Brison D. Gooch

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Brison Dowling Gooch​

(Historian at Texas A&M University: previous faculty member at University of Connecticut, the University of Oklahoma, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin, and Culver Military Academy​)

Born March 1, 1925​
Bar Harbor, Hancock County, Maine, USA​
Died November 25, 2014 (aged 89)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Resting place:
Hillside Cemetery in Silverton, Colorado

Spouse (1) Dorothy Gale Doll Gooch (married 1951-1974, divorced)​

(2) Shirley Jean Ferrell Black Gooch (married 1975–1996, her death)
​ (3) Freda Carley Peterson Gooch (married 1998-2014, his death)​
Children from first marriage:
​ David Frederick Gooch
Linda Corinne Gooch​
Austin McLellan Gooch
Clara Helen Dowling Gooch
Alma mater:
Miami University of Ohio
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brison Dowling Gooch (March 1, 1925 – November 25, 2014) was an American historian who was a professor of 19th-century European history at, among numerous universities, Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. He was an authority on such diverse topics as the Revolutions of 1848, Napoleon III, Belgium, and the Crimean War.


Gooch was one of six children born to Austin McLellan Gooch, a carpenter, and the former Clara Helen Dowling,[1] in the resort city of Bar Harbor in Hancock County in eastern Maine. In the United States Army[2] at the end of World War II, he served in Belgium and Germany. While in Germany, he attended the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal and heard discussions of German army atrocities in Russia.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Prior to his tenure at Texas A&M, which included terms as the history chairperson and associate dean of Liberal Arts, Gooch taught at Culver Military Academy and was a history professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Oklahoma at Norman, and department head at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. In an academic career that spanned four decades, Gooch taught during summer sessions at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the University of Maine, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from which he had received both his Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees. He was a Carnegie visiting scholar for a year at Yale and Fulbright Faculty Research scholar in Belgium.

Gooch's second wife, Shirley Jean Ferrell Black Gooch (April 20, 1935 – September 3, 1996), known professionally as Shirley J. Black, was also a TAMU professor of European history and highly active in the profession.[1]


  • The New Bonapartist Generals in the Crimean War, 1959.​
  • Belgium and the February Revolution, 1963.[3]
  • Napoleon III – Man of Destiny: Enlightened Statesman or Proto-Fascist?, ed., 1966.[4]
  • The Reign of Napoleon III, 1969.[5]
  • Interpreting Western Civilization, 2 volumes, 1969, ed.[6]
  • Europe in the Nineteenth Century: A History, 1970, ed.[7]
  • The World of Europe Since 1815, 1973, ed.[5]
  • Interpreting European History, 2 volumes, editor.
  • The Origins of the Crimean War,ed.[8]
  • Napoleonic Ideas, editor​.

Gooch furthermore contributed articles to a number of major historical journals, including the American Historical Review, the Hispanic American Historical Review, the Austrian History Yearbook, Military Affairs, and Victorian Studies.​

Professional organizations

Gooch was active in various professional organizations, including the American Historical Association,and he attended many meetings and conventions during his career and also in retirement. In December 1969, he was elected to the nominating committee at the AHA annual meeting, and in 1979 was also elected by his colleagues as the president of the Southwestern Social Sciences Association.[9] In 1974, Gooch was a founder of the Western Society for French History and served as its president in 1982.​


Brison Gooch retired in 1991 and relocated to Silverton, a scenic mountain resort and former mining community in San Juan County, Colorado. After Shirley's death, Gooch married Freda Carley Peterson, a local historian, author of The Story of Hillside Cemetery, and archivist for the San Juan County Historical Society in Silverton.[1]

In 2009, Brison and Freda Gooch were named "Citizens of the Year" by the Silverton Chamber of Commerce.[10]​ Gooch served as Silverton's municipal judge and as a member of the town council, until his resignation in December 2009. He was also a former member of the Silverton School Board.[1]

In 2007, Gooch donated his personal library to Tabor College, a small liberal arts college in Hillsboro, Kansas.[11]

Professor Gooch died at the age of eighty-nine in 2014 in Oklahoma City, where he had alternated his time with Silverton during his later years.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Brison Gooch. The Daily Oklahoman (November 30, 2014). Retrieved on January 14, 2015.
  2. Maine Genealogy: The Enlistment Record of Brison D. Gooch. Retrieved on October 18, 2010.
  3. Brison D. Gooch (1963). Belgium and the February Revolution. Martinus Nijhoff. Retrieved on October 18, 2010.
  4. Napoleon III – Man of Destiny: Enlightened Statesman or Proto-Fascist?. ​Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 122 pp.. Retrieved on October 18, 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 List of books by Brison D. Gooch. Retrieved on October 18, 2010.
  6. Interpreting Western Civilization. Dorsey Publishers (1969). Retrieved on October 18, 2010.
  7. Europe in the Nineteenth Century: A History. Macmillan Publishers (1970). Retrieved on October 18, 2010.
  8. The Origins of the Crimean War. Heath Publishers (1969). Retrieved on October 18, 2010.
  9. Southwestern Historical Association annual business meeting. (March 29, 1979). Retrieved on October 18, 2010.
  10. San Juan Courier, summer 2009
  11. Gari-Ann Patzwald (September 5, 2008). Further Reflections on Saving Books. Retrieved on October 18, 2010.