Why is the History of Philanthropy not a Part of American History?
Book Forum on Philanthropy in Democratic Societies / New Works in the Field / Philanthropy and Democracy

Why is the History of Philanthropy not a Part of American History?

Editors’ Note: We have asked the authors of the recently-published volume Philanthropy in Democratic Societies to present synopses of their contributions. Continuing this forum, Olivier Zunz discusses his chapter on the historical study of philanthropy.  If philanthropy were only an activity of the very wealthy, then the historical inquiry could safely center on the democratic legitimacy of large donations. But the debate … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Democracy

Alexis de Tocqueville on Associations and Philanthropy

Editors’ Note: In the past weeks, HistPhil contributors such as Larry Kramer and Olivier Zunz have made mention of Alexis de Tocqueville in their respective Q&As. Here, Olivier Zunz goes into further detail on the nineteenth-century French scholar’s thoughts on associations and philanthropy. In a subsequent post, Emma Saunders-Hastings asks whether American philanthropy today is democratic in the … Continue reading

Philanthropy and Historical Research

Q&A with Historian Olivier Zunz

Editors’ Note: In our introduction to the blog, we said that the site will be structured around certain themes and that we would start off with a discussion on the state of the field. HistPhil’s Stan Katz launched this dialogue last week by asking how a historical perspective can inform our understanding of the Clinton Foundation; providing an example of how this field … Continue reading