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Russell Frank Weigley Edit Profile

historian , military historian , university professor

Russell Frank Weigley, American history educator. Penrose Fund grantee American Philosophical Society, 1958; fellow John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 1969-1970; recipient Samuel Eliot Morison prize American Military Institute, 1989, Lincoln prize, 2001.


Weigley, Russell Frank was born on July 2, 1930 in Reading, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of Frank Francis and Meta Beulah (Rohrbach) Weigley.


He graduated from Albright College in 1952, attended the University of Pennsylvania for his master's degree and doctorate, and wrote his dissertation under Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Roy F. Nichols.


His research and teaching interests centered on American and world military history, World War II, and the American Civil War. One of Weigley's most widely received contributions to research is his hypothesis of a specifically American Way of War, i.e. an approach to strategy and military operations, that, while not predetermined, is distinct to the United States because of cultural and historical constraints. It was published as Quartermaster General of the Union Army: A Biography of M.C. Meigs (Columbia University Press, 1959).

After receiving his degree, Weigley taught at Penn from 1956 to 1958, and from 1958 to 1962 at Drexel University. Then he joined the faculty at Temple as an associate professor and remained until his retirement in 1998 as Distinguished University Professor. The school considered him the heart and soul of the History department, and at one point he had over 30 PhD candidates working under him concurrently.

He also was a visiting professor at Dartmouth College and the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Weigley's graduate teaching emphasized military history defined in a broadly comprehensive way, including operational, combat history but also extending to the larger issues of war and its significance. To the history of ideas about war, peace, and the armed forces.

And to the place of the soldier in the state and in society. Weigley died in Philadelphia on March 3, 2004 of a heart attack.


  • Weigley was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1969-70. He received the Athenaeum of Philadelphia Award for Non-Fiction in 1983 and the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize of the American Military Institute in 1989. His Age of Battles received the Distinguished Book Award of the Society for Military History for 1992 for a work in non-American military history.

    He has served as President of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the American Military Institute. In recognition of his scholarly achievements, Weigley was named Distinguished University Professor at Temple in 1985.



Member history advisory commission Department of Army, Washington, 1976-1979, 88—92, 2003-2004, Pennsylvania History Records Advisory Committee, Harrisburg, 1977-1979. Board directors Masonic Library., Museum of Pennsylvania, The Grand Lodge of Masons of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1990-1995, 1997-2003. Member History Society Pennsylvania (vice chairman 1989-1993, councilor 1983-1989, 92-98, emeritus 1998-2004), Pennsylvania History Association (president 1975-1978, vice president 1967-1975, council 1967-2004, editor journal 1962-1967), American History Association, Organization American Historians, Society Military History (Distinguished Book award 1992), Southern History Association, Society of America Historians Inc., Interuniv.

Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, American Philosophical Society, Masons (33d degree, Scottish rite supreme council northern Masonic jurisdiction 1999).


Married Emma Eleanor Seifrit, July 27, 1963. Children: Jared Francis Guldin, Catherine Emma Rohrbach.

Frank Francis Weigley

Meta Beulah (Rohrbach) Weigley

Emma Eleanor Seifrit

Jared Francis Guldin Weigley

Catherine Emma Rohrbach Weigley