A renowned teacher, author, and editor, Albert A. Hayden, professor emeritus of history, passed away July 21, 2020, at the age of 96.
He was born Sept. 18, 1923, in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, to the late Howard and Clara Hayden. A U.S. Army Air Corps Veteran, he served during World War II.
Hayden, who joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1959 and retired in 2004, was a specialist in British and Irish history and imperialism. Interested in Australian history and immigration history, he authored the book New South Wales Immigration Policy, 1856-1900.
Remembering his former colleague, Professor of History Tom Taylor described him as both a good friend and mentor.
"Like his good friend, the late Peter Celms [professor emeritus of history], Al was a quiet man with a sharp mind, a serious scholar as well as an exacting teacher,” he said. “Several of our department's graduates who became historians cite Al Hayden as a major influence. He was very active in the North American Conference on British History and in the Ohio Academy of History.”
Hayden’s involvement with the Ohio Academy of History, which included serving on most of the major committees, was recognized in 1994 when the academy presented him with the Distinguished Service Award. In 2000, he was selected as one of the 2000 Outstanding Scholars of the 20th Century, given by the International Biographical Centre in Cambridge, England.
Hayden was known for having high expectations of his students and for challenging them to think critically.
“Dr. Hayden’s passion for teaching was infectious,” said Kevin Smith ’84, professor of history and associate dean of the College of Sciences and Humanities at Ball State University. “He could schedule [his course] English History for 8 a.m. without hesitation because there was no doubt that his energy would enliven the entire hour. He shaped my own approach to preparing for the classroom. And what a wry sense of humor!”
Richard F. Spall Jr. ’77, Cornelia Cole Fairbanks Professor of History at Ohio Wesleyan University, maintained both a professional relationship and personal friendship with Hayden for nearly 50 years.
“There was no finer, more loyal, or more generous friend,” he said. “He met the challenges of his personal life with grace and courage. He faced adversity, like so many of his generation, with quiet fortitude and no hint of self-pity or complaint. But I am sure that Al would most like to be remembered as a man of principle. He admired historical figures who put principle over promotion. He stuck by his principles, sometimes as a voice in the wilderness – always as his conscience dictated. He was humble in success.”
A former chair of the department of history, Hayden also served as a visiting professor and consultant to a number of colleges and universities and as a reader of Advanced Placement Examinations in European history. In 1954-1955, he studied at Canberra University in Australia on a Fulbright grant. For more than two decades, he served as managing editor of Studies in British History and Culture.
Hayden earned a B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1950, an M.A. from Bucknell University in 1952, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1959. He was a member of the American Historical Association, North American Conference on British Studies, Midwest Conference on British Studies, Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisers, and the Ohio Academy of History.
He is preceded in death by his wife Priscilla; brother Ralph Hayden; and sister Ann Judd. He is survived by his son Keith Hayden; daughter Anne Hall; brother Kenneth L. Hayden; grandson James Hall; and nephews Paul and Roger Hayden. The full obituary can be read here