Christopher Beam

Offered by Michael Jones, Professor of History and Christian A. Johnson Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, on May 7, 2007

Today the history department bids goodbye to Chris Beam. Chris not only served Bates College for many years as director of Muskie Archives, since 1989 he has been a valued lecturer in the history faculty.

Chris brought his personal military experience in Vietnam to bear in a popular course, “The United States in Vietnam, 1945-1975.” He drew on the expertise gained by editing the notorious Nixon tapes to craft courses on the Nixon Presidency and America in the 1960s.

In 1999, Chris Beam welcomes Secretary of Defense William Cohen, LL.D. ’89, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who worked for the late Ed Muskie ’36 when he was secretary of state, visited the Muskie Archives. In 1985, Albright gave Bates the Muskie portrait that hangs in the archives; in Washington, Albright chose to have Muskie’s official portrait in her office.

Most recently, Chris taught “From Goldwater to Gingrich,” a study of American political conservatism. Chris also team-taught on occasion with other historians on subjects as diverse as Central America and the nature of historical evidence.

Over the years, Chris has been an important link between the History Department at Bates and wider communities in Lewiston, the State of Maine, and New England. Chris directed the Muskie Scholars Program that brought high school seniors to Bates to combine studies of history, politics and government. He has hosted numerous internships linking the Muskie Archive, Bates, and state and local history. Chris also co-directed the Maine Vietnam Veterans’ Oral History Project. We will miss Chris as a teacher, archivist, historian, panelist and colleague, even as we envy him a well-deserved retirement.