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About the OI

Molly Warsh

Hoffman Main

Ronald Hoffman was the longest serving director of the Omohundro Institute.

Below are remembrance from colleagues. To share a remembrance of Ron, please contact Martha Howard (mxhowa@wm.edu).

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From Molly Warsh

I have so many memories of Ron and of Ron and Sally together-their astonishing generosity and big hearts, their patience with nutty scholars, their love of late dining hours. Ron’s incredible, old-fashioned enthusiasm for keeping scholars in good and copious food and drink at all costs. The years of wonderful conferences with no registration fees, the lavish brochures, the beautiful celebrations each year at the annual conferences…all stand to their vision of sharing their bounty in order to create bounty, making attendees feel like they had the best invite in town.

But all these wonderful memories of this generosity and conviviality came later: my first sense of Ron and Sally came when I read their magnificent book, Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland. I read it long before I had any knowledge of the Institute or its cast of characters but the book made me stop in my tracks: it was so different from so many history tomes that I read in those early years of grad school. It was so careful and emotionally attuned to the lives of its subjects. A story of imperfect, often irascible people, their intimate successes and failures, kindnesses and cruelties, the dense and complex webs of allegiance that bound and tested a family. I thought: this is what history can be. Some people can do it like this. And Ron and Sally did. And then when I met them—wonderful, complex people themselves—I thought, of course. And they became dear dear friends and mentors. But before I ever felt the warm intelligence of Ron and Sally’s hearts over a meal or a drink or at a conference table, I *read* it. That wonderful book was my first introduction to their observant, funny, loving, way of being historians in the world.

Molly A. Warsh