John Henry Raleigh,UC Berkeley professor of English, dies at 81
10 January 2002
By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations
Berkeley - John Henry Raleigh, a professor emeritus of English at the University of California, Berkeley, and the campus's vice chancellor for academic affairs during a period of deep budget cuts in the early 1970s, has died at age 81.
Raleigh died of pneumonia in an Oakland nursing home on Dec.21. Born in Springfield, Mass., he earned his bachelor of arts degree from Wesleyan University in 1943. Raleigh received his master's degree from Princeton University in 1946 and his PhD there in 1948.
He began his career at UC Berkeley in 1947 as a lecturer in English. A scholar of 19th and 20th century American, English and European literature, Raleigh's book, "The Plays of Eugene O'Neill," (1965) is considered a leading source on O'Neill.
Raleigh served as vice chair of the English department at UC Berkeley from 1959 to 1962. In 1969, he became chair and in the same year was appointed vice chancellor for academic affairs, a post he held until 1972. When the state axed 110 faculty positions on campus in 1971, Raleigh lamented that the mandated reduction in faculty "simply reaches for the jugular of our teaching and learning." He returned to teaching English in 1972.
Raleigh was particularly interested in the interplay of history and literature and in the role of memory in works of literture. He wrote "Matthew Arnold and American Culture" and "Time, Place, and Idea: Essays on the Novel" and was a regular contributor to the "Partisan Review."
He received the Berkeley Citation in 1991 for "distinguished achievement and notable service" to the university.
After his retirement in 1991, Raleigh and his wife, Jo, traveled extensively, and he continued to research and write. He was working on a book about memory and literature and another about the UC Berkeley English Department. Until the age of 75, he played squash every morning with a friend.
"He loved the university almost more than anything," said his daughter, Lydia Raleigh Berggren. She said he also loved sports, was an accomplished pianist and singer, and had a keen sense of humor.
Raleigh is survived by his sister, Margaret; daughter, Lydia Raleigh Berggren of Salt Lake City, Utah; daughter Kingsley Ashford of Paradise, Calif.; son, John L. Raleigh of Redwood City, Calif.; and seven grandchildren. His wife died of a heart attack 20 days before his own death.