate students together under Simon Kuznets and later colleagues at Rochester. The genesis for Time on the Cross was an article for a collection of papers on economic history they edited for their book The Reinterpretation of American Economic History. While writing the essay for that book they determined that a more extensive project was needed to try to answer some of the questions about slavery that were still unsettled. It seemed like a good project, given the centrality of slavery to American history and the fact that so many important questions on the topic were posed in economic terms. The combination of economic theory and quantitative methods, combined with the importance of the questions made the study of slavery so central to discussions about the New Economic History, as Cliometrics was known as in the 1950s.