Remembering Bob Fogarty
Antioch College mourns the loss of longtime Editor of The Antioch Review and member of the faculty, Bob Fogarty
Submit remembrances to post on this page to email@example.com with the subject, “Remembering Bob Fogarty.” Selections may be published in an upcoming issue of The Antiochian magazine as well.
Read an excerpt from Community, Creativity, and Commemoration: A Celebration of Robert Fogarty Reunion 2005.
Remembrances from the Antiochian community
I was lucky to study with Bob beginning in 1968 when he came to Antioch as a sabbatical replacement just as I finally declared my history major. He became the major influence in my becoming a historian–I thought everyone in the academy would be as smart, decent, and kind as he was. He hired me to assist two of his classes and to teach my first class the summer after I graduated. As a mentor and by example he taught me my most important lessons about teaching: meet students where they are; history is important because people are important; teaching is a leap of faith. Bob said that often the things you teach cannot connect until much later when people have the experience to understand them, and so you have to offer what you can and hope it connects when it is important and when it clicks with their experience. Bob found me my last co-op job, organizing the archives of the Western Federation of Miners at the University of Colorado–an experience that ultimately led to my B.A. thesis, dissertation, a book, and an enduring love of the Rocky Mountain West. As important as he has been to me as a teacher, a mentor, and professional touchstone, I valued him most for his character, for his humor, his creativity, for the ways he combined commitments to community, people, and the life of the mind. He was, in all the best senses, a scholar and a gentle man.
– Betsy Jameson ’70
We first met Bob Fogarty on the Mendocino Coast in northern CA in the fall of 1969 when we were photographing and writing a documentary about the land and people of the area (which Bob later wanted to publish in the Antioch Review, but we were so busy getting married and preparing to leave the country on Roy’s Watson Travel Fellowship that we never delivered the manuscript) and Bob and his family were there for a brief sabbatical. We visited and enjoyed their company, their delightful children, and Bob’s self-deprecating, keen wit. Bob became a good friend. It was mind-expanding to become friends with a scholar of his magnitude. He was always friendly and supportive. He had a habit of suddenly appearing in our lives years later. Once, among a surge of people at Mt. St. Michel in Normandy, we spied Bob and Katherine and talked among the ancient stone walls. Another time, we were about to enter the Guggenheim in NY and ran into Bob on Fifth Avenue. We attended and spoke at Nolan Miller’s memorial service where Bob delivered a wonderful, rich and anecdotal tribute to Nolan, Serena’s writing mentor. His passing seems to mark the end of an era and makes us keenly aware of time’s passage. At the same time, we’re deeply grateful to have known him. He was an essential part of Antioch over the years and contributed deeply to the rich experiences we and others shared at Antioch. We can still hear his ironic and quizzical voice. We have the most delightful and endearing memory of having dinner with Bob and Gerry. Their children were small and had gone to bed, but little David came into the dining room, dressed up in a button-down shirt. He wanted Bob to help him with his tie. He was so serious and so adorable. We’ve never forgotten how Bob sort of rolled his eyes but carefully adjusted David’s tie.
Bob had his own voice and point of view. He was a sharp commentator and editor. We were privileged to have known him and mourn his passing. We have some of Katherine’s lovely art books and will think of Bob as we peruse them.
May his memory be a blessing.
With fond recollections,
Roy and Serena Crystal ’71
Bob Fogarty has left an indelible mark on Antioch College and the world of arts and letters. His lifelong devotion to students, writers, readers and the Antioch community writ large was unsurpassed, and his irascible, uncompromising determination enabled Antioch to maintain a publishing tradition that is the envy of many larger and better known colleges and universities. One of my happiest moments as a former Alumni Board member was learning that he had been honored with the J.D. Dawson Award in 2019. Antiochians past, present and future can find inspiration in his career.
– Tim Klass ’71
I never took a history class with Bob but a decade after graduation I ran into him at a winery in Sonoma county. He recognized me (the joys of attending a very small college: teachers, even those you never took a course from, remember you) and we started chatting and spent the next decades in on again, off again touch. Mostly about The Antioch Review and what big name authors he had managed to get to write for it for next to no money. He was my main point of contact with Yellow Springs and the College through its many dramas. Bob was a fellow of All Souls College Oxford, the most privileged academic distinction in Britain, and we saw each other in London a lot. He was curious about everything, and knowledgable about so much. It was like being in a seminar with a wonderful teacher throughout one’s life. He was the last remnant of my Antioch and I miss him.
