Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943

Remembering Drew Cayton as a scholar and a friend

Two memorial funds have been created in Drew’s honor,
below are links to both funds should you wish to contribute.


Introduction by Carla Gardina Pestana

To honor the memory of Drew Cayton, the OAH hosted a session discussing his scholarly contribution at the 2016 annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, April 7–10. Although organized belatedly and scheduled for the first afternoon of the meeting—the only available slot in the program by the time Drew died in December 2015—the session nonetheless drew some twenty-five attendees to join in a remembrance. Four scholars and friends presented brief reminiscences focusing on his prolific publishing career, which are reproduced here.

Drew Cayton, born in Ohio in 1954, attended the University of Virginia, where he met and married his wife of forty years, Mary Kupiec Cayton. Together they attended graduate school at Brown University, a fact that made the setting of Providence, Rhode Island, particularly apt for this session. Drew taught briefly at Harvard, where he met future collaborator Fred Anderson, then went to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, as an Assistant Professor. There he became friends with Daniel Goffman, with whom he would later conceive of an innovative comparative conference on Ottoman and Atlantic Empires hosted by the Omohundro Institute in Istanbul in 2005. In 1990, he joined Mary on the faculty at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; they remained at Miami until the spring of 2015. At the time of his death, Drew had just taken up his duties as the Warner R. Woodring Chair in Early American History at the Ohio State University. He died in Columbus on 17 December 2015, after a seven-month illness.

The contributions reproduced here focus on Drew’s scholarship, which all who knew him realize was only one facet of the life of a multi-talented scholar, teacher, public intellectual and colleague. Contributors mentioned a number of his published works in the context of their presentations, and those that they reference are listed below. It is of course a partial list of his many publications, provided to allow the contributions to retain their informal tone while also giving readers information to follow (or follow up on) the relevant publications.

My thanks to the presenters for participation in this session and agreeing to have their contributions published; to then-OAH President Jon Butler for supporting the addition of this panel; and to Mary and Fred for advice on its construction and for attending the event itself.

Carla Gardina Pestana, UCLA, convener of OAH session