After I learned that Newt Gingrich spent his younger days as a professor at the University of West Georgia, where the historian John Ferling taught for 33 years, I wondered if he knew Mr. Speaker personally. Indeed, John joined the university in 1971, and for his first year, shared an office with Gingrich, who had already begun to consider politics, unbeknownst to his colleagues. (Gingrich first ran for Congress in 1974, but lost that contest and the next, before winning a seat in 1978.) I suggested to John that he write an op-ed called “The Newt I Knew,” but John demurred, as he faces a looming deadline for his next book, on Hamilton and Jefferson, due to be published by Bloomsbury Press in 2013. (“If he winds up getting the nomination, I wouldn’t be surprised to get a call from a journalist or two.”) Last year, I designed John’s website, which showcases all his work and has connected him with many readers who might not have found him otherwise.