– Michael Goldfarb ’72
My senior thesis, on the novelist Frank Norris, was such a screwed-up mess that Bob’s disappointment was obvious in his evaluation that enabled me, undeservedly, to graduate in 1972.
But he never gave up on me. Many years later, we would meet every year or so at one or another zinc bar in Manhattan, over moule et frites (and a Martini, on his part (I was working) and catch up. He wanted to know what I was doing. And, of course, he wanted to network.
He was so dedicated to building a network of people who could help each other carry forward the values important to him. Like, the Antioch Review. I’m so glad to have known him.
– George Judson ’72
With the passing of Antioch Professor of Literature Emeritus and Antioch Review Editor Emeritus, I offer my heartfelt and deepest condolence to the family, to our Alma Mater, and the Village of Yellow Springs.
– Pamela A.Mackey ’72
I took an American history class from Bob Fogarty during my first year at Antioch 1968-69 in which he introduced me to utopian communities and an approach to history that guides me to this day. But more than anything, it was Bob’s kindness that I remember. At our end-of-quarter course review he complimented me on my work and suggested the London School for Economics as a possible site for graduate studies. Such an affirmation offered to an immature, disorganized and intimidated 18 year old was both sobering and exhilarating. I had never heard of the London School of Economics and I had no idea Professor Fogarty was a renown scholar, Still, what was clear to me was that this man of obvious great learning and character cared about and valued me and what I might do with my life.
– Thomas Schlenker ’73
As my academic advisor and history professor, Bob Fogarty shepherded my independent research and senior thesis to their completion during my student years at Antioch College. I am eternally grateful for his guiding hand and encouragement.
For his work as an editor, I’ll say, “Bob Fogarty is the Harold Ross and William Shawn of The Antioch Review.”
– Rebecca J. Mark ’77
My time at Antioch was from 1965 until 1972. Bob Fogarty was my favorite professor. I was a history major. His major interest at that time was utopian communities.
What I recall most was his soothing advice to students in his classes: he reminded us in the first class meeting that “this course will come to an end”, that is, you must put it in perspective and understand its basic insignificance to your education and life. His course offerings were originals: Second Rate Literature, in which we read classics (Huckleberry Finn), near classics (Sister Carrie) and forgettables (The Rise of Simon Levinsky), if I remember correctly. Also some Vonnegut was thrown in.
This was an unforgettable, if insignificant, class.
For some reason, I was once sitting at his dining room table, and he mentioned that his young son wanted to know how every President of the United States had died. This was the ’60s or early ’70s and we supposed that what his son was getting at was “are they all assassinated?”
Bob and his wife Gerry came to my wedding in the Glen, at the Outdoor Education Center. I have a photo of him conversing with my father, an equally quirky academic individual.
These are my long lasting memories of Bob Fogarty. He was an important presence in my education and in becoming an adult.
– Louise Nivison McCoy ’72
My first quarter on campus in 1975 I took a history course from Bob. I clearly remember his comments on my first paper: “You obviously can write. But you’re in college now and spelling errors aren’t tolerated.” I felt both pleased (I could write!) and appropriately chastised.
I became a history (and peace studies) major because of Bob. Later he “hired” me (as a volunteer) at The Antioch Review to make the first cut of incoming manuscripts.
I’m sure Bob positively influenced a lot of Antiochians over the years and I’m glad I was one of them.
– Julia (Julie) Kittross ’79
Bob Fogarty has been a “rock” for Antioch College and for The Review. He has provided a continuous and unwavering presence amidst decades of prosperity and also uncertainty for the college. Bob has been an impressive force: an erudite scholar/ expert in the Shaker and other “utopian/dystopian” communities and his other myriad expertise and commitments to Antioch and to The Review are immense contributions to the Antioch community and its legacy. His continued presence at the college and in the history department provided stability and a deepened sense of academic credibility. I was fortunate to take his classes and as an American History major lucky to have him as my advisor. I was sincerely honored to know him in this way.
