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Broesamle, John J. | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Broesamle, John J.

Historical Note:

John Broesamle was a distinguished Professor of History at California State University Northridge for over three decades, from 1968 until his retirement in 1998. Dr. Broesamle received his B.A. degree in 1964 from University of the Pacific, his M.A. and PhD from New York’s Columbia University. Dr. Broesamle specialized in United States 20th Century political history, and published several books, including William Gibbs McAdoo: A Passion for Change, 1863-1917, Reform and Reaction in Twentieth Century American Politics, as well as writing a crime novel, Exile to Murder, published under the pseudonym Jack Donovan.

In 1988, California State University, Northridge commissioned Broesamle to write a history of the university, the first to appear in published form. Dr. Broesamle took on the challenge, and concentrated on the use of primary sources from the University Archives as well as the personal papers of former University administrators, faculty and alumni for the writing of his book. He also conducted interviews with over forty past and current administrators, faculty members, and alumni to help compose the framework of Suddenly A Giant.

Though the author himself acknowledges his book did not encompass the whole of important faculty, administrators, and student leaders involved with the history of the university, his careful selection of interviewees made sure the book and its contents would be representative of the university’s illustrious history, with numerous perspectives. Dr. Broesamle also took great caution to ensure the oral histories would be presented unabridged in his book, eliminating any editing liberties that might have altered the authenticity of its recorded history.

In 1993, he published Suddenly A Giant: A History of California State University Northridge through the University’s Santa Susana Press. Dr. Broesamle’s book is today considered the definitive writing on the history of California State University Northridge.

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