New College Receives Gift from Estate of Robert B. Asprey

(June 15, 2009) – New College of Florida is proud to announce the receipt of a major gift from the estate of accomplished military historian and writer Robert B. Asprey. While the exact terms of the gift are still to be determined, officials announced that the gift involves a significant portion of Asprey’s estate.
Asprey, who passed away on January 26, 2009, was attracted to New College of Florida by its similarity to New College, Oxford, where he was an early Fulbright Scholar from 1949 to 1950 and researcher from 1968 to 1972. He was appointed a research scholar by New College of Florida in 2005.
In addition to his gift to New College, Asprey also left a substantial portion of his estate to The Authors Guild, which helped him throughout his career as a freelance writer.  His papers and manuscripts have been donated to the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University. Asprey, who lived in the Forest Pines community of Sarasota from 2004-2009, had no surviving relatives or family members.
A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Robert B. Asprey earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in modern history and English from the University of Iowa in 1949, despite having his education interrupted in mid-course by World War II. In addition to his studies at New College, Oxford, Asprey also studied at the University of Vienna from 1955 to 1957 and the University of Nice in 1974.
During World War II, he served in the secret Marine Beach Jumper Unit before joining the 5th Marine Division. After completing his undergraduate degree at Iowa and his Fulbright experience at Oxford, he served in the U.S. Army Intelligence in Austria before returning to the U.S. Marine Corps in the Korean War with the rank of captain.  He received a Purple Heart medal and a Presidential Unit citation for his military service to the United States.
A prolific writer and noted military historian, Asprey served as a military correspondent from 1955-65 before undertaking a successful career as a freelance writer and author  in 1966. He spent the majority of his career living and writing in England and Spain. His 12 books include Semper Fidelis: A History of the Marines in World War II (1967); At Belleau Wood (1965, 2nd ed., 1996); Frederick the Great: The Magnificent Enigma (1986, 2nd ed., 1998); The German High Command At War: Hindenberg and Ludendorff Conduct World War I (1991); The Panther’s Feast (1959, 2nd ed., 1986); War in the Shadows: The Guerilla in History (1975, 2nd ed., 1994) ; The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte (2000); and The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte (2001). He also wrote The First Battle of the Marne (1962, 2nd ed., 1979) with General A.A. Vandegrift.
In addition to his histories, Asprey also published articles and fiction that appeared in publications including the Marine Corps Gazette; Naval Institute Proceedings; Army Quarterly; Brassey’s Annual; The New Yorker; The New York Times; and Encyclopedia Britannica.  Several of his books have been recorded and were recently reissued by iUniverse.
Asprey’s sister, the late Dr. Winifred Asprey, known as Tim, taught mathematics and established the study of computer science at Vassar College, her alma mater (Class of 1938), where she knew the late Dr. Nell Eurich, long-term Honorary Trustee Emerita of New College Foundation.
For more information, contact Aimee Chouinard, Media Relations Coordinator, at (941) 487-4152 or

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