Arthur Schlesinger - Sitting in his office at the City
University of New York, Arthur Schlesinger judges himself harshly. "I've
dissipated too much of my life in doing things which are totally ephemeral," he
says. Arthur Schlesinger's wall holds only one picture--a portrait of the
philosopher who still inspires him, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Visitors must talk over
the piles of books sitting on his desk. Most were sent by publishers. Most look
Arthur Schlesinger is busy writing his own book, his memoirs,
but regrets that the most appropriate title is unavailable. "The best title for
a memoir I know has already been taken by [English cultural critic] Malcolm
Muggeridge--Chronicles of Wasted Time. As Benjamin Franklin said, 'Lost time can
never be found.' "
Arthur Meier Schlesinger Jr. is 77 years old and has authored
16 books. He has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, first in history in 1945 for
The Age of Jackson, then 20 years later in biography for A Thousand Days,
his portrait of the Kennedy administration.
When he wasn't distracted by ephemera, Arthur Schlesinger
found time to graduate Harvard and attend Cambridge, and he later became a
Harvard junior fellow. He served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
during the Second World War, then went back to Harvard as an associate, and
later full professor. He was a member of Adlai Stevenson's campaign staff in
1956, then in 1960 he campaigned for John F. Kennedy, and served as a special
assistant to the president in the Kennedy White House. In 1967, Arthur
Schlesinger was appointed Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities at the City
University of New York Graduate School.