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Union University Dept of History

Department News

Brown University Professor to Serve as Tenth Annual Carls-Schwerdfeger History Lecturer

Sep 1, 2006 - Dr. Gordon S. Wood, the Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History at Brown, will be the speaker at the Tenth Annual Carls-Schwerdfeger History Lecture on Tuesday, October 3, 2006, at 7:15 p.m., in Union's G. M. Savage Memorial Chapel. His lecture topic will be "The Invention of Benjamin Franklin." Dr. Wood's evening presentation is free and open to the public. Professor Wood will also lecture to Union faculty, staff, and students on Wednesday, October 4, at 9:00 a.m. in Harvey Hall on "Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different."

One of the most highly acclaimed scholars on the American Revolution, Professor Wood has won several prizes for his books. In 1993, he received the Pulitzer Prize in History for The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1992); he also won the Fraunces Tavern Museum Award (1992) and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of Phi Beta Kappa (1992) for the same work. His book The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (1969) earned him the Bancroft Prize from Columbia University, the John H. Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association, and a nomination for the National Book Award -- all in 1970. More recently, he was the recipient of the Julia Ward Howe Prize (2005) from the Boston Authors Club for The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin (2004).

Other books that Dr. Wood has written or edited include: (Editor) Representation in the American Revolution (1969); (Author) The Rising Glory of America, 1760-1820 (1971); (Editor) The Confederation and the Constitution (1973); (Author) Revolution and the Political Integration of the Enslaved and Disenfranchised (1974); (Joint Author with J. R. Pole) Social Radicalism and the Idea of Equality in the American Revolution (1976); (Author) Making of the Constitution (1987); (Editor with Louise G. Wood) Russian-American Dialogue on the American Revolution (1995); (Editor with Anthony Molho) Imagined Histories: American Historians Interpret the Past (1998); (Author) American Revolution: A History (2002); and, (Edited and with an introduction) Common Sense and Other Writings by Thomas Paine (2003). Professor Wood's most recent book came out in May, 2006, and is entitled Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different.

In addition to book prizes, Dr. Wood has received many other honors. He was the recipient in 2001 of a Doctor of Letters at LaTrobe University in Australia. In 2000, he was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. He was granted the Douglas Adair Memorial Award in 1984 for his scholarship in early American history. In 1983, he won the Daughters of Colonial Wars Award for the best article in the William and Mary Quarterly, and in 1981 he was honored with the Kerr Prize, which the New York Historical Society gives for the outstanding article in New York history. As a graduate student at Harvard University in the 1960s, he won two awards: the De Lancey K. Jay Prize for the best essay on the development of American or British constitutional government and the Toppan Prize for his Ph.D. dissertation. Professor Wood has also been the recipient of many fellowships, scholarships, and grants during his teaching career.

Dr. Wood's activities go beyond teaching and writing. He participated in Ken Burns' PBS production about Thomas Jefferson, provided expertise in the development of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and worked as a consultant in the U. S. Capitol renovation. For many years he served on the Boards of Trustees of Colonial Williamsburg and Tufts University. He has lectured in several foreign countries, including Germany, England, Portugal, Australia, Israel, and Japan, and in 1991 he presented a lecture on George Washington as a part of the Presidential Lecture Series at the White House. In addition, Professor Wood regularly spends time going to various parts of the country to teach history to high school students.

Professor Wood earned his B.A. at Tufts University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard University. Although he has spent most of his career at Brown University, he has also taught at Harvard, William and Mary, the University of Michigan, Northwestern University Law School, and Cambridge University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Previous Carls-Schwerdfeger History Lecturers include: Dr. Jack Greene of The Johns Hopkins University (1997); Dr. Gerhard Weinberg of the University of North Carolina (1998); Dr. Martin Marty of the University of Chicago (1999); Dr. Richard Stites of Georgetown University (2000); Dr. Jay Winter of Yale University (2001); Dr. Harry Stout of Yale University (2002); Dr. Charles Maier of Harvard University (2003); Dr. Thomas Childers of the University of Pennsylvania (2004); and, Dr. George Herring of the University of Kentucky (2005).