– Stacy Horowitz ’91
Robert Fogarty was one of the most generous and thoughtful editors I have ever known. Many years ago, he was passing through Syracuse University, where I was teaching journalism. Passing through Upstate New York, he took the time to pay me a visit so that we could meet in person. I had just founded a graduate program in arts journalism and he was curious to know more—-always curious to know more about everything. We spent a wonderful day together, discussing writers, politics, the arts, and the utopias of Upstate New York, about which he was of course an expert. Robert Fogarty put The Antioch Review in the forefront of literary journals. His insights, intelligence, taste and that insatiable curiosity about all things will be greatly missed. –Johanna Beale Keller
Bob Fogarty played a seminal role in bringing structure and focus to my young unbridled mind. He gave me the tools to articulate my arguments and taught me to revel in the exploration of new and different ideas with another person. I was an American History major at Antioch and spent many hours in his office discussing the vast reading assignments that he regularly assigned. These papers were often not graded. At first I felt cheated from receiving some recognition for my hard work, but what he offered instead was greater than simple recognition. After he would read through my latest paper, he would ask me what discoveries I had made while writing it. Then, he would push me to take this new understanding and explore it more deeply. The writing of a college paper with Bob was an exercise in formulating one’s thoughts so that more profound conversations could happen.
During my last year at Antioch, I participated in an academic seminar at the Newberry Library in Chicago followed by a winter co-op working in the back stacks. To my luck, Bob Fogarty was also there taking a sabbatical to do research for a book he was writing. We had many lunches together and he always had time for me. I remember him asking what I thought I would be doing when I graduated and I sheepishly suggested I might be a historian (knowing this was unlikely). He smiled and explained to me that there are many directions to take in life and you never know where life will take you. It is about being engaged and challenged in whatever your pursuit may be.
My experience learning with Bob Fogarty provided for me a framework to discover and digest ideas at a deeper level. This perspective has brought richness to my life in incalculable ways. When I think back to those conversations with Bob in Chicago and Yellow Springs more than 25 years ago, I see what he was showing me. It is not necessarily just the subject, it how you think about the subject that can make the difference. I know Bob touched many, and I am just another grateful student who was able to spend a few years in conversation with this inspiring and compelling person.
– Alexandra (Marsh) Bliss ’95
The Antioch Review was one of the main reasons I decided to attend Antioch College, and when I met Bob Fogarty I knew I’d be at home there. I arrived on campus with a lot of vague literary aspirations, and Bob helped give them shape. I worked at the Review as an editorial assistant, and that dusty old office, hidden away in the attic of the library, was my secret lair. Along with Michelle Giguere, the assistant editor in the years I was there, Bob taught me what it meant to be someone who cared about ideas and about the written word, and he showed me how to be a passionate advocate for work you believe in. His tastes were intimidatingly vast and eclectic, and even though I never had a class with him, for all intents and purposes I did. He was constantly recommending books and authors he thought might inspire me. Wanting to be just like him, I read them all, and they were always a revelation. For someone so erudite and sophisticated, he was endlessly patient with all my failings and rough edges. Later, when I became a book editor myself, I took what I learned from Bob with me. When I published my first book, it was having Bob bring me back to campus to speak that made me feel like the author I used to dream of being. Issues of The Review that I worked on and that Bob gave to me to this day take up the most prominent place on the shelves in my campus office. I put them there to remind me to be for my students the kind, encouraging mentor that Bob was for me. I will miss him dearly.
– Christopher Hebert ’96
I am sad to see that Bob Fogarty has passed away. He was absolutely a huge part of my intellectual formation through my time at Antioch.
I was a history major — so I took all the classes that Bob taught. I appreciated the way he challenged me and my classmates to always dig deeper and look at every historical occurrence and the texts that we read around them.
I remember also Bob and his wife hosting us history majors at their home for absolutely wonderful dinners. I remember the home beautiful and food tasty. A particular treat to this student living in the dorms and eating in the caf (as much as I did love those experiences).
I appreciate the education that I received at Antioch and the wonderful professors that I had. Bob was a part of this critical formative part of my life.
– Alison Stankrauff ’96
Bob Fogarty was one of the first colleagues I met, when I first started my career at Antioch College.Gradually, Bob and The Antioch Review became two of the internationally better known features of the college, even after and during our long crisis.
