Monday, November 7, 2016

Blog CCIV (204): Jeff Grey

I never met Jeff Grey in person.  Grey was an Australian military historian who taught at the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy.  (A professional military school where the students are either cadets and midshipmen working to earn a commission or commissioned military officers in mid-career.)  He was also the editor of the academic journal War & Society

In 2015 I began working on a feature for the blog--that I still have not finished--on academic publishing.  I solicited the views and ideas of journal editors on some of the common mistakes that historians make when writing and submitting articles.  We had never met in person, but I wrote to him explaining what I was trying to do.  He wrote back almost instantly.  (Because of the international date line, he responded nine hours before I sent my note,): "Dear Nick, I do indeed know who you are, and read 'In the Service of Clio' regularly and recommend it to grad students here for its broad perspective and general common sense, 'real world' approach...."  He then supplied a number of useful comments. "Hope this is useful.  Happy to offer more if needed. JGG."

That same year he achieved a singular honor.  He was the first foreign scholar elected to serve as president of the Society of Military History.  This past August, before he could finish his term in office, he died suddenly.

In a nice and rather rare gesture, the SMH honored its fallen president, creating a section on its website "Remembering Jeffrey Grey" where friends and colleagues can offer their memories and tributes.  Reading this tributes makes it clear that my brief association was typical of the man.  He was both a scholar and a gentleman. 

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