Strout, Sewall Cushing, Jr.
4/19/1923 - 11/21/2013
Cushing Strout, Professor of English emeritus at Cornell University, died peacefully in his sleep on November 21, 2013 in Ithaca, NY. He was 90. Born April 19, 1923 in Portland, ME, he was the son of the late Sewall Cushing Strout and Margaret Deering Strout. After graduating from Governor Dummer Academy, he matriculated at Williams College in 1941. He served as an enlisted man in the 87th Infantry Division of the Third Army from 1943-46 and saw action in the Battle of the Bulge. He graduated from Williams magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1947. After receiving his M.A. in History from Harvard he was an instructor in the departments of History and English at Williams from 1949-51. In 1952 he received his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard, one of the first Ph.Ds in what is now the field of American Studies. He subsequently taught in the History Department at Yale and the Humanities Division at Caltech before taking a position in 1964 in the English Department at Cornell, where from 1975 until his retirement in 1989 he was the Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters. He was a Morse Fellow at Yale, a Fulbright Fellow at the Center for American Studies in Rome, a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy, and a Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. He wrote five books, edited five others, and published many articles and reviews on the philosophy of history, the American image of Europe, the interplay of American religion and politics, and many other aspects of American literature and history, including a collaboration with Dr. Howard Feinstein on the use of ego-psychology in the humanities. He was also co-editor with David Grossvogel of a book on the crisis at Cornell in 1969. After his retirement, he continued to write essays and reviews on American literature and history, and also on two of his long-term hobbies--detective fiction and sleight-of-hand magic. His last published work was review of a book about Sherlock Holmes in the summer 2013 Sewanee Review. His book on close-up card magic was published in 2005. He performed magic at public events, dinner parties, and birthdays throughout his life, including at summer resorts around Portland as a teenager, for his fellow soldiers in WWII at what was then the Czech border, and at his own 80th birthday party—his last full-scale show. He was an avid tennis player from his boyhood until he took up racquetball in his early 80s. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jean Philbrick Strout; three sons: Nathaniel Cushing Strout (Gail) of Clinton, NY; Benjamin Philbrick Strout (Suzy) of Sydney, Australia; and Nicholas Lockey Strout of Leingarten, Germany; four grandchildren: Emily Strout Maness of Golden, CO, Bethany Strout of New York City, Hannah Strout and Daniel Sewall Strout of Sydney; one great grandson, Hunter Cushing Maness of Golden; and his cousin Pamelia Deering Strayer of Laguna Beach, CA and Yarmouth, ME. Predeceasing him were his sister, Catherine Strout Lindsey of Darien, CT, and his daughter-in-law Susanne Garbe Strout of Leingarten. The family would particularly like to thank the staff of Kendal at Ithaca for their caring help and support. A Memorial Service is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, March 2, 2014 at Kendal. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Cushing's memory may be made to: The Cornell University Library, c/o Jennifer Sawyer, 136 E. Seneca St., 4th Floor, Ithaca, NY 14850.
Published in Ithaca Journal on Dec. 7, 2013