OBITUARIES : Angus Macintyre
Friday 23 December 1994
A dedicated teacher of undergraduates, who knew how to encourage the pedestrian student as well as stimulate the gifted, he helped to turn the Magdalen Modern History School into one of the leading schools in the university, especially in the last decadewhen he was the senior subject tutor. At the same time a committed and rigorous supervisor of graduate students, he, more than anyone in the Modern History Faculty, established Oxford's reputation as a centre of excellence in 19th- century British history.
Macintyre's tutorial relationship with his students was exemplary. He treated them with courtesy, took their opinions seriously, found time to see them about their problems with the minimum of delay and counselled them wisely - except on the famous occasion he advised Andrew Lloyd Webber not to abandon his historical studies for the uncertain world of writing musicals. Above all, he was concerned that his undergraduate and graduate pupils should obtain the positions in life their abilities deserved. Hisreferences were therefore always carefully written, informative and just, and always prepared on time. It was typical of him that one of his last acts in college before leaving for his Christmas vacation in the family home on the Kintyre peninsula was to ensure that a number of references due in the New Year had been dispatched.
Macintyre's dedication to his students necessarily ate into his research time, and his career was proof of the inability of all but the exceptional Oxford arts tutor to be both a good teacher and a prolific author. Nevertheless, he did still find time tomake an important contribution to his chief field of interest: the history of the British Isles in the first half of the 19th century. His initial research was on Ireland - a natural choice, given his Anglo-Irish background on his mother's side - and, in 1965, he published a detailed political history of the Irish nationalist Daniel O'Connell and his Parliamentary supporters.
This was the first scholarly and objective account of a particularly controversial figure in British and Irish history, and was well received by those who were beginning to rewrite the modern history of Ireland from a non-sectarian perspective. A well-written and highly readable political narrative, the book has stood the test of time, and has only recently been partially supplanted by a much lengthier study.
Macintyre's passionate interest in Ireland's past remained until his death. In recent years he was closely involved with the foundation of the Carroll Chair in Irish history at Oxford and he was actively engaged in the attempt by scholars in the British Isles to produce an account of Irish history that could be used in schools on both sides of the border. In the 1970s, however, he became more interested in cultural, than high political, history, and his second significant publication, in 197
8-79, was a multi-volume edition of the early-19th-century diary of the landscape painter Joseph Farington, prepared with the help of Kenneth Garlick, formerly of the Ashmolean Museum.
Editing proved to be Macintyre's forte. He was general editor of the "Oxford Historical Monographs" series from 1971 to 1979, an important publishing venture dedicated to giving exceptional young scholars the opportunity to publish their doctorates, and he edited the English Historical Review from 1978 to 1986. In the second case, the commitment required was immense. At that stage, Britain's oldest historical journal had virtually no secretarial back-up, received little assistance from the publisher, and concentrated on publishing articles on aspects of English political history. Macintyre threw himself tirelessly into the task of turning the journal into a more modern-looking publication, whose articles and reviews would reflect current internationalhistorical scholarship. He succeeded superbly. The historical range of the articles improved, but not at the expense of the journal's quality - on several occasions, he had to rewrite large sections of an article himself to bring it up to his exacting st andards. Always mindful of the scholar's needs, his greatest contribution of all was to prepare and publish the detailed index of the journal's first hundred years to mark the anniversary in 1986.
In his later years, Macintyre spent an ever-growing amount of time embroiled in administration. Having always done more than his fair share of college and faculty administrative chores, he was persuaded to put his organisational talents to good use, first as a member of the General Board and then as Chairman of the Modern History Faculty (1992-94).
As an administrator, he proved an outstanding success. Taking over the reins of chairman at a moment when the university was being forced for the first time to suffer external evaluation, he steered the faculty through the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE)'s Academic Audit and Quality of Teaching Assessment with flying colours. Throughout he remained calm and cheerful, marshalled the piles of paperwork speedily and effectively, and ensured that the faculty's teaching and administrativestaff were inconvenienced as little as possible.
It was Macintyre's success in the office of Chairman of the Faculty that guaranteed his election in September this year as Principal of Hertford, his old undergraduate college. It is a great loss to Hertford College and the university that his death has prevented him taking up a post his organisational abilities merited.
Angus Macintyre was a tutor's tutor, whose life was spent in serving his students and his tutorial colleagues in Magdalen and his Faculty. He was also a model citizen, who spent much of his leisure time sitting on the governing boards of charitable trusts and schools, notably Magdalen College School, where he was Chairman of the Governors from 1987 to 1990.
Yet his life of service never prevented him from devoting the fullest attention to his wife and family. He thought nothing of driving from Oxford to Cambridge and back in the course of the evening, after a full day's teaching, to see one of his children in a play.
Angus Donald Macintyre, historian: born 4 May 1935; Official Fellow and Tutor in Modern History, Magdalen College, Oxford 1963-94, Senior Tutor 1966-68, Vice-President 1981-82, Acting President 1987; General Editor, Oxford Historical Monographs 1971-79; FRHistS 1972; Editor, English Historical Review 1978-86; publications include The Liberator: Daniel O'Connell and the Irish Parliamentary Party 1830-1947 1965, The Diary of Joseph Farington 1793-1821 (editor, with Kenneth Garlick) 1978-79; marri ed 1958 Joanna Musgrave Harvey (two sons, one daughter); died near Preston, Lancashire 21 December 1994.
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