William Osgood Aydelotte

September 1, 1910–January 17, 1996


AYDELOTTE WAS A leading figure in the development of social science history in the United States. Many historians consider themselves humanists or argue that theirs is a unique discipline. Others are social scientists in intellectual commitment and methods of research, and it was from this group that Aydelotte was the first to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Beneath the affiliative differences among historians lie disagreements as to whether history should be presented in narrative or analytical form, the degree to which historical evidence can serve as the basis for generalization and, indeed, what constitutes appropriate evidence. Aydelotte's career illuminates these issues. Publishing initially in the field of narrative diplomatic history, he emerged as the most innovative investigator of legislative behavior of his era in the history profession.

Early Life and Training

Aydelotte described his childhood as "odd." He was born in Bloomington, Indiana, the only child of Marie Jeannette Osgood and Frank Aydelotte, a union of small town Indiana and academia on the father's side and the world of international music on that of his mother. Frank Aydelotte was a man of great intellectual and athletic ability and a

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