It was in 1978 that I met Professor Larry Friedman at Bowling Green State University in my first year on the faculty when I was appointed Dean of Libraries. He was a Distinguished University Professor of History and noted for his activism and scholarly contributions, particularly for the rights of minorities and the mentally ill. He specialized in the history of psychology and psychiatry (in which he used biography most effectively to tell the story of 20th century psychology and its practice) as well as modern intellectual and cultural history.

Our collegial relationship and friendship developed when I co-taught a course with Larry on the history of philanthropy at Bowling Green State University. It was in this setting that I became a disciple of exploratory discourse that Larry used most effectively in engaging with students. The open-ended questioning of what we know, how we know it, why we need to know it, and what

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it means for oneself and the greater society was a habit that I have tried to employ in my own thinking and teaching.

Upon joining the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University in l990 to work with Robert Payton, the gospel of exploratory discourse was essential in our work as we sought to integrate research from disciplines and fields of study to a new understanding of the origins and practice of philanthropy locally and globally. After a couple of years, we had the good fortune of recruiting Larry to Indiana University’s History Department in Bloomington as a professor of History and a professor of Philanthropy Studies with the Center of Philanthropy. He led the effort to engage more historians and students to explore and seek new ways of understanding philanthropy.

After many years of exploratory discourse on the history of philanthropy, perhaps one of his greatest contributions to philanthropic literature was his editorship with Mark McGarvie on Charity, Philanthropy, and Civility in American History, published in 2003. In his intro essay, “Philanthropy in America: Historicism and its Discontents,” Larry provides a much-needed critique and challenges historians to be more engaged with “Philanthropic scholarship” by applying “satisfactory evidential and methodological imperatives.” The academic historians selected to author the diverse essays in this volume provide fresh perspectives of philanthropy over many places and periods in America’s past, thus accomplishing in part the goal to “historicize” the history of philanthropy.

It was Larry who connected for me and many others the contribution of psychology to the understanding of philanthropy as defined by Robert Payton as “voluntary action for the public good.” In Friedman’s 1999 book, Identity’s Architect: A Biography of Erik H. Erikson, we are introduced to Erikson’s eight-stage “life cycle” and the idea of “generativity.” Larry masterfully makes the connection of Erikson’s ideas to our understanding of serial reciprocity and philanthropy expressed in the form of charitable giving, volunteerism, and transfer of wealth.

Over the years, Larry and I had many fruitful conversations that enlightened me. Exploratory discourse in teaching about philanthropy and challenging our moral imagination provides not only insights into the structure and practices of past civil society but also calls for many modes of thought and critical perspectives as we

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know the present and future love of humankind.

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Dwight F. Burlingame

Dwight F. Burlingame, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University where he taught various philanthropy and nonprofit courses and provided various academic leadership roles at the Center/School of Philanthropy. He served as editor of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly for six years; editor of the Philanthropic and Nonprofits Studies book series for Indiana University Press for 30 years; and editor of the three-volume set Philanthropy in America: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia (2004). He can be contacted at .

How to Cite This:

Burlingame, D. F. (2023). The connector: History, philanthropy, and psychology. In M. I. West, P. H. Elovitz, & N. D’Andria (Eds.), Lawrence Jacob Friedman Festschrift. Clio’s Psyche, 29(3), 314-316.

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