James Sterling Young James Sterling Young, emeritus professor at the University of Virginia, and formerly Professor in the Department of Government at Columbia University died at his home on Thursday, August 8, 2013. He was an eminent innovator in oral history of American presidencies and directed research in this field at the University of Virginia. A native of Savannah, Georgia, Mr. Young was born on October 14, 1927 and attended the Savannah public schools through high school. Following United States Army service in Japan directly after the Japanese surrender, he studied at Princeton University, receiving his A.B. degree there. He pursued graduate study at Columbia University in political science, history, and anthropology. In 1964, he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, and was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Public Law and Government. Mr. Young served on the Columbia faculty until 1978, becoming associate professor in 1968 and professor in 1971. From 1971 to 1977, Mr. Young served as Columbia's third ranking academic officer, holding posts of Deputy Provost and Vice President. He was principally responsible for coordinating planning of the central university's academic programs, budgets, and physical facilities and for policies governing the use, historic preservation, and new construction of academic buildings on the Morningside campus. In 1977 Mr. Young returned to teaching in the Columbia department of Public Law and Government. In 1978 he joined the University of Virginia as Professor in the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs and as research program director at the recently established Miller Center of Public Affairs. He taught courses on the American presidency, and at the Miller Center, Mr. Young founded the nation's only oral history program focused on the American presidency. He directed oral histories of the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and William J. Clinton, and on Edward M. Kennedy and the Senate of his time. Mr. Young was the author of The Washington Community, 1800-1828, awarded the Columbia University Bancroft Prize. He is survived by his wife, anthropologist Virginia Heyer Young, and by his two daughters; Millicent Young, an internationally exhibiting sculptor, and Eleanor Young Houston and her husband William of Washington, DC and by two grand children; Kate and Jackson.
This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress.