Skip to main content

This website is no longer being updated. Visit Dartmouth Now for all news published after June 7, 2010.

Dartmouth News
>  News Releases >   2004 >   February

Charles T. Wood, 1933-2004

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 02/04/04 • Contact Roland Adams (603) 646-3661

Historian of medieval Europe; Webster Professor, Emeritus, at Dartmouth
Charles T. Wood
Charles T. Wood, 1933-2004 (photo by Jon Gilbert Fox)

Charles Tuttle Wood, an authority on medieval Europe and a long-time faculty member at Dartmouth College, died Feb. 11 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (Lebanon, N.H.) at age 70. A member of the Dartmouth faculty since 1964, Wood was Professor of History and Dartmouth's Daniel Webster Professor of History, Emeritus.

"As an exceptional teacher and an internationally recognized historian, Charlie Wood served the College in so many ways and made Dartmouth a stronger place," said Dartmouth President James Wright. "As colleague, as teacher, as mentor, as friend, as a good and generous man, he touched many of us over many years. I am in his debt and I will miss him."

Wood was a specialist on the Middle Ages, principally the histories of England, France, and the Catholic church in the 12th through 15th centuries. He wrote or edited five books, including Fresh Verdicts on Joan of Arc (1996, co-edited with Bonnie Wheeler); The Trial of Charles I: A Documentary History (1989, co-edited with David Lagomarsino); Joan of Arc and Richard III: Sex, Saints, and Government in the Middle Ages (1988); The Age of Chivalry: Manners and Morals 1000-1450 (published 1970); Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII: State vs. Papacy (1967, edited); and The French Apanages and the Capetian Monarchy 1224-1328 (published in 1966). He also authored numerous scholarly articles, reviews and translations, and for many years was a reviewer for the History Book Club.

He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986 for a study of King Arthur and the destiny of England in the 12th through 16th centuries.

A fellow and former treasurer of the Medieval Academy of America, Wood was instrumental in establishing its present endowment. He had been scheduled to receive, in April, the academy's CARA (Centers and Regional Associations) Award for Excellence in Teaching Medieval Studies, honoring his lifetime achievement as a teacher. The academy now plans to confer the award posthumously. He was also a member of and at various times served as an officer of the American Historical Association and the New England Medieval Conference.

At Dartmouth, Wood taught history and comparative literature and was one of the creators of the freshman humanities sequence. He also chaired a number of committees whose recommendations led to important changes at the institution: establishment of Freshman Seminars as part of the permanent curriculum; the advent of coeducation at Dartmouth, in 1972, and the creation of the "Dartmouth Plan" of year-round education; and the Presidential Scholars Program. He had also served as chair of the Department of History and the Program in Comparative Literature. He authored the text for "The Hill Winds Know Their Names," an award-winning guide to the range of war memorials on the Dartmouth campus, published in 2001.

Wood was also active in civic affairs in Hanover, N.H. at various times during his career. He had chaired the Board of School Directors of the Dresden Independent School District, the first bi-state school district in the United States, serving the towns of Hanover and Norwich, Vt. He had also served as moderator of the Hanover School District's annual meetings, as vice president of the New Hampshire School Boards Association, and as a member of the New Hampshire Council for the Humanities. Wood also served as a volunteer coach for the Hanover swim team, timer and referee for Dartmouth swim meets, and as the master of ceremonies for shows presented by the Skating Club at Dartmouth during the College's annual Winter Carnival.

Born Oct. 29, 1933, Wood was a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. While a student at St. Paul Academy, he met Susan Danielson, a Minneapolis native who later became his wife. He graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1955, after which he worked as an investment banker for his father's firm, Harold E. Wood and Company, in St. Paul. He then returned to Harvard, where he received master's and Ph.D. degrees in history (in 1957 and 1962 respectively). He taught at Harvard from 1961-64, then joined the Dartmouth faculty.

Wood is survived by his wife, Susan, of Hanover, N.H.; four children: Lucy Arnold of Lincoln, MA; Timothy W. Wood of Keene, N.H.; Martha Ellis of Wenham, MA; and Mary Frisbie Wood of New York City; a sister, Jerusha Urquhart of Lovell, ME; a brother, Thurston Wood of St. Paul, MN; and five grandchildren. Wood was predeceased by another brother, John Frisbie Wood.

Memorial services are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. in Rollins Chapel on the Dartmouth campus. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to the Professor Charles T. Wood Memorial Fund, c/o Donor Relations, 6066 Development Office, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. 03755.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

Recent Headlines from Dartmouth News: