Lawrence Kinnaird, Professor Emeritus of History, University of California at Berkeley, died on September 27, 1985 in Carmel, California at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife, Lucia Kinnaird.

Professor Kinnaird received an A.B. degree from the University of Michigan in 1915. During World War I, he served in France as a combat pilot in the A.E.F. On returning to the United States, he began graduate work in history at Berkeley under the direction of Herbert Eugene Bolton, the progenitor and master of Spanish Borderlands history, and Kinnaird earned his doctorate in 1927. After teaching at San Francisco State College and what was then the California College of Agriculture at Davis, he joined the history faculty at Berkeley in 1937. Twelve years later, when Bolton retired, Kinnaird inherited his mantle, as well as his famous “Great Round Table.” He also served as Director of the Bancroft Library, 1954-55, and as cultural attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Chile, 1942-45.

During his academic career, Lawrence Kinnaird was an active scholar and published many articles and monographs on Borderlands history, especially on the history of California and the Spanish-speaking Southeast. His most substantial publication was Spain in the Mississippi Valley, 1765-94 (1949), a three-volume collection of documentary materials which he edited and introduced with seminal essays. It continues to be a major, and frequently used, historical source. He retired from Berkeley in 1960, but he continued to teach as professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara and at Chatham College, Pittsburgh.

Lawrence was, above all, a superb mentor of graduate students. He transmitted his knowledge and humane wisdom by encouraging and inspiring those who worked with him rather than by driving or dominating them. He taught his students the personal satisfactions and the social utilities of doing history, as well as the substance and methods of the discipline. And he also taught them the precepts of survival amidst the stresses and absurdities of academic life: Take your work seriously, but never yourself; setbacks can be surmounted by patience and persistence; personal and professional convictions should be defended firmly but only with dignity; colleagues should be treated cordially and even the most obnoxious with courtesy, although one could snicker inwardly at self-important persons.

Lawrence’s death will be felt most deeply by the several generations of students who sat around his Round Table, and who sought his counsel during his office hours which, in fact, ran for most of the working week.