Occidental College and the Huntington Library co-founded the Ray Allen Billington Visiting Professorship in United States History.
With funding made possible by the estate of historian Ray Allen Billington and supplemented by a grant from the Times Mirror Foundation, the professorship honors the tradition of fine teacher/scholars at American liberal arts colleges.
This innovative professorship is a fitting legacy for Billington. A leader in the scholarly community, he served as president of the American Studies Association, the Western History Association, and the Organization of American Historians.
He was a superb historian whose scholarly books covered such varied fields as racism, ethnocentrism, biography, and western history. At the Huntington, where he was a senior research associate from 1963 until his death in 1981, he made highly effective use of the Frederick Jackson Turner papers to produce Frederick Jackson Turner: Historian, Scholar, Teacher, which won the coveted Bancroft Prize.
Billington also had strong ties to liberal arts colleges. He taught at Smith College from 1937-1944, and in the 1970s served as trustee at Occidental, which he described as “my favorite college of all the West, one that I have more or less adopted in my own mind as the institution here with which I would most like to be associated.”
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