If we had an Antioch Hall of Fame, I would put him there next to Horace Mann, Arthur Morgan, Coretta Scott King and so forth. Of course he would decline the honor, but he sure deserved and deserves it.
– Ludo Abicht, former faculty
Bob Fogarty was my faculty mentor when I first came to Antioch College as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 2002. He shared with me his wit, his wisdom, and an unrivaled, serious pursuit of knowledge, just like he had for many generations of Antiochians, past and present.
– David Kammler, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Vice President for Academic Affairs
I knew of Bob Fogarty before I met him. I was completing my MFA at the Bennington Writing Seminars in 2010 when I first applied to work at Antioch College. The Review — along with the likes of the New Yorker, Tin House, Prairie Schooner, AGNI, and the Paris Review — was among the collection of magazines publishing short fiction that my advisors encouraged me to read. When I visited Antioch that spring, Bob was one of the first people I encountered. He asked me who I had been reading and who my graduate advisors were. I hadn’t expected these questions in an interview for a communications job. Though surprised, I found it reassuring that someone like Bob — who, of course, knew every name I shared — could potentially be a colleague if I were offered a position here. Over the years I’ve had countless conversations with him. He was the most well-read person I’d ever met. We talked about all manner of things — books, politics, pedagogy, current events. And I sought his counsel on what were among my most fulfilling professional contributions to Antioch College, establishing the Writing Institute and teaching writing as an instructor.
I had the utmost respect for him and the reputation he built for The Antioch Review and am grateful to have had the opportunity to know him.
– Gariot P. Louima, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success
It is with sadness that I learned of Bob Fogarty’s passing,” shared Professor of History Kevin McGruder who until recently served as Vice President for Academic Affairs. “He had worked his way back through many health challenges in the past, and when I learned a few days ago that his health had taken a turn for the worse, I hoped that he would be able to rally once again. The recent decision by the College to name Bob as Editor Emeritus of The Antioch Review was an important public acknowledgement that through his decades of service as Editor, he played a major role in making The Review one of the leaders in academic journals nationally, which is quite a legacy.
– Kevin McGruder, Associate Professor of History
Liz and I send our condolences to the Antioch community and to the family of Robert Fogarty. His many contributions to Antioch College and to Antioch University over his long and generous career are remarkable. His wisdom was shared with generations of Antioch students. His extraordinary care for The Antioch Review created and maintained the college’s scholarly reputation and influence across the nation. During our time at Antioch he and his wife shared with us their institutional memory, knowledgeable advice, and enthusiasm for an an institution they loved. We join in celebrating his life and his many achievements.
– Jim Hall, Antioch University Chancellor 1998-2002
I consider it an honor to have had two brief conversations with Bob, each on the occasion of his selecting a long essay of mine for publication in The
Our second conversation, in the Spring of 2015, stayed with me. We were talking about Rudyard Kipling, the topic of my essay and who
one cannot mention these days without eliciting anti-imperial epithets. What was so memorable about the chat was that we — a South Asian writer
interested in colonial history and he, a brilliant editor — were both able to steer entirely clear of Kiping’s imperial, and often racist, opinions and dwell on how Kipling had freed English prose from the stodgy style of the Victorians. It was a conversation during which I felt, briefly, a great chasm between East
and West had been bridged.
– Mukund Belliappa, friend of the College
I am so sorry to hear about the death of Bob Fogarty He was a wonderful man and a very dear friend. A magnificent editor and thoughtful on matters of significance, he was truly one of the rare ones in our culture. I will really miss that guy.
– Tom Cottle, friend of the College
Robert Fogarty was one of the most generous and thoughtful editors I have ever known. Many years ago, he was passing through Syracuse University, where I was teaching journalism. Passing through Upstate New York, he took the time to pay me a visit so that we could meet in person. I had just founded a graduate program in arts journalism and he was curious to know more—-always curious to know more about everything. We spent a wonderful day together, discussing writers, politics, the arts, and the utopias of Upstate New York, about which he was of course an expert. Robert Fogarty put The Antioch Review in the forefront of literary journals. His insights, intelligence, taste and that insatiable curiosity about all things will be greatly missed.
– Johanna Beale Keller, friend of the College