Gary De Krey
Professor of History, NAHA Archivist, Director of the Center for College History
- Rolvaag Memorial Library 212
- 507-786-3165, 507-786-3229
Ph.D., Princeton University, 1978. Area of expertise: Tudor and Stuart England, Reformation and Early Modern Europe, Religion and Society, Modern Britain.
- Office Hours
- Spring 2016:
- by appointment.
I grew up in small-town North Dakota surrounded by Scandinavians and Lutherans, although my family was neither. This cultural setting probably had something to do with why I chose to attend St. Olaf. My history major enabled me to build on what I had learned from Richard Halliburton’s Complete Book of Marvels, my favorite adolescent book. I also played saxophone in Miles Johnson’s St. Olaf Band. I left St. Olaf for graduate studies at Princeton, expecting to study American intellectual and social history. Unfortunately, the Princeton historian with whom I intended to study had just left and nobody bothered to tell me. I stumbled into early modern English history there somewhat by accident, although my St. Olaf political theory courses from Prof. Jack Schwandt had stimulated an interest in English political ideas. At Princeton, I studied with Prof. Lawrence Stone, completed a dissertation about London politics after the Glorious Revolution (1688-89), and married Catherine Doherty. Catherine is a social worker for Hennepin County.
I needed two other jobs to get myself back to St. Olaf and spent several years in upstate New York, at Colgate University, where our son Will was born. Since returning to St. Olaf in 1988, I have taught courses in British and European history with an emphasis upon the “long Reformation” of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I prefer to teach through class discussions organized around important questions rather than through lecturing. I sometimes find that formulating the right questions takes as much time as considering possible answers! Son Will – who always asked lots of questions – amazed me by becoming a history major at Dartmouth, from which he graduated in 2008. He now works in Washington, D.C. for a non-profit consulting company.
I have published two books about seventeenth-century London politics and a survey of Restoration (1660-88) British political history. (See attached scholarly resume for more details.) I was also co-editor for Called to Serve, the collection of essays about St. Olaf that was published to mark the college’s 125th anniversary. My current work focuses on the English Levellers and other “radical” groups of the English Revolution (1640-1660). I am also the archivist for St. Olaf. A few years ago, I decided I had to try to figure out those Scandinavians with whom I have spent so much of my life by also becoming the archivist for the Norwegian-American Historical Association.
I enjoy biking, walking, fiction, photography, gardening, and exploring the rural Upper Midwest. My favorite authors include Louise Erdrich, Walker Percy, and Leo Tolstoy – oddly, none of them British, although one of them also grew up in North Dakota.
Courses (not offered every year):
History 191 Europe from the Reformation to Modern Times
History 210 Major Seminar in European History: Restoration Britain (1660-89)
History 219 Reformation England
History 220 Modern Britain
History 315 Early Modern Europe Seminar: Reformation and Revolution inEngland, 1560-1660