Jonathan R.T. Hughes, 64, the Robert E. and Emily King Professor of Business Institutions, died May 30  at his home in Evanston. The cause of death was cancer.
A memorial service will be held on the Northwestern campus in September.
An economic historian, Hughes joined Northwestern as a professor of economics in 1966 and served as chairman of the department from 1972 to 1974. Before joining Northwestern, he was a professor of economics at Purdue University.
Hughes authored several books and dozens of articles, with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. His influential work on the development of economic and business institutions utilized biographical methods --focusing on specific people, institutions or time periods-- with economic or institutional methods. An example is his book, "The Vital Few: the Entrepreneur and American Economic Progress," which utilizes biographies of 10 people who played a part in the creation of the American economy.
A collection of essays by Hughes' former colleagues and students was published last year in a book, "The Vital One: Essays in Honor of Jonathan R.T. Hughes."
Hughes was a Guggenheim Fellow, a Ford Foundation Faculty Fellow, a visitor of Nuffield College in Oxford, a visiting fellow of All Souls College in Oxford and president of the Economic History Association.
He began his career in economics at the University of Washington after graduating from Utah State Agricultural College in 1950. He earned a doctoral degree in 1955 from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Hughes is survived by his wife, Mary; a son, Benjamin of Berkeley, Calif; two daughters, Margaret Hughes of Boise and Charis Barasch of Seattle; a sister, Leona Peters; and a brother, Benjamin.
Memorial set for Hughes
A memorial service will be held Friday, Sept. 25, for Jonathan R.T. Hughes, who died May 30. Hughes was the Robert E. and Emily King Professor of Business Institutions and professor of economics in the College of Arts and Sciences. He had been a member of the faculty since 1966. The service will be held at 3:30 p.m. in Alice S. Millar Chapel on the Evanston campus.