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Xavier Magazine | December 17, 2018

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Full Circle

In his book Strike Songs of the Depression, Timothy Lynch mentions folk singer Pete Seeger. So it seemed only natural to send the songwriter a copy of the book. Lynch never imagined the response he would receive. “He sent me back a postcard with his phone number on it,” says Lynch. “So I gave him a call. He talked to me over the phone and gave me a quote for my book. This book has brought me to places I never dreamt I’d be at.”

One of those places is full circle. Lynch first became interested in history as an undergraduate at the University. He graduated in 1976 with a double major in history and philosophy and later earned a master’s degree in humanities in 1988. While a graduate student, he wrote a paper for the course Images in History. The paper looked at the history of Depression-era labor strikes through music.

Later, Lynch used that idea to write his doctoral dissertation at Miami University. Then he turned it into a book that is now being used in the course Sounds of History: American History Through American Music. The course is being taught by Richard Gruber, associate professor of history, the same professor who taught Lynch in Images of History.

Now a professor of humanities at the College of Mount St. Joseph, Lynch returned to Gruber’s classroom as a guest speaker this spring. “I’ve been using music as a historical resource for a long time,” says Gruber. “I knew I had a good source with Tim and his book.”

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