This chapter discusses the family and education of Richard Hofstadter. Born in the city of Buffalo in 1916 to a Jewish Polish father and his German Lutheran wife, Richard Hofstadter grew up in a nation on the threshold of momentous and irreversible change. In the fall of 1929, Hofstadter enrolled in Fosdick-Masten Park High School where he quickly asserted himself as an active and popular student. He joined the Delta Gamma Lambda fraternity, worked on the yearbook, and participated on the forensics (debate) team. The University of Buffalo recognized Hofstadter's promise with a $100 tuition waiver, and in the autumn of 1933, he began taking courses on the urban campus. Hofstadter completed his work at the university in 1936, a necessary prelude before marrying Felice and finishing a master's degree in philosophy at Smith College. He began taking courses at Columbia in the spring of 1937—initiating a thirty-three-year relationship with the distinguished institution. He completed his master's thesis in 1938 without supporting interviews or personal recollections of southern agricultural operations.
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