George B. Kirsch

George B. Kirsch

I was born in Manhattan, spent the first three years of my life in the Bronx, and have been a professor of history at Manhattan College in the Riverdale corner of that borough for more than forty years. Yet in my heart of hearts my allegiance lies across the Hudson River, to the much maligned Garden State, New Jersey. That's because I grew up and now reside in Hackensack and lived in Montclair and Glen Ridge with my wife Susan (sadly, now deceased) for thirty-five years. We raised our son, Adam, in Glen Ridge.

I am a proud graduate of Hackensack High School, class of 1963. My most recent book, "Six Guys from Hackensack: Coming of Age in the Real New Jersey,"
is a memoir of friendship and a social history of that Bergen County town during the post-world War II era. Our group of six buddies met in elementary school and remain close to this day--largely because of the impact of our hometown and our shared experiences during our youth in the conformist 1950s and our adolescence and young adulthood during the cultural and political turmoil of the 1960s. Our stories provide a long overdue realty check for readers whose ideas about New Jersey come from lame New Jersey jokes or "The Sopranos," "Boardwalk Empire," and "Jersey Shore."

After graduating from Hackensack High School I went to Cornell for my B.A., and then earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in History at Columbia. I have taught history at Manhattan College since 1972, where I am a professor of history. At Columbia my doctoral dissertation was a biography of Jeremy Belknap, a Revolutionary War Patriot minister and historian. My first field of expertise was colonial and revolutionary America, but after I was safely tenured in 1978 I switched to the new and exciting field of sports history. Over the past three decades I have authored "Baseball and Cricket: The Creation of American Team Sports, 1838-72"; "Baseball in Blue and Gray: The National Pastime during the Civil War"; and "Golf in America." I also edited two volumes of "Sports in North America: A Documentary History," and was the lead editor of "The Encyclopedia of Ethnicity and Sports in the United States." I was also a consultant for Major League Baseball and for Ken Burns's PBS series, Baseball. I have published dozens of book reviews, scholarly articles, and newspaper and magazine pieces, and I have been a guest speaker at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY and the Museum of the United States Golf Association in Far Hills, NJ. Today I can say (with some immodesty) that I am recognized as one of the leading sports historians in the United States.

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