Ronald C. Tobey
Professor of History
Ph.D., Cornell University, 1969
Areas of specialization: American history and the history of science
Ronald Tobey grew up near Robert Frost's home, raised a plaque to Nathaniel Hawthorne, and wondered confusedly about Mary Baker Eddy. He walked dirt roads, looking for the one less travelled by, but settled for any road that led out of town. That road was a freeway to the antipode of his life. Southern California memorializes itself, but at least because its conurbation is relevant. Ronald Tobey discovered historic preservation in a region virtually without history, a venture challenging to any literary ambition. Way stations on the highway: B.A. in history at the University of New Hampshire, M.A. in the History of Science and Ph.D. in American history at Cornell University. His publications include The American Ideology of National Science, 1919-1930 and Saving the Prairies: The Life Cycle of the Founding School of American Plant Ecology, 1895-1955, and various cultural resource management reports. Tobey is completing a history of the electrical modernization of the American home and, with Charles Wetherell, a history of the citrus industry in California. Among his awards are: a Ford Foundation Fellowship, two Woodrow Wilson Fellowships, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a Commendation by the American Association or State and Local History for Achievement in Historic Preservation and Public History, and a National Science Foundation research grant. He is married to a busy attorney and has two children. He is also the author of Technology as Freedom: The New Deal and the Electrical Modernization of the American Home.