Wendel, Tom (1924-2004)

Wendel, Tom (1924-2004)

Date Updated




Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of Washington, 1964 Ph.D

University of Washington, 1962 MA

Yale, 1949 BA

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1964-1990

Administrative and Professional Experience

Buyer in a department store ‑‑ 2 years (1954‑1956)

Selected Publications

Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Liberty, 1972.

Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense The Call to Independence, edited with an introduction, illustrations, and explanatory notes.

"The Keith‑Lloyd Alliance: Factional and Coalition Politics in Colonial Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XCIII #3 (July, 1968), pp. 289­-305.

"In Defense of Early American History," The Social Studies, January 1969, pp. 3‑11.

"Joshua Gee's Memorial to the Board of Trade, 1717," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XCIII #1 (January, 1969), pp. 13‑22.

"Jacobitism Crushed: An Episode Concerning Loyalty and Justice in Colonial Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania History, XL #1 (January, 1973), pp. 59‑65.

"The Speaker of the House: Pennsylvania, 1701‑1776," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XCVII #1 (January, 1973), pp. 3‑21.

"Colonial History: Minitexts and Readers," Reviews in American History, March, 1974.

"The Speaker of the House: Pennsylvania, 1701‑1776," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XCVII #1 (January, 1973), pp. 3‑21.

"Colonial History: Minitexts and Readers," Reviews in American History, March, 1974.

Personal Commentary

My interest in history sprang originally from my interest in the works of Herman Melville. His contemporary reputation became the subject of my college senior thesis in American history. American colonial history became my area of specialization during my graduate years. My Ph.D. thesis concerned the life and times of Sir William Keith, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania 1717‑1726.

Having earned my Ph.D. in 1964, I was fortunate to be offered a position in history and teacher education at San Jose State College. Some years later, still anchored half‑time in the History Department, I transferred my other half load from teacher education to American Studies in the Humanities Department. And now and then I taught a class in the English Department.

My SJSU years represent 26 years of a 39‑year teaching career that included Vermont's Putney School, 1949‑1954; the Lakeside School, Seattle, 1956‑1964; and then San Jose to retirement in 1990. The sole exception was two years, 1954‑56, during which I worked with my business‑man father in Portland, Oregon. During the late 60's into the 70's I spent a week during each of many summers reading Advanced Placement Examinations for Educational Testing Service in New Jersey. In 1987‑88 I held the Bicentennial Chair of American Studies at the University of Helsinki, and I recently participated in a doctoral defense at Finland's University of Joensuu.

My community activities have been many and various, though the most continuous was as a longtime Board member of the San Jose Symphony and to the present time author of notes for the Symphony's program booklets. I was, furthermore, a founder of the University's Beethoven Center, for which I early served as Interim Administrator. With the formation of the American Beethoven Society, I became President of its Executive Board, a position I still hold.

The one great shadow over these past years is the loss in 1994 of my wife Charlotte. Her legacy to this city is the San Jose Museum of Art, an institution which without her leadership, I believe, would never have been established. In our early years in San Jose, Charlotte was involved in the College's activities; for example, she established the first faculty/administration talent shows. Her passing represents not only a great personal loss, but also a significant loss to the community as well.

Date Completed: 9/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Wendel, Tom (1924-2004)