Dr. Thomas Kuehn Retired After 39 Years at Clemson

September 1, 2020

The History Department would like to recognize the retirement of our colleague, Thomas Kuehn, who leaves behind a legacy of distinguished scholarship and teaching excellence. Tom has been a history professor at Clemson since 1981, having served as Department chair from 2001 to 2015 and acting chair during the 1995-96 academic year.

A specialist in the legal and social culture of Renaissance Italy, Tom’s scholarship has earned him international recognition among Renaissance (particularly Florentine) scholars and contributed to the History Department’s reputation at Clemson and in the historical profession. “Tom Kuehn ranks among the most illustrious humanities professors ever to teach at Clemson,” said James Burns, Interim Associate Dean in the College and former History Department chair. “He is recognized as one of the premier Renaissance scholars of his generation.”

Tom is the editor of three books and author of five monographs, most recently Gender and Family in Italy, 1300-1600 (Cambridge University Press, 2017). His book, Heirs, Kin and Creditors in Renaissance Florence (University of Michigan Press, 2002) and Time, Space and Women’s Lives in Early Modern Europe (Truman State University Press, 2001). Kuehn has also written dozens of book chapters, journal articles, and scholarly reviews. He is the recipient of two Provost Research awards at Clemson University (1982, 1996) and three National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships (1987, 1989, 2003).

A world-renowned scholar, Tom is also a gifted teacher, and has taught courses in the Renaissance, the Reformation and Medieval history. Professor Alan Grubb, who co-taught a graduate course with Tom, stressed his thoughtful, analytical approach to teaching history students. “One of the highlights for me,” according to Grubbs, was getting to see “Tom in the classroom, how he handled material; I also got to see the quality of his mind and his impressive knowledge of Church history and law.” From his explication of The Cheese and the Worms to “his colorful and sometimes amusing explanation of the very French and bureaucratic Annales School,” Tom “showed his real skill and dedication to learning.” Professor Roger Grant similarly commended Tom’s collegiality and highlighted his “wonderful personal traits.” Tom was always a “hard worker,” he recalled, but more importantly he was, “honest, modest, and fair to all, whether to colleagues, staff, or students.”

For all these reasons, all of us in Hardin hall will miss having Tom as a colleague, teacher, and friend.