William & Mary

Message on the passing of Professor James N. McCord

Provost Michael R. Halleran sent the following message to the campus community June 17, 2016. - Ed.

Dear colleagues, I write to share the news that James N. McCord, Jr., Professor of History, Emeritus, passed away on June 15, 2016 in Williamsburg. 

Professor McCord received his A.B. from Emory University and his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University, and in 1965 he joined the William & Mary faculty.  He taught at the College for forty years until his retirement in 2005.  In the year of his retirement, he received the College's Thomas Jefferson Award in recognition of his service and leadership at William & Mary.  (An interesting article about his work and being awarded the Jefferson Award can be accessed here:  http://www.wm.edu/news/stories/2005/mccord-receives-colleges-highest-honor-for-service.php)  That service included two terms as chair of the Lyon G. Tyler Department of History between 1998 and 2005.  Professor McCord was a scholar of modern British history and the author of respected articles such as "Politics and Honor in Early-Nineteenth-Century England: The Dukes' Duel," Huntington Library Quarterly 62, no. 1/2 (1999): 88-114, and "Taming the Female Politician in Early-Nineteenth-Century England: John Bull versus Lady Jersey," Journal of Women's History 13, no. 4 (2002): 31-53.

Professor McCord's service extended to the entire Williamsburg area.  Between 1976 and 1984, he served two terms on the Williamsburg City Council.  He established the William & Mary Town and Gown luncheons that, for more than three decades, brought together faculty members and their Williamsburg neighbors.  He served on the board of Thomas Nelson Community College and was an active member of the Rotary Club.  As chair of the Williamsburg Area Arts Commission, he originated the First Night celebrations that now take place in Williamsburg each New Year's Eve.

Professor McCord's colleagues remember the native Floridian most of all for his limitless generosity and kindness.  For many years, he invited colleagues and their children to watch the Williamsburg Christmas Parade from his front yard on Richmond Road, and to partake of the sumptuous spread that he and his beloved wife Gail prepared for their guests.  The Easter Egg hunts that he organized for youngsters were always a hit.  Even the glee with which he defeated his opponents at tennis proved irresistible to bystander and vanquished alike. Professor McCord's good-natured, imperturbable, and selfless approach to work and to life has left a powerful stamp on all who had the privilege and honor of knowing him.

Professor McCord is survived by his wife Gail, his daughter Kate and son Rob, and by four grandchildren.