John Allan James, professor of economics and professor of history at the University of Virginia, died November 28, 2014 of an unexpected cardiac event in Charlottesville, Virginia. Born March 8, 1946, in Houston, Texas, John was the son of Bessie Hajek James and Ross Bradley James. He was the valedictorian of his class at Sam Houston High School and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from Rice University in 1968. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. In 1974 John received his Ph.D. in economics from MIT. John joined the Department of Economics at the University of Virginia in 1973 and UVa's Corcoran Department of History at a later date. He was a leading scholar in economic history, combining the archival methodology of history with the quantitative statistical tools of economics.
His dissertation on the U.S. banking system was published by Princeton University Press as Money and Capital Markets in Postbellum America. He published over fifty articles in scholarly journals on subjects ranging from savings in Japan to wages and unemployment in the U.S. At this death he had nearly completed a book manuscript with David Weiman of Barnard College on payment systems in nineteenth century America. John actively participated in conferences and seminars around the world, served as a visiting faculty member at many universities on several continents and was awarded prestigious prizes and fellowships for his work. These included Guggenheim, Danforth, Woodrow Wilson and National Science Foundation fellowships. In addition John was a visiting fellow at All Souls College at Oxford University. John James was predeceased by his parents and first wife, Marylin Smith James.
He is survived by his loving wife Sally Cary Booker-James, his devoted daughter Caroline Victoria James, former mother-in-law Winifred W. Smith and relatives in Texas, as well as cherished friends around the world. John's great passion was continually learning about known and new subjects; books were always by his side. He loved world-wide travel and classical music, especially opera. He was a connoisseur of fine food and an ever curious oenophile. John was a member of the Wednesday Evening Seminar and practiced Zen meditation with the Clear Spring Zen Buddhist Sangha of Charlottesville. He was a founding member of the Vinegar Hill Theater and an ardent supporter of the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival and the Tuesday Evening Concert Series. In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival at Virginia Chamber Music Foundation, PO Box 1491, Charlottesville, VA 22902 or to the Charlottesville Albemarle S.P.C.A. at 3355 Berkmar Dr., Charlottesville, VA 